Oaklawn star second in Saratoga romp
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — With three horses entered, Saratoga carded its feature race first on Sunday, the 1 p.m. post giving the second- and third-place horses time to finish before sundown.
Paid Up Subscriber turned the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap into a runaway, her winning margin of 32 1/2 lengths greater than that of Secretariat (31 lengths) in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. The 5-year-old Candy Ride mare came off a strong second to champion filly Songbird in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps June 10 at Belmont Park, earning the respect of Saratoga bettors who made her a 3-5 favorite Sunday.
Terra Promessa, a four-time Oaklawn Park stakes winner who battled champion Stellar Wind in April’s Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap, finished second and Apology not accepted third, 36 1/2 lengths behind.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez allowed his two rivals to set early fractions of 23.07 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.81 for the half before going to work on Paid Up Subscriber. Once she got rolling, the chestnut mare engulfed her opponents from outside, stretching her lead from 1 1/2 lengths midway on the final turn to 15 at the head of the stretch.
“It was great,” said Velazquez. “It was a three-horse field, so sometimes you have to do things different and that’s how it happened today. I knew the other two horses had some speed. I wanted to keep it close enough to where they didn’t get away from me and not put too much pressure on them.
“On the backstretch, I changed my mind and put the pressure on and see how they did. When I got to the (half-mile) pole, it looked like it was turning my way, and from then on it was pretty easy for her. The other horses took back at the three-eighths pole, so when I got to the front, I decided to put the pressure on. When they took back, I changed my mind and put the pressure on and she handled it very well.”
With no place, show or exacta wagering, Paid Up Subscriber paid $3.30 to win. She carried 120 pounds through a fast-rated nine furlongs in 1:51.69, scoring her first stakes victory since June 2016 and first since transferring to the barn of trainer Chad Brown after being purchased by owners Peter Brant and Allen Stable.
“I’m very proud of her,” Brant said. “She was running against a pretty good filly last time (Songbird) and was right there. I was very pleased. I couldn’t be happier. The other two fillies were good, too, but we just battled it out.”