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Officer Hutchy swats away competition in NYSSS Park Avenue

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Sanford Goldfarb’s Officer Hutchy notched her second win of the meet at Saratoga Race Course, linking up with Spin a Yarn in the last furlong before pulling away in the final sixteenth for a half-length score in Thursday’s $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Park Avenue for 3-year-old fillies.

Making her first start for trainer Rob Atras, Officer Hutchy went off as the 8-5 favorite and tracked Big Q, who led the seven-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 21.90 seconds and the half in 44.49 over a main track rated fast.

Out of the turn, Big Q was kept near the rail straightening for home before being overtaken by 9-5 selection Spin a Yarn from the outside. Under jockey Dylan Davis, Officer Hutchy showed she had plenty left in the tank, pressing on from the four path and running eye-to-eye with Spin a Yarn before gaining separation and hitting the wire in 1:15.37 for the 6 ½-furlong sprint.

“I was expecting her to run well, but that performance really wowed me,” said Atras, who won his first stakes race at Saratoga. “The credit goes to Sandford Goldfarb, who picked her out. It was his idea to claim the filly.”

Officer Hutchy, whose previous stakes appearance was a second in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue in November at Aqueduct Racetrack, won for the fourth time in eight starts overall. She was claimed for $25,000 out of a win at the Spa on August 16.

“She ran great. She broke running and Dylan put her in the perfect spot,” Atras said. “He sat just off the pace and that other filly was tough to run down. She’s a nice filly so I was happy with my horse today.”

Bred by Green Polka Farms, Officer Hutchy returned $5.50 on a $2 win bet. She improved her career earnings to $244,430.

“We always like to look for New York-breds. They seem to always have more options and obviously better spots to run in and they run for great money,” Atras said. “I tend to lean towards looking for New York-breds.”

Spin a Yarn, who was 4-for-4 with all victories at Finger Lakes entering her stakes bow, ran second in her bid to give trainer Chris Progno his first career Saratoga stakes victory, finishing 1 ¼ lengths clear of The Important One.

Big Q, Nicky Scissors, Holmdel Park and Mani Pedi completed the order of finish.

No turf, no problem for

Simply Ravishing in P.G. Johnson

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After defeating open company in her career debut, New York-bred Simply Ravishing scored against stakes company next out when securing a victory in an off-the-turf edition of Thursday’s 16th running of the $100,000 P.G. Johnson for juvenile fillies over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.

Heavy rain showers throughout Wednesday forced the event off the inner turf and back to seven furlongs from its initial 1 1/16-mile distance. Simply Ravishing was cutting back in distance and changing surfaces from her 1 1/16-mile maiden victory on August 2 over the Spa’s Mellon turf, but the daughter of Laoban had no problems with the altered conditions.

Piloted by Luis Saez, Simply Ravishing broke from the outside post in the four-horse field just to the outside of Con Lima, who commanded the compact field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.82 seconds and a half in 45.67 over the fast main track.

Around the far turn, Simply Ravishing began inching her way to even terms with the pacesetter and was in command by the quarter pole. At the top of the stretch, Saez asked for more from his charge and she opened up on the field drawing off to a 6 ½ length win in a final time of 1:21.85.

Con Lima finished second as the post-time favorite while fellow Todd Pletcher trainee Union Gables was another 2 ¼ lengths back in third. Thursday finished fourth and last. Invincible Gal, Plum Ali, and Mischievous Dream were scratched.

“I knew the Jose Ortiz filly [Con Lima] was pretty tough,” said Saez, who won his fourth stakes race of the meet aboard Simply Ravishing. “She came up from Florida where she won pretty nicely. We tried to break good and put pressure on her. I knew my filly was good, too. Last time, she ran on the turf and showed she had a lot of ability. Today, she proved it. She can run on anything. I had a lot of horse, so when I came close to the wire, I was saving some for next time.”

Simply Ravishing gave trainer Kenny McPeek a second stakes win of the meet after sending out Swiss Skydiver to an ultra-impressive win in the Grade 1 Alabama on August 15.

Harold Lerner, who owns Simply Ravishing with Nehoc Stables and Magdalena Racing, said he was not the least bit concerned with the surface change.

“We’ve been very happy with this horse and felt she could run on any surface,” Lerner said. “What I saw today was very impressive. You just love to see them draw off and win in the right way. Hopefully, she’ll have a big future in front of her. She’s a New York bred and twice a winner against open company. Now, we know she can [run on] turf and dirt. She’s gone two turns and she’s gone seven furlongs, so I think we have a really nice filly on our hands and we’re extremely happy with her.”

Lerner said that Simply Ravishing could stay on dirt for her next start, which could take place in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades on October 2 at Keeneland, a race that McPeek has won four times.

“Ken and I talked about it and we’re going to send her down to Kentucky to him and we’re going to take a look at the Alcibiades at Keeneland,” Lerner said. “We’re hopeful she’d be up for the next step. She’s nominated now to the Breeders’ Cup, and after what I saw today, I think we’re going to roll the dice and just keep going with her.”

Banking $55,000 in victory and returning $7.30 for a $2 win bet, Simply Ravishing increased her lifetime earnings to $94,600.

Bred in New York by Meg Levy, Simply Ravishing gave her first-crop sire Laoban his first stakes triumph as a stallion. She is out of the More Than Ready mare Four Wishes and was bought for $50,000 from last year’s Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale in Lexington, Kentucky, where she was consigned by Bluewater Sales.

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