Pacific Ocean grabbed the lead coming
out of the gate and never looked back as he rolled to a 1 ¾-length victory over
Golddigger’s Boy in Friday’s Grade 3, $100,000 James Marvin, the
first stakes race as Saratoga Race Course opened its 40-day meet.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, the 5-year-old gelded son of Ghostzapper
promptly opened up by two lengths and he cruised through an opening
quarter-mile in 23.19 seconds, with the half going in 46.67. After shaking off
a threat from Crossbow straightening for home, Pacific
Ocean galloped unchallenged through the stretch under a hand ride and
hit the wire in 1:22.53 for the seven furlongs.
Crossbow held for third, with 4-5 favorite Jackson Bend finishing
fourth after a wide trip.
“That was perfect,” said Rosario, who earned his first
stakes score at Saratoga since piloting Blind Luck to win the Grade 1 Alabama
in 2010. “I just tried to relax him as much as I could early, and hoped
nobody put on any pressure, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The James Marvin was the second start on dirt for the lightly raced
Pacific Ocean, who finished sixth in the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park on June 9 in his only other start
“I told a lot of
people that called me … he was training so much better for this race than
he was for his last race,” said Rick Dutrow, Jr., who took over Pacific
Ocean’s training this year. “In his last race, he had a bad post,
there was a lot of speed, he was in a bad spot. Today was different. He had
everything going his way. He was sitting on a race. He ran big.”
Sent off at 6-1, Pacific
Ocean returned $14.20 for a $2 win bet and earned $60,000 for
owner Dennis Narlinger. Overall, he is 5-1-0 from eight starts, including a win
in the 2011 Grade 3 Vernon Underwood at Hollywood Park.
Dutrow said the next logical spot for
Pacific Ocean would be the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego at Saratoga on September 1.
“I have to see how things are and go
from there,” he said. “Naturally, the race at the end of the meet
here [Forego] makes sense. It’s a big race and he likes this
Jackson Bend, who won last year’s
James Marvin en route to his first Grade 1 win in the Forego, was three-quarters
of a length clear of Caixa Eletronica, with Scotus finishing last.
couldn’t get the trip,” said his Hall of Fame trainer, Nick Zito.
“Rosie [Napravnik] was trying to get inside but couldn’t get there.
That’s what he wants to do – run inside. It’s frustrating
because he was running in the end.”