Blind Ambition relishes cutback in distance to capture Quick Call

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Gainesway Stable’s Blind Ambition capitalized on a cutback in distance, running down Expedited Vision in deep stretch to win the eighth running of the $100,000 Quick Call for 3-year-olds Wednesday on Saratoga Race Course’s Mellon turf.

Jockey Sheldon Russell sent Expedited Vision to the front, setting fractions of 22.42 seconds for a quarter-mile with the half going in 44.76. Making just his second start on turf, Blind Ambition stalked the pacesetter before Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano made a bid to the outside, overtaking Expedited Vision in the final sixteenth to win by a half-length, completing 5 ½ furlongs in 1:01.51.

“I really like this horse,” Castellano said. “When we got to the top of the stretch, he kept going forward, the 5 [Expedited Vision] set the pace and made the rest of us come at him. I just like the way he did it. He finished really strong, and I’m personally satisfied with the way he did it.”

Blind Ambition, who never raced at a short distance than seven lengths, won his first career stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher, capturing his third victory in six career starts.

The Tapit colt also won his first-ever start outside of Gulfstream Park, excelling after finishing seventh at seven furlongs on dirt in the Grade 3 Carry Back on July 1.

“He came to us very well bred, out of Starfish Bay dam who was a very nice horse for us,” Pletcher said. “We figured we might as well try him on the dirt, but he excelled on the grass and after the Carry Back, we were pointing for this race and thought it was a good spot for him.

“The way he finished and galloped out looked real strong and Javier came back and told me the same thing. I think he can go further. He’s won at seven and a half [furlongs], so it looks like we have some options going forward. When they turned for home, I was a little worried that [Expedited Vision] had got away, but he really closed well and when he got there, he went to the wire, finishing strong.”

Sent off as the 7-5 favorite, Blind Ambition paid $4.89 on a $2 win bet and more than doubled his career earnings to $111,020. 

Expedited Vision, who started his career 2-for-2 for trainer Phil Schoenthal, finished six lengths clear of third-place finisher The Money Monster in his stakes debut.

Mongo Nation, Indy Hill and Malraux completed the order of finish.