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Jockey Luis Saez celebrating aboard Somali Lemonade.
There were two graded stakes contested on the opening Saturday of the Saratoga summer meeting. Conditions were excellent with mostly cloudy skies, a fast main track and firm turf courses, and temperatures in the high 70's.
First time by in the Diana
8-1 Discreet Marq and favorite Alterite dueled for the lead for the first mile, through fractions of 24.37, 49.84, 1:13.96, and 1:37.07, while stalked by 11-1 Somali Lemonade and 7-1 Tannery. Alterite tired in the final furlong, as Discreet Marq continued to lead, but Somali Lemonade came through to gain the lead inside the 1/16 pole and held off late-running 11-2 Stephanie's Kitten by a neck for the win in 1:48.51 over the firm inner course. It was another neck back to pacesetter Discreet Marq third, while Alterite faded to finish 8th.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Somali Lemonade Saez 24.60 11.00 7.40 9 Stephanie's Kitten Dettori 6.60 4.60 6 Discreet Marq Ortiz Jr. 6.50 Winning Time: 1:48.51 $2 Exacta 3-9 196.00 $2 Trifecta 3-9-6 1,170.00 $2 Superfecta 3-9-6-2 11,193.00
Left: Somali Lemonade in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Michael Matz said, "Not a bad horse to have. She's won on the lead, she's won from behind. I think she's just a good filly and she showed it today. It was a pretty tough group that she ran against today. I don't know if it was the blinkers, I don't know if it was maturity, but she's doing really well right now. I was glad somebody was putting some pressure on Discreet Marq. I was sort of surprised Tannery was up that close but I guess things happen. That's why they call it horse racing. She's just a good filly, I believe. I don't know what else to say about her. She's better now at 5 than she was her whole life."
Right: Somali Lemonade heads back to the barns after the race.
Left: Somali Lemonade heads out for the post parade. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "Today, I broke in front, but another speed horse was coming outside of me. I let her pass, but when we came to the three-eighths I had so much horse that when I got in the clear, she responded and won the race. It's amazing to win another Grade 1 in Saratoga."
Right: Second place finsher Stephanie's Kitten in the paddock. Jockey Frankie Dettori said, "There wasn't much pace. It was draw 9. That was the trouble. Unfortunately, I had to lose ground the whole time. They got three lengths on me, and I ran out of stretch." Trainer Chad Brown added, "I thought she ran terrific. Probably needed a little more pace up front. Just ran out of ground. I thought she ran a dynamite race. If she came out of it OK, we'll probably go on to the Beverly D."
Left: Third place finisher Discreet Marq heads out for the post parade. The 9-1 shot set the pace under Irad Ortiz Jr., but just missed finishing third beaten 1/2 a length. The Christophe Clement trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds in 16 starts, earning $915,900 for owner-breeder Patricia Generazio.
Right: Eighth place finisher and beaten favorite Alterite heads out for the post parade. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "The pace of the race was very slow. She got a good position, but I didn't have any horse at the top of the stretch. She just got tired. I don't blame anybody." Trainer Chad Brown added, "I was disappointed she tired like she did. We were a little cautious about her maybe being a little short for this race, but I thought it was worth a shot. She got a beautiful trip up close, stalking a slow pace, but she really got tired the last eighth."
Big Trouble closes on the outside in the stretch.
23-1 Chocolate Wildcat and 11-2 Bessie's Boy were quickest away, setting an opening quarter of 21.65 before Chocolate Wildcat dropped from contention. On the far turn, Cinco Charlie moved up to take the lead through a half in 45.17 while chased bu Nonna's Boy, and held the lead to the 1/8 pole through 5/8 in 57.56. However, 11-1 Big Trouble, 5th early, and 12-1 Mr. Z, fourth early, came through late to get to the front, with Big Trouble outfinishing Mr. Z by a neck in 1:10.64 over the fast main track. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Cinco Charlie third, and a neck back to favorite Nonna's Boy fourth.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Big Trouble Ortiz Jr. 25.60 10.00 5.60 5 Mr. Z Lanerie 11.20 6.10 9 Cinco Charlie Bridgmohan 3.50 Winning Time: 1:10.64 $2 Exacta 4-5 245.00 $2 Trifecta 4-5-9 1,216.00 $2 Superfecta 4-5-9-8 3,464.00
Left: Big Trouble in the winner's circle. Trainer Tony Dutrow said, "I told Irad that he breaks very good and to give this horse a chance to run good. So I didn't know what was going to happen, but I'm so happy that this boy was able to do something different than his maiden win against some nice horses today. For him to be completely different than he was in his first race, and only having one racing experience, I have to feel really good about his future."
Right: Big Trouble in the post parade.
Left: Second place finisher Mr. Z in the paddock before the race. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "They beat us up and we were still there. He's got a big future. It was a great effort. I felt I had a great chance to win this."
Right: Third place finisher Cinco Charlie in the post parade. The 2-1 second choice set the pace under Shaun Bridgmohan, then tired late to get third beaten 1 3/4 lengths. The Steve Asmussen trainee improved his record to 2 wins and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $108.422 for owners William and Corinne Heiligbrodt.
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