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Rosie Napravnik and Shanghai Bobby return after winning the Hopeful Stakes.
Labor Day marks the end of the 144th Saratoga meeting, with the 21,272 fans in attendance enjoying free admission as well as sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80's. NYRA president and CEO Ellen McClain said, "This year's Saratoga meet was extremely successful on so many fronts. The quality of our racing product was unparalleled, with 35 graded stakes races highlighted by the exhilarating dead heat between Alpha and Golden Ticket in the Travers. Our customers responded to our racing with great enthusiasm, resulting in handle increases on track and around the country."
The feature race on closing day is the $300,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track, looking for automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) under the "Win and You're In" promotion. A field of 8 faced the starter (6 betting interests), with Fortify sent off as the 9-5 favorite off his 5 length debut win. In to challenge him included the Starlight Racing entry of Track Barron Stakes winner Shanghai Bobby and debut winner Lawn Man, coupled in the wagering at 2-1, and the George and Lori Hall entry of Sanford (G2) winner Bern Identity and maiden winner Vegas No Show, coupled as the 7-2 third choice.
Shanghai Bobby draws off in the stretch.
Also on the card was the Glens Falls Stakes (G3) won by Hit It Rich.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2B Shanghai Bobby Napravnik 6.30 3.50 2.30 4 Fortify Bravo 3.50 2.50 1 Bern Identity Dominguez 2.40 Winning Time: 1:22.72 $2 Exacta 2-4 27.60 $2 Trifecta 2-4-1 56.50
Left: Shanghai Bobby in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "That was a very professional effort from him. So far, he's been very good. It seemed like he won with a little something left today; he was pricking his ears when he came to the wire. We're very proud of him. We love Saratoga and we try to emphasize the meet. We've been blessed with a lot of nice 2-year-olds this year. It's nice to win the Hopeful to close it out. It would have been kind of disappointing not to close it out with a 2-year-old win. The Hopeful is a very important race; should be a Grade 1, but that's a different story. We're happy to get it. We felt like this summer the 2-year-olds were training very well and we were coming in holding a strong hand.
Right: Several of the Starlight Racing partners lead Shanghai Bobby to the winner's circle.
Left: Shanghai Bobby gets hosed off after the race. Jockey Rosie Napravnik said, "He was quite a handful today, usually, he's a little more relaxed. It was all positive energy. He was ready to go. He did rate properly and finished really strong. He's a very talented horse. I really liked this horse since day one. He's very sensible, and he's been moving forward every race and really maturing. I thought he was going to excel off his last race. It's great to have him back and in good shape. I'm sure he'll move forward off of this as well."
Right: Shanghai Bobby in the paddock. Owner Jack Wolf said, "The purse is $300,000, you get a $100,000 (NYRA) bonus, and I still have shares in (sire) Harlan's Holiday. I said to my wife, 'This is a pretty big race.' It's nice that NYRA came up with the bonus. It seems to have helped the 2-year-old program."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Fortify in the paddock before the race. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "He ran very well. He finished second today, but we feel like he's going to keep improving. That's a big step up, so we're happy. He was stuck in there, and that horse got the jump on him, but he was game to finish second."
Right: Third place finisher Bern Identity in the post parade. Jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "I had a great trip and turning for home I started looking for my way out, I was following the winner, and we were able to come running and finish third – I was happy with how much my horse tried."
Hit It Rich wins the Glens Falls Stakes (G3)
Hit It Rich and Bizzy Caroline hooked up for a speed duel immediately and clicked off fractions of 24.37, 48.19, 1:13.13, and 1:36.82 over the firm course, while as many as 6 lengths in front of the rest of the field led by Kissable. Into the stretch, Hit It Rich shook off her foe, opening up a 3 1/2 length advantage through 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.10, and then finished under wraps 1 1/2 lengths in front in 2:12.34. It was just a neck back from Bizzy Caroline to Kissable third, as the first three held those positions the entire distance.
Left: Hit It Rich in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "The game plan was if she could have the lead it's perfect; if we have a target that's fine, too. Javier said she broke good, was relaxed, and they kind of gave him the lead even though that filly was sitting on her. He said going into the first turn she sort of just pricked her ears, and when she came by me the first time she was just galloping along, and that was fine with me."
Right: Hit It Rich in the post parade. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "She's phenomenal. In a small field with not a lot of speed in the race, I took advantage by trying to get to the lead and not look back, just forward. She's a really nice horse and put up good fractions today. I'm very happy with the way she did it."
Left: Second place finisher Bizzy Caroline in the post parade. The 6-1 third choice contested the pace in second under Jose Lezcano but could not gain on the winner, holding second by 1 1/2 lengths. The Ken McPeek trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 15 starts, earning $340,724 for owner Catesby Clay.
Right: Third place finisher Kissable returns after the race. The 2-1 second choice stalked the pace in third early under John Velazquez, then gained late to just finish a neck short of second money. The Roger Attfield trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 12 starts, earning $146,884 for owner Three Chimneys Racing.
Two of the traditions at Saratoga are to paint a lawn jockey in the paddock and a canoe in the infield pond in the colors of the silks of the Travers winner. With the dead heat for win between Golden Ticket and Alpha last week, they had to do two of each which was quite an unusual sight.
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