returned from a seven-month absence to post an emphatic victory in a deep renewal
of the $75,000 James Marvin, the first stakes race of the 40-day meet at
Saratoga Race Course.
Making his first start since finishing third in the Grade 1 Hill
‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap on Thanksgiving weekend, Vineyard
Haven broke well from post position 3 and ran an opening quarter in 22.41 while
receiving pressure from Flat Bold. Following a half in 45.03, the gray put away
Flat Bold and was hand-urged in the stretch to score by 1 ¾ lengths as Half
Metal Jacket rallied to finish second.
“I wasn't worried that the other horse [Flat Bold] stayed with
us,” said winning rider Alan Garcia. “I was so confident with my
horse. I was in hand with him throughout. When I asked him to go a little bit,
he took off.”
Owned by Godolphin Stable, Vineyard Haven returned $3.30 for a $2 win wager
as the 3-5 favorite and covered seven furlongs in the slop in 1:22.30.
You and I Forever picked up the pieces to finish 4 ¼ lengths behind the
winner in third and was 4 ¾ lengths clear of Le Grand Cru in fourth. Atoned,
Flat Bold, Silver Edition, Discreet Treasure, and Friesan Fire completed the
order of finish. Cool Coal Man was scratched.
Rick Mettee, assistant to winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said they
will keep their options open with Vineyard Haven, who has won Grade 1 races at
distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile.
“The Forego [Grade 1, seven furlongs, September 4] would be the
logical place to run, and a race like the Woodward [Grade 1, 1 1/8th
miles, September 4] would be a bolder place to go,” said Mettee. “I
just have to talk to Saeed.”
With his victory in the James Marvin, Vineyard Haven improved his
record to 5-1-2 from 9 starts, and the $45,000 winner’s share boosted his
career earnings to $746,500. A son of Lido
Palace, Vineyard Haven was bred in Florida by Lynn M.