Trainer Todd Pletcher broke his own
Saratoga Race Course record for wins in a single season in style, sending out R
Heat Lightning to victory in Sunday’s 119th running of the
Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies.
Pletcher came into the Spinaway with 35 wins, and R Heat
Lightning’s Spinaway score catapulted him past his previous high mark,
which he set in 2003 and 2004 when the meet was four days shorter than the
current 40 days.
R Heat Lightning, one of four entrants for Pletcher in the Spinaway, trailed
the field following a quarter mile in a sharp 21.89 before launching a wide
rally on the far turn. Alienation had seized a clear advantage at the top of
the stretch, but R Heat Lightning made a steady run to grab the lead in the
final furlong and open up to a four-length decision. Finishing third, 2 ½
lengths behind Alienation, was favored Valiant Passion, another Pletcher
“Turning for home, I was a little concerned,” said winning
jockey Garrett Gomez. “My filly was doing more than I wanted her to do.
But just as I came off the turn, Bob’s filly [Alienation] came back to us
and my filly went on.”
The 4-1 third choice, R Heat Lightning, an E. Paul Robsham Stables
homebred, returned $10.40 to her backers in the crowd of 58,872.
The Spinaway was the third start for R Heat Lightning, a five-length
debut winner at Delaware Park on July 5 and runner-up in the Colleen at Monmouth Park on August 7. The $150,000
winner’s share of the Spinaway purse more than quadrupled her earnings to
“R Heat Lightning had been training very well in her last couple
of breezes and got a good, favorable outside post,” said Pletcher. “I
was trying to get her to settle a little bit and make a run, and I thought it
was a big performance. I think to anybody who had seen her first two races,
particularly the Colleen where she continued to close and close and close, it
looked like more ground was going to help her, so it wasn’t a surprise to
any of us.”
Le Mi Geaux, Stopspendingmaria, Abide, and Sky Hosoya – who was coupled
in the wagering with Stopspendingmaria as part of a Pletcher/Repole Stable
entry – completed the order of finish.
Pletcher added that R Heat Lightning, a Florida-bred daughter of
Montbrook, is likely to make her next start in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park on October 9.