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2015 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and Takeover Target head to the winner's circle after the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes.
Date: 08/07/2015

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

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan sent 14-1 Sailthehighseas to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 24.12, 49.13, and 1:13.53 over the firm course while pressed by 12-1 Courtier ands stalked by A Lot. Entering the lane, Courtier took over the lead from the tiring pacesetter, but A Lot moved up to gain a short lead at the 1/16 pole through 1:36.28. Takeover Target, who settled in fourth saving ground early, came out widest of all for room and outfinished A Lot by 1/2 a length to get the victory in 1:42.00. It was another 1/2 lengths back to Courtier third, while favorite Startup Nation checked in fifth.

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
Results Chart

Left: Takeover Target in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "It just wasn't quite his trip in the Belmont Derby going 1 1/4. We got a nice cutback in distance today and a little class relief back into a Grade 2, and it did the trick for this horse. He only had one start as a two-year-old and now he finally seems to be maturing, and Irad knows the horse well. He's the only rider that's ridden him and he gave him a great ride today. I'll see if he can get 1 1/8 in the Saranac. It's a big purse at the end of the meet. I'll have to evaluate it. I think an extra 1/16 would be O.K., but we'll have to just evaluate it."

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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