Another Miracle wins turf debut in capturing Skidmore

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Leonard Green and Jonathan Green’s Another Miracle took to the turf in impressive fashion, winning his grass – and stakes – debut when overtaking 4-5 favorite Montauk Daddy in deep stretch and drawing away from Proven Strategies to win the $100,000 Skidmore for juveniles on Friday at Saratoga Race Course.

Another Miracle, from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, was forwardly placed by jockey Manny Franco, sitting in second position as Montauk Daddy, under Jose Lezcano, led the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 21.82 seconds and holding that edge into the stretch, registering a half-mile in 44.05 as rain started to pelt the Mellon turf still listed as firm.

Straightened for home, Another Miracle closed the separation and surged in the final furlong under Franco’s left-handed encouragement, taking the lead from the outside and closing a 1 §-length winner. He stopping the clock in 1:01.61 for the 5 ¢-furlong sprint.

“My horse broke good like always. Once I saw Lezcano’s horse [Montauk Daddy] wanted to go, I just let him go,” Franco said. “I knew I had horse all the way around. I just waited for the right moment to move, and that’s what I did. He’s talented. He can run on both surfaces.”

Another Miracle, trained by Gary Contessa, ran second in his debut on July 4 on Belmont Park’s main track and broke his maiden next out on July 21 at the Spa in a race taken off the turf. His turf bow in the Skidmore continued a trend of grass contenders from American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown winner, who has already produced talented turf runners in Europe, including Group 3-winner Maven in England.

“He’s little, but he’s got a big heart in that little body,” Contessa said. “It probably takes up the most space in his body. He’s just a neat horse. It was very professional for him to let [Montauk Daddy] go and then come back and get him.”

Off at 5-2, Another Miracle returned $7.10 on a $2 win wager and nearly doubled his career bankroll to $120,500. Contessa said the $200,000 Indian Summer on October 6 at Keeneland could be a potential landing spot as he looks to target “Win and You’re In” qualifiers for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park

Proven Strategies, making his stakes debut for trainer Mark Casse, kept pressing under a hard drive by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, edging Montauk Daddy by a head for second.

Proven Strategies is also owned by Leonard Green in partnership with Aron Yagoda and Empire Racing Club, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to introduce fans to racehorse ownership. Established by the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association, the Empire Racing Club provides members with racing and horse ownership experience with an all-in cost of $500 for the term.

“We had a good trip. He’s still a little green; still learning,” Gaffalione said. “That was a big race and a huge effort from him. He’s going to keep improving. Once we got it all together, he was finishing nicely and he galloped out well. I’m looking forward to him moving on down the road.”

Memorable, Now Is, Venerate, Frosted Rose and River Hawk completed the order of finish.

Live racing will resume today with an 11-race card highlighted by the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama presented by NYRA Bets for 3-year-old fillies in Race 10 and the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid for 3-year-old fillies in Race 9. First post time is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Uncontested becomes sixth track record setter this meet

The 2019 meet has already seen a track record equaled or lowered for five separate distances, including on Thursday afternoon when Robert LaPenta and Harry T. Rosenblum’s Uncontested tied a 41-year-old track record for seven furlongs over the Saratoga Race Course main track.

This marked the sixth track-record performance of the meet, four of which took place in stakes company. Newly minted track record holders this meet include Leinster [five furlongs on the Mellon turf in the Grade 3 Troy, 1:00.23], Imperial Hint [six furlongs on the main track in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt, 1:07.92], King Zachary [1 ¾ miles on the main track in the Birdstone, 2:52.97] and Got Stormy [one mile on the inner turf in the Grade 1 Fourstardave, 1:32.00], who broke a record set by Macagone [1:33.13] just eight days earlier in an optional-claiming event.

Uncontested, a 5-year-old son of Tiz Wonderful, was the pacesetter in the five-horse field and drew off to win by 2 ¼ lengths, stopping the clock in 1:20.52, which when translated to fifths is equal to the time recorded by Darby Creek Road, who in 1978 completed his seven furlongs in 1:20 2/5.

In an 18-race career, Uncontested has passed through the hands of trainers Wayne Catalano and Jennifer Patterson and is currently conditioned by Tom Amoss.

“He ran really well,” Amoss said. “He’s a horse whose courage got very big after the opening quarter. He was on the lead and I think you saw the real Uncontested [Thursday].”

Amoss said that a stake is likely in order for Uncontested but is unsure as to where. He already is a two-time stakes winner, having won Oaklawn Park’s Southwest as a 3-year-old, and earlier this year he won the Grade 3 General George at Laurel Park.

“He’s very healthy today, which is what we were looking for,” Amoss said. “I’ll get together with the owners to figure out what’s next. He had a great resume before I got him and nothing has been penciled in, but a stakes will likely be next.”

Bred in Kentucky by Richard Forbush, Uncontested is out of the Lil E. Tee broodmare Galileo’s Star and was purchased for $20,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2015.