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Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. returns aboard Ancient Secret after winning the 2016 Lake George Stakes
Saratoga Race Course's 2016 season kicked off on Friday afternoon, with 32,980 fans enduring the bright sun and temperatures in the low 90's. A field of 8 three-year-fillies (after 4 scratches) contested the $200,000 Lake George Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course. Ancient Secret was sent off as the 2-1 favorite, undefeated in 3 starts so far including the Wild Applause at Belmont Park. In to challenge her included 11-4 second choice Elysea's World, 6th in the Wonder Again last out, and 4-1 third choice Diamond Fields, second in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot and making her U.S. debut here.
Ancient Secret rallies on the far outside in the stretch
Diana (G1) and Sanford (G2) Stakes - from Saturday
Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) - from Sunday
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Ancient Secret Ortiz Jr. 6.40 3.90 3.10 2 Elysea's World Castellano 3.80 2.70 9 Outsider Art Franco 4.90 Winning Time: 1:40.35 $2 Exacta 5-2 20.80 $2 Trifecta 5-2-9 145.00 $2 Superfecta 5-2-9-6 820.00
Left: Ancient Secret in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "This filly ran really well. She's a remarkable horse. She always trained like a really quality animal, we just gave her little incremental goals and she's hit them all. I wasn't quite sure about the two turns, I know she's a top class horse but I was curious to see what she was going to do when the gates opened and she passed the test."
Right: Ancient Secret gets hosed off after the race. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "It was a great opportunity to win three races on opening day. We are on the right path and i'm looking to keep on going. Nothing's over until it's over, there are still a lot of races left in the meet."
Left: Second place finisher Elysea's World returns after the race. Trainer Chad Brown said, "She ran great. Happy to see her get back into form. Her last race we might have brought her back too soon. I thought she ran terrific, probably didn't love being inside there late in the race." Jockey Javier Castellano added, "I like the way she performed today. She did well and did everything she could to get it done but unfortunately, she was second best."
Right: Third place finisher Outsider Art heads out to the track before the race. The Jonathan Sheppard trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 0 seconds, and 5 thirds in 8 starts, earning $202,200 for owner Delmar Pettigrew.
Sweet Loretta wins the Schuylerville Stakes
Jockey Edgar Prado sent 23-1 Inspired Flight to the lead down the backstretch through fractions of 21.68 and 44.79 while pressed by Made Me Shiver and stalked by Olive Branch. Entering the lane Inspired Flight tired allowing Made Me Shiver to inherit a short lead through 5/8 in 57.60. However, she also tired as Sweet Loretta, 6th early, rallied 4 wide to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths over 22-1 Fun in 1:10.89 over the fast main track. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 11-2 Harlands Thunder third, and 1/2 more to favorite Made Me Shiver fourth.
Left: Sweet Loretta in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It actually probably worked in her favor that she didn't break well. They went fast early but she ran professionally; she ran into the dirt well. She kept gaining ground in the early part of the race and put herself in a good position coming off the turn."
Right: Sweet Loretta in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey John Velazquez added, "Obviously there's a lot of speed but the track was a little slow. But it worked out my way. She did everything well. I talked to Todd in the paddock before the race and he told me she breaks well, so give her a chance and let her run down the lane and that's what she did. Winning at Saratoga never gets old. Every time you come here and win a race, it's always special."
Left: Second place finisher Fun in the post parade. Jockey Junior Alvarado said, "I got a good trip. I was behind the winner the whole way. I guess I couldn't catch him. I thought I was second-best. She broke OK with the rest of them and I wasn't expecting anything else. I wanted to break a little off the pace and she allowed me to do that. When I asked, she was there for me."
Right: Third place finisher Harlands Thunder heads out to the track before the race. The Bill Mott trainee improved her record to 1 win, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $46,400 for owner-breeder Lakland Farm.
Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Made Me Shiver acts up in the post parade. The Steve Asmussen trainee has a record of 1 win in 2 starts, earning $30,960 for owner-breeder Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Joel Quenneville.
Fox Hill Farm's undefeated champion Songbird schooled in the paddock during the 6th race on Friday. She will go into the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on Sunday on an eight race win streak for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. She last worked out at Del Mar on July 17 going 6 furlong in 1:11.40 under her regular jockey Mike Smith, earning a bullet for fastest of the day.
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