Itsmyluckyday wins a hard fought Woodward at Saratoga
Itsmyluckyday finally broke through and got his first Grade 1 win of his career when he scored in the Grade 1 $600,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. Sent off as the 5/2 second choice, Itsmyluckyday (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) broke well and sat second as favored Moreno (BetPTC.com Top Selection) went out and set the pace. Moreno was allowed to go on the front end by himself, but Paco Lopez brilliantly kept Itsmyluckyday only a length back and made his move as they went into the far turn. They arrived at the top of the lane pretty much shoulder to shoulder and put on a memorable battle all the way to the wire, with Itsmyluckyday finally forging ahead with forty yards to go and winning by half a length. Moreno was second and it was another couple of lengths back Prayer For Relief who finished up in third.
Palace (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) utilized a beautiful rail run to capture the Grade 1 Forego Stakes. Sent off at 4/1, Palace stalked from third early on as Zee Bros went out to set the pace. Palace found his opening down at the rail and burst through under jockey Cornelio Velasquez and they poured it on late to win by almost three and a half lengths over Big Business and Vyjack who ran second and third. In the Prioress it was Stonetastic who went to the front and never looked back as she poured it on down the stretch to win the $300,000 event by eight and a half lengths. Miss Behaviour (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was second throughout and finished a neck ahead of Southern Honey (BetPTC.com Longshot) who ran third.
Maybe the most exciting event of the day was the return of Wise Dan who won a hard fought edition of the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap. Wise Dan (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was making his first start back since throat surgery and the two-time Horse of the Year sat fourth early on as Five Iron opened up a sizeable lead early on. Wise Dan was taken out to the clear by John Velazquez and he made his move after the lead at the eighth pole. Long shot Optimizer came bursting from out of the pack and Wise Dan had to dig deep, but he was able to prevail and hold off Optimizer by a nose.
Sunset Glow wins the Del Mar Debutante
Sunset Glow had to dig deep as the odds on favorite, but she rewarded her backers as she scored in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante Stakes. Sent off at odds of 4/5, Sunset Glow (BetPTC.com Top Selection) sat down on the inside in fourth early on as long shot Seduire went out to set the early pace. Her Emmynency (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) made a big move after the lead and jockey Joe Talamo tried to shut the door on Victor Espinoza and Sunset Glow. But Sunset Glow got to the opening and burst through and was able to out-battle Her Emmynency to the wire, winning by a neck. Her Emmynency was second and Conquest Titan closed in to get third. In the Harry Brubaker Stakes it was Blue Tone who went wire to wire as the favorite and held off a stubborn Big Bane Theory to win by a head.
Avanzare takes home the Washington Park Handicap
Avanzare seemed to acclimate to the synthetic just fine on Saturday as he took home the top honors in the $150,000 Washington Park Handicap. Sent off at odds of 3/1, Avanzare (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was trying the synthetic for the first time as he’s been a grass specialist thus far. He broke right to the lead under Chris Emigh and was able to navigate pretty manageable fractions. Avanzare opened up three lengths in mid-stretch and had to dig deep to hold off a late flying Hattaash who just missed by a neck at odds of 24/1.