Newly Minted wins Union Avenue off layoff

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Newly Minted returned off a four-month layoff unfazed, tracking in second position before taking command out of the turn and repelling Mrs. Orb’s late bid from the outside to win Thursday’s $85,000 Union Avenue for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Saratoga Race Course.

In her first start since running second in the Heavenly Prize on March 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack, Newly Minted showed the form that allowed her to win 5-of-8 starts as a sophomore, staying in second position as defending Union Avenue-winner Carrera Cat led the six-horse field through a quarter-mile in 23.51 seconds and the half in 46.03 on the fast main track.

Under jockey Jose Lezcano, Newly Minted overtook Carrera Cat out of the turn and gained command near the inside. In the stretch, even-money favorite Ratajkowski, who broke a step slow, challenged from the outside under Jose Ortiz. Newly Minted drifted off the rail late in the lane and lightly bumped with Ratajkowski before pressing on and fending off Mrs. Orb’s late charge by a neck in completing seven furlongs in 1:23.84.

The stewards ruled no change after an inquiry, with Newly Minted earning her first win in three starts in 2020 after starting the campaign with back-to-back runner-up efforts, commencing with the Biogio’s Rose in February at the Big A.

“It was a tough trip,” Lezcano said. “The one horse [Ratajkowski] got outside me early and we were under pressure the whole way. I could feel her getting tired, but she battled all the way to the end. She’s all heart.”

Off as the 2-1 second choice, the Linda Rice trainee returned $6.20 on a $2 win wager and improved her career bankroll to $515,988.

“I was concerned at first when I saw the head-on replay and they put the lines up,” Rice said. “I could see the filly was laboring and she was tired at the end of it. But Jose [Lezcano] told me, ‘Look Linda, I know she came over a little bit. She was tired.’ But he said he was well in front of her.”

The 4-year-old Central Banker filly improved to 2-for-2 all-time at Saratoga, adding to her nine-length score in last year’s Fleet Indian going nine furlongs. Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Newly Minted has finished first or second in six of her last seven starts.

“I was [worried about the layoff]. I didn’t get as many workouts into her as I would have liked but she has a lot of raw talent and I was hoping it would carry her through,” Rice said. “The New York-bred program is tremendous. The New York-bred program is terrific and more people need to get involved.”

Mrs. Orb, trained by Michael Miceli, was the runner-up for a second consecutive stakes appearance after being edged b Ratajkowski by a neck in the Critical Eye on June 18 at Belmont. Ridden by Dylan Davis, Mrs. Orb finished three-quarters of a length in front of 33-1 Forever Changed.

“This definitely isn’t her distance. She needs a mile or farther,” Davis said. “I had to stay with her as she doesn’t like dirt in her face too much, so it was an outside trip and onto the task early but she ran well. She’s nice and sound and finishing strong for us, so on to the next one. She’s a consistent mare and nice to ride.”

Collegeville Girl, Ratajkowski and Carrera Cat completed the order of finish.

Live racing resumes today at Saratoga with a 10-race card that includes the $100,000 Perfect Sting for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf in Race 4 at 2:54 p.m. The first post is scheduled 1:10 p.m.


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