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2012 Opening Day at Saratoga


Pacific Ocean and Joel Rosario after the James Marvin Stakes
Date: 07/20/2012

Historic Saratoga Race Course opened for its 144th meeting on Friday afternoon, with 25,676 fans enjoying ideal racing conditions, mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. To kick off the stakes schedule for this prestigious race meeting, a field of 6 older horses sprinted 7 furlongs in the $100,000 James Marvin Stakes (G3). Carter Handicap (G1) winner Jackson Bend was sent off as the 4-5 favorite off his 5th place finish in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Caixa Eletronica, winner of the True North Handicap (G2) last out, and 6-1 third choice Pacific Ocean, 6th in the True North.

Pacific Ocean leads over Golddigger's Boy in the stretch

Jockey Joel Rosario sent Pacific Ocean to the lead exiting the chute and he set early fractions of 23.19 and 46.67 while as many as 2 1/2 lengths ahead of 7-1 Crossbow stalking in second. Pacific Ocean continued to lead into the stretch, getting 3/4 in 1:10.12. 8-1 Golddigger's Boy, third early, rallied late but to no avail as Pacific Ocean finished up 1 3/4 lengths in front in 1:22.53. It was another length back to Crossbow third, while favorite Jackson Bend checked in fourth.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 5   Pacific Ocean      Rosario      14.20    7.40  7.40
 3   Golddigger's Boy   Lezcano               9.40  5.40
 4   Crossbow           Dominguez                   6.10

Winning Time:  1:22.53

$2 Exacta 5-3               101.50
$2 Trifecta 5-3-4           675.00
$2 Superfecta 5-3-4-7     1,451.00
Results Chart

Left: Pacific Ocean in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said, "He was training so much better for this race than he was for his last race. In his last race, he had a bad post, there was a lot of speed, he was in a bad spot. Today was different. He had everything going his way. He was sitting on a race. He ran big. I have to see how he comes out of this race. He's not the easiest horse in the world to handle. I have to see how things are and go from there. Naturally, the (Forego) makes sense. It's a big race and he likes this track." country."

Right: Pacific Ocean gets hosed off before heading back to the barn.

Left: Pacific Ocean heads out of the paddock. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "That was perfect. I just tried to relax him as much as I could early and hoped nobody put on any pressure, and that's exactly what happened and he had something left turning for home. When Crossbow came to me, he kind of waited a little bit. I thought he wanted to go when he came to me, but he took his time. After that when Pacific Ocean kept the lead, I thought at that moment that the game was over."

Right: Pacific Ocean in the post parade.

Left: Second place finisher Golddigger's Boy heads out to the track. The 8-1 shot stalked the pace in third under jockey Jose Lezcano and rallied to get second beaten 1 3/4 lengths. The Ramon Preciado trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 4 seconds, and 4 thirds in 18 starts, earning $529,953 for owner William Hartwell.

Right: Third place finisher Crossbow in the post parade. The 7-1 shot pressed the pace in second under jockey Ramon Dominguez, but faded late to finish third beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 10 starts, earning $178,076 for owner Darley Stable.


Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Jackson Bend in the post parade. Trainer Nick Zito said, "We couldn't get the trip. Rosie was trying to get inside, but couldn't get there. That's what he wants to do run inside. It's frustrating because he was running in the end." Jockey Rosie Napravnik added, "It was a very wide trip. We were just caught wide the whole way. The pace, needless to say, was not ideal, but he came home good himself in the end."



So Many Ways (outside), Can't Explain, and Baby J battle in the stretch

. The traditional feature on opening day is the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for two-year-old fillies sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track. So Many Ways was sent off as the 5-2 choice in the field of 6, exiting an 8 length romp in her debut at Parx Racing on June 9. In to challenge her included 3-1 second choice Can't Explain, a maiden winner last out after finishing second in her debut, both at Belmont Park, and 7-2 third choice Sweet Shirley Mae, unraced since her debut win at Belmont on May 9.

Jockey Joel Rosario sent 4-1 fourth choice Baby J to the lead immediately and she set early fractions of 22.22 and 45.85 while stalked by Can't Explain. Entering the stretch, Can't Explain gained a short lead through 5/8 in 58.42, but So Many Ways, 5th early, closed 4 wide to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:11.51 over the fast track. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to pacesetter Baby J third.

Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) - from Saturday Sanford Stakes (G2) - from Sunday

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 7   So Many Ways       Castellano    7.60    4.10  2.90
 4   Can't Explain      Lezcano               3.90  2.60
 2   Baby J             Rosario                     3.00

Winning Time:  1:11.51

$2 Exacta 7-4                30.00
$2 Trifecta 7-4-2            97.50
$2 Superfecta 7-4-2-5       302.50 
Results Chart

Left: So Many Ways in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Tony Dutrow said, "These young fillies were at a disadvantage with how the track was playing. I understand the track was favoring speed today. I told the entry clerk who took the entries we were going to win this race. I've won this race before with a horse that wasn't as fast as her. I thought we'd be in good shape out there with the way this filly can finish up and we were. I do think this filly will go on. Her pedigree says she'll stretch out. Absolutely I'll look at the Spinaway."

Right: So Many Ways heads back to the barn.

Left: So Many Ways in the paddock.

Right: So Many Ways in the post parade. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "She's a really nice filly, really good in the way she's developing, and I'm really excited about her. There was a lot of speed in the race today. I'm fortunate, I just got her covered up behind horses, and she responded so well today."

Left: Second place finisher Can't Explain returns after the race. The 3-1 second choice stalked the pace 3rd early under jockey Jose Lezcano, gained a short lead midstretch but could not hold off the winner. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved her record to 1 win and 2 seconds in 3 starts, earning $86,000 for owner Bortolazzo Stable.

Right: Third place finisher Baby J heads out for the post parade. The 4-1 fourth choice led for the first 1/2 mile under jockey Joel Rosario, but tired through the final furlong to get third beaten 3 lengths. The Rick Dutrow Jr. trainee improved her record to 1 win and 1 third in 2 starts, earning $57,000 for owner Paul Pompa Jr.

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