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George and Lori Hall lead Bern Identity to the winner's circle after the 2012 Sanford Stakes
The feature race on Sunday of the Saratoga opening weekend is the $200,000 Sanford Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track. Just 18,425 were on hand on a warm sunny afternoon with temperatures in the high 80's. Bern Identity was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 8, exiting a maiden win at Belmont in his second start. In to challenge him included 2-1 second choice Rose Junction, a debut winner by 3 lengths at Belmont last out, and 9-2 third choice Handsome Jack, off a second place finish in the Track Barron Stakes at Belmont.
Bern Identity takes the lead in the stretch
Saratoga Opening Day - with the James Marvin Stakes (G3) and Schuylerville Stakes (G3)
Coaching Club American Oaks - from Saturday
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Bern Identity Napravnik 5.60 4.00 3.40 1 Handsome Jack Rosario 4.50 3.50 8 Onetwentyeight Maragh 5.10 Winning Time: 1:11.13 $2 Exacta 3-1 32.20 $2 Trifecta 3-1-8 246.50 $2 Superfecta 3-1-8-2 1,079.00
Left: Bern Identity in the winner's circle. He also earned a $100,000 bonus awarded to any 2-year-old maiden winner at Aqueduct Racetrack or Belmont Park who goes on to win a graded stakes at a NYRA track. Winning trainer Kelly Breen said, "The extra $100,000 bonus makes it all sweeter. So, thanks, NYRA! Even for his first start, without the bonus, I don't know if I would have run him in New York to begin with. Maybe with the big money here, we'll have to think about bringing some more horses here."
Right: Bern Identity gets hosed off before heading to the barn. Breen added, "He's a fast horse. After he won (maiden), he came back and worked extremely fast. That kind of indicated to me he was the real deal. That's how I feel in my heart anyway. They outran him a little bit in the beginning; I was a little surprised. Maybe the fast workout last week took a little bit out of him. But he showed his grit, got a little bit of dirt in his face and ran nice."
Left: Bern Identity in the paddock. Trainer Kelly Breen said, "He didn't break great, but in the blink of an eye we were a length behind. She had to ride him coming out of there. Around the turn it was a little nerve-wracking – is he going to keep coming? – she never had a chance to give him a breather. She sat on him a little bit around the turn and then asked him to go again. He showed a lot of grit. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think he was a nice horse. We take our chances coming to New York, and when we show up we're here for a reason. We were here with what I thought was a nice horse."
Right: Bern Identity heads out to the track before the race. Winning jockey Rosie Napravnik said, "He ran great. He's really got a lot of grit. We weren't quite as forwardly placed as I thought we might be, but the pace was extremely fast. He just hung in there down on the rail and finished strongest coming for home. (Co-owner Lori Hall) asked me if this was my first Sanford and I said, 'Yes.' I've had a lot of firsts for these guys. They're great supporters and I'm glad to be riding for them. He's extremely talented and, on top of that, he's got a lot of heart. I'm excited to see where he goes from here."
Left: Second place finisher Handsome Jack in the post parade. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "He ran good out there. It's too bad he got beat. He broke sharply and he was in his skin today. I tried to hold his position up front. He got some pressure up front. We were just second best today."
Right: Third place finisher Onetwentyeight returns after the race. The 12-1 shot raced in seventh early under jockey Rajiv Maragh, then closed late to get third beaten 2 lengths. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved his record to 1 win and 1 second in 2 starts, earning $62,000 for owner Mike Repole.
Past winners of the Sanford Stakes
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