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2021 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and Bowling Green Stakes

Jose Lezcano and Lexitonian head to the winner's circle after the 2021 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap
Date: 07/31/2021

The co-feature race on Saturday at Saratoga was the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1), one of the premier races for older sprinters on the east coast. A field of 9 went to post in this 6 furlong main track event under overcast skies and temperatures in the high 60's. Carter Handicap (G1) winner Mischevious Alex was sent off as the 7-5 favorite off his 3rd place finish in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Special Reserve, winner of the Maryland Sprint (G3) and Iowa Sprint, and 4-1 third choice Whitmore, 3rd in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1).

Down the stretch in the Vanderbilt

Jockey Jose Lezcano sent 34-1 longest shot Lexitonian to the lead out of the chute through an opening quarter of 22.04 before Special Reserve took over on the far turn and into the lane through a half in 44.45, pressed by Lexitonian and stalked by 33-1 Strike Power. In the stretch, Special Reserve continued to lead through 5f in 56.54 but Lexitonian fought back along the rail to win by 1/2 a length in 1:09.38. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to late-running Whitmore third, while favorite Mischevious Alex sat 4th early but faded late to finish 8th beaten 11 lengths.

The Jim Dandy Stakes also on the card

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 1   Lexitonian         Lezcano      70.00   21.20 10.40
 9   Special Reserve    Rosario               5.20  3.70
 6   Whitmore           Santana                     4.00

Winning Time:  1:09.38

$1 Exacta 1-9               183.50
$1 Trifecta 1-9-6         1,050.00
$1 Superfecta 1-9-6-8    10,410.00
Results Chart

Left: Lexitonian in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jack Sisterson said, "I said to Jose he's a horse who fights. Please get him out of the gate and engage him early. I believe if you engage him early, he will feel the pressure and respond to that. At the half-mile pole if he comes off the bridle, perfect. That's him and he will respond. It's even better if a horse heads him because he'll fight on again, which happened. He stuck his head out in front today. I have to give Lexitonian a ton of credit. He ran in the Met Mile and he was eased. You'd think a horse that was eased and thrown in some clunkers, you'd sit back and think let's drop him down a grade and give him a confidence builder. But I've run him in every Grade 1 and been hard on him and this is how he responds today. I have to give credit to Lexitonian."

Right: Lexitonian heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Jose Lezcano said, "This horse is a very good horse. He tries hard all the time. He's the type of horse that needs to be involved and sometimes he doesn't break all that well and has to stay in the back. He broke well today. Joel [Rosario aboard Special Reserve] tried to get away from me, but when I dropped my hands, he took off again and won the race."

Left: Second place finisher Special Reserve in the post parade. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "He was comfortable. He liked to be right there. It's a tough beat. I thought we got him and then the other horse to the inside beat me."

Right: Third place finisher Whitmore in the paddock before the race. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. said, "I got a perfect trip. He hadn't run in a couple of months. He's a good horse."

Eighth place finisher and beaten favorite Mischevious Alex returns after the race. The Saffie Joseph trainee has a record of 7 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 14 starts, earning $717,355 for owners Cash is King Stable and LC Racing.

Cross Border wins the Bowling Green

The $250,000 Bowling Green Stakes (G2) featured a field of 8 older horses going 1 3/8 miles around 3 turns of the inner turf course. Man O'War Stakes (G1) winner Channel Cat was sent off as the 3-1 favorite off his 7th place finish in the Manhattan (G1). In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Channel Maker, unraced since 8th in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), and 4-1 third choice Moon Over Miami, a close third in the Man O'War.

Jockey John Velazquez sent Channel Cat to the lead around the first turn through fractions of 24.75, 49.37, 1:14.52, and 1:38.71 while pressed by Channel Maker and staked by 6-1 Cross Border. Entering the stretch for the last time, jockey Luis Saez sent Cross Border 4 wide to take over the lead through 10f in 2:03.43. Kept to task by Saez, Cross Border drew off late to win by 1 1/4 lengths over late-running 5-1 fourth choice Rockemperor in 2:16.36 over the "good" course. It was another length back to 10-1 Shamrocket third, and a head back to pacesetting favorite Channel Cat fourth.

Results Chart

Left: Cross Border heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mike Maker said, "He's a model of consistency and durability. Hopefully, we have another couple of years with him. He's handled everything. Especially here (with good turf). We back him up for his gallop and whenever he wants to turn around, we let him. As you seen coming back, he's got a little antics to him. We let him do his thing. I'd assume the Sword Dancer is next."

Right: Cross Border returns after the race. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "He loves it here. This is a special horse that I love riding. He always tries hard. Today, he ran huge. It setup perfect with a good pace. When we came to the top of the stretch, he really gave me that kick and he battled. He always wants to give me everything. It all went according to plan."

Left: Second place finisher Rockemperor in the paddock before the race. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "He ran really well. In the first turn I got a little out of position, but he ran well. The horse who won ran the best."

Right: Third place finisher Shamrocket returns after the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 6 seconds, and 6 thirds in 17 starts, earning $338,180 for owner Donegal Racing.

Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Channel Cat in the paddock before the race. The Jack Sisterson trainee has a record of 6 wins, 3 seconds, and 5 thirds in 28 starts, earning $1,406,022 for owner-breeder Calumet Farm.

On to the Jim Dandy Stakes also on the card

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