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Saez shines with hat trick of stakes wins at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Jockey Luis Saez rode four winners Friday, including three in stakes events, as New York-breds took center stage at Saratoga Race Course for New York Showcase Day, as part of a 12-race card containing six stakes for state-breds worth a combined $900,000.

Saez notched a pair of stakes wins for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, including with Samborella in the Seeking the Ante and Makingcents in the Fleet Indian. He completed the hat trick by guiding the Jimmy Bond-conditioned Rinaldi to a front-running win in the West Point. Saez topped off a memorable day by guiding Smite to victory for Englehart in a state-bred maiden-claiming sprint on the turf in the night cap.

“I’m so blessed and thankful for the trainers and owners who give me these opportunities,” said Saez. “The horses have been running pretty good.”

Bond stressed the importance of the New York-bred program after his Bond Racing Stable’s Rinaldi impressed in the West Point.

“It means everything,” said Bond. “My wife and I spend a lot of time and money to build up a nice operation, a farm. We have our own racing barn. To have this happen in these tough times for a lot of people is the icing on the cake today for us.”

Saez started the stakes action off with a gate-to-wire 2 1/4-length victory aboard Samborella in the seventh running of the Seeking the Ante for juvenile fillies in the opening race. The Jeremiah Englehart trainee led the six-horse field through fractions of 21.65 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, the half in 44.40 and three-quarters in 1:09.49 on the fast main track. Drawing away in the stretch under jockey Luis Saez, Samborella completed the 6 ½-furlong main tack sprint in 1:16.45, outkicking runner-up and 9-5 favorite Make Mischief.

After running third in her debut on July 24 at Saratoga, Samborella went off at 5-2 and returned $7.90 on a $2 win wager. The daughter of Outwork, bred by WinStar Farm, was owned by It’s All About the Girls, Gold Square, Paul Braverman, Fortune Farm and Harlow Stables. Samborella was pulled up immediately after the wire and vanned off with an injury to her left foreleg. Samborella was transported to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and after further examination was humanely euthanized.

Saez won the last three races on the card beginning in Race 10, the nine-furlong Fleet Indian for sophomore fillies, by guiding Fortune Farm’s Makingcents gate-to-wire.

Breaking from the rail, the daughter of Goldencents got into position going into the first turn and recorded opening fractions of 24.25 seconds for the first quarter-mile and the half-mile in 48.73. Around the far turn, Makingcents got her cue from Saez as she extended her advantage. Approaching the eighth pole, Sharp Starr, who hopped at the start, unleashed a late bid to the outside with Ice Princess doing the same to the inside. But Makingcents had enough to hang on by a neck to Ice Princess in a final time of 1:50.31.

Returning $8.80, Makingcents secured a third victory in six lifetime starts while bringing up her lifetime earnings to $169,820. She won her third career outing by 9 ½ lengths over the Aqueduct main track before defeating New York-bred winners going a one turn mile at Belmont Park.

Bred in New York by Windhorse Thoroughbreds, Makingcents is out of the Cape Town mare Mischief Maker.

In Race 11, the West Point, Saez again utilized a prominent approach taking Rinaldi to the lead through splits of 25.09, 50.39 and 1:13.61 on the good inner turf while under pressure from Blewitt. Into the final turn of the 1 1/16-mile event, Rinaldi continued to find more opening up a 2 ½-length advantage at the stretch call and racing home a 1 ½-length winner over Dot Matrix in a final time of 1:43.52.

Bred by Barry R. Ostrager, the 4-year-old Posse gelding improved his record to 7-4-1-1, while adding his third restricted stakes win after scores last year in the Spectacular Bid and Cab Calloway divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes Series.

“Luis is just amazing,” said Bond. “He got to the lead and we thought Blewitt might take a shot, but I know my horse on the front end is pretty strong. Luis made the lead and then backed them down a bit going into the turn. He’s a good turn horse because he’s small and compact. They came to him a little bit and Luis re-broke.”

Rinaldi paid $4.70.

In Race 3, highly regarded Chestertown earned his first victory since breaking his maiden in December at Aqueduct when out dueling a game City Man to take the Albany for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the main track.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the gray son of Tapit out of Grade 1 winner Artemis Agrotera tracked the field in fourth as More Graytful and Sky of Hook dueled through an opening quarter-mile in 24.29 and half in 48.45.

Around the far turn, Chestertown inched his way up to the front under Jose Ortiz, who began asking for more from his charge approaching the quarter-pole. At the top of the stretch, Chestertown confronted More Graytful, who retreated around the three-sixteenths pole. Stakes winner City Man unleased a late bid to the outside past the eighth-pole, but Chestertown dug in for the three-quarter length victory in a final time of 1:49.37.

“When he wanted to go around the three-eighths pole, he wanted to go by himself, but I didn’t want to let him go,” said Ortiz. “I had the favorite [City Man] inside of me and the guy in front, I knew I got him. I took it away from him at that point.

“It took him awhile to get going but when he felt that horse outside of him coming, he rebroke and made another run,” added Ortiz. “I think he’s learning still. He’s got a lot of races under his belt but he’s a typical Tapit. He will be better as a 4-year-old. He’s figured it out now with the blinkers on. I think he’s coming along really nicely.”

Returning $6.10, Chestertown nearly doubled his lifetime earnings to $165,990. He was bred by Chester and Mary Broman, who own Chestertown in partnership with West Point Thoroughbreds, Woodford Racing, Siena Farm and Robert Masiello.

In Race 5, the 41st running of the Yaddo at 1 1/16-miles on the inner turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, Lawrence Goichman’s Myhartblongstodady led gate-to-wire under Jose Lezcano en route to a one-length score.

Sent to post as the 3-2 mutuel favorite, the homebred daughter of Scat Daddy, out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Rumour, set splits of 25.77, 50.25 and 1:15.39 on the good turf, before holding off a late charge from Wegetsdamunnys to stop the clock in 1:44.16.

“She broke pretty good and she was very comfortable the whole way,” said Lezcano. “At the five-sixteenths pole, I let her open up because I knew the other filly would be coming at the end. My filly put in a very good race and improved from the last race to this one.”

Myhartblongstodady returned $5.

Thin White Duke ensured Lookin for Trouble did not go station to station in the Funny Cide in Race 7, running down both Eagle Orb and the pacesetter from the outside in the stretch to break his maiden at fifth asking in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds.

Thin White Duke, who ran third in his first two starts at Belmont before finishing second in his last two attempts at the Spa this meet, finally earned a trip to the winner’s circle, tracking Lookin for Trouble’s early fractions of 22.13 for the quarter-mile and the half in 45.07. In the stretch, Joel Rosario set down the Dominus filly, who made a strong move from the outside to run down two rivals for a half-length win in a final time of 1:16.75, giving trainer, breeder and co-owner Phil Gleaves his first win of the meet.

Thin White Duke paid $12.20. Co-owned by Steven Crist, Ken deRegt and Bryan Hillard, he was scratched out of a maiden race and handled the step up in class, outkicking Eagle Orb in second and Lookin for Trouble in third.

Gleaves said he used the Funny Cide as a way to gauge next steps for the improving gelding with an eye to potential starts at Belmont in the $100,000 Bertram F. Bongard at seven furlongs is slated for October 2, while the $150,000 Sleepy Hollow, a one-turn mile, is set for October 24.

“The only stakes in the fall for 2-year-old New York-breds are on the dirt – two at Finger Lakes and two at Belmont,” said Gleaves. “So, we needed to find out if he belonged with these types of horses. We scratched out of a maiden race to purposely run in this race to see where he stacked up. We felt like he would stack up and he showed it today.”

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