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Smashing Return for Vineyard Haven

Vineyard Haven at Saratoga
Vineyard Haven 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. Scace.


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