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Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and Takeover Target head to the winner's circle after the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes.
The feature race on the Friday of Whitney weekend at Saratoga is the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf course. Conditions were excellent with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80's. Startup Nation was sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 choice in the field of 11, 3rd in the Belmont Derby (G1) last out and 11th in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). In to challenge him included stablemate and 4-1 second choice Takeover Target, 5th in the Belmont Derby, and 9-2 third choice A Lot, 2nd in the Manila Stakes last out.
Takeover Target closes on the far outside in the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Takeover Target Ortiz Jr. 10.40 5.20 4.50 9 A Lot Rosario 5.80 4.50 11 Courtier Lezcanoo 8.30 Winning Time: 1:42.00 $2 Exacta 2-9 63.00 $2 Trifecta 2-9-11 818.00 $2 Superfecta 2-9-11-1 6,061.00
Right: Takeover Target gets hosed off after the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "I broke out of there and got good position, which is what I wanted to do. I saved all the ground I could and on the last turn I looked to my right and didn't see anybody, and this horse likes to get clear in the stretch. I got out and he took off. He was very good. It's an amazing feeling to win at Saratoga. It's just a month and a half all year and the best jockeys come here. It's exciting. You have a lot of people come every day. We enjoy it."
Left: Second place finisher A Lot returns after the race. The 9-2 third choice stalked the pace in third early under Junior Alvarado, gained a short lead at the 1/16 pole but was outfinished. The Bill Mott trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 4 seconds, and 0 thirds in 9 starts, earning $260,615 for owner Amerman Racing.
Right: Third place finisher Courtier in the paddock before the race. The 12-1 shot pressed the pace under Joel Rosario, led midstretch but could not hold off the lead pair finishing third beaten just a length. The Bill Mott trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $100,032 for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms.
Left: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Startup Nation heads over to the turf course before the race. Trainer Chad Brown said, "I'm not exactly sure. He was mid-pack, looked like he was getting a decent trip, and just kind of held his place and ran fifth. He's just another one we'll have to evaluate how he comes out of the race and go from there."
Right: The entire field shortly after the start of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes.
The new Saratoga Walk of Fame and the D. Wayne Lukas memorabilia display with his hat, glasses, and spurs. The covered structure, which features the traditional Saratoga turrets and is located adjacent to the Carousel, houses a number of commemorative plaques honoring industry leaders, including owners, trainers and jockeys, who have made an indelible mark on thoroughbred racing at historic Saratoga Race Course along with displays of memorabilia from their career. The most recent inductees were Tom Durkin, D. Wayne Lukas, and Allen Jerkens, who were inducted last year.
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