Aspray Makes the Grade With Two-Length Score in G2 Lake Placid

August 19, 2023

Aspray edges away to capture the Lake Placid (NYRA/Coglianese)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown had four chances to capture Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid, and did just that as Ran Jan Racing’s Kentucky homebred Aspray rallied strongly from off the pace to coast home a two-length winner over stablemate Surge Capacity in the 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for sophomore fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

The daughter of Quality Road made the grade in her second attempt on the heels of a fourth-place finish in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 8 at Belmont Park. A cutback in distance and a well-timed ride from Flavien Prat led to the bay filly visiting the winner’s circle for the fourth time in five starts, adding to her first stakes triumph in Pimlico Race Course’s one-mile Hilltop on May 19.

“I trained her a little too far last time, but you had to try since it was such a prestigious race we were pointing towards,” said Brown, who secured a record-extending fifth Lake Placid triumph. “Flavien knows the horse so well, he came back after the race and he was adamant about the race being a little too far for her and that we should cut her back in distance to 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles and we’ll be fine. He was right.”

Aspray makes a four-wide move turning for home (Dom Napolitano)

The victory marked a third consecutive in this event for Brown, who saddled last year’s winner Haughty along with Technical Analysis [2021], Regal Glory [DH, 2019] and Rushing Fall [2018].

Aspray emerged from post 2 and sat back patiently as Heavenly Sunday assumed the title of pacesetter from the inside post through an opening quarter-mile in 24.05 seconds over the good footing.

Gloria’s Princess tracked in second into the backstretch as Junipermarshmallow settled in third, racing comfortably through a half-mile in 48.37 with Prat staying patient aboard Aspray in fourth along the inside. Gloria’s Princess was asked for more by Luis Saez into the turn as Junipermarshmallow faded and Aspray was swung off the rail to make her bid for the front after three-quarters in 1:12.58.

The Brown-trained Surge Capacity attempted to make a swift move up the rail down the backstretch, but was on and off the bridle and stayed along the inside before angling out at the eighth pole to make a run to the outside of her runaway stablemate. Aspray assumed the lead from a tiring Gloria’s Princess passing the sixteenth pole and drew away from the oncoming Surge Capacity to cross the wire first in a final time of 1:42.85.

Surge Capacity fended off Soviet Excess to hold onto place honors by a head while the Brown-trained Tax Implications finished a neck back in fourth. Prerequisite, Gloria’s Princess, Heavenly Sunday and Junipermarshmallow completed the order of finish. Main track-only entrants Leave No Trace and Undervalued Asset were scratched.

Prat said Aspray was a perfect professional.

“We had a good draw. She broke well, I was able to get myself into the race. She was traveling well and did the rest,” said Prat. “I was really happy and pleased where I was. I thought turning for home I was traveling really well and when I tipped her out, she really dug in. So I thought from there, I didn’t know who was behind me, but I felt she was going to make a good move.”

Owner Jan Van de Bos Naify gives Aspray a well-deserved pat after her Lake Placid victory (Susie Raisher)

Out of the multiple group stakes-winning Galileo mare Up, Aspray is the result of a meticulous search by Jan Van de Bos Naify of Ran Jan Racing to find the perfect mare from the family of Sadler’s Wells. She found Up at the 2015 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale where she went to $2.2 million for the mare, who was then in foal to War Front.

“I had looked for a Galileo mare. My late husband [Robert Naify] and I made trips to Ireland. We went to Coolmore and met Montjeu and Galileo,” said Naify. “Sadler’s Wells is my favorite stallion of all time, the sire of Galileo. I looked for about 10 years for the right Galileo mare and during the January Sale, I saw her walk. She wasn’t big, she was only about 15.2 [hands]. Frank Taylor and myself spoke and I told him I wanted to possibly buy that mare. I made one bid and one bid only.”

Brown, who also saddled fourth-place Tax Implications and fifth-place Prerequisite, said it is likely Aspray will now target the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup going nine furlongs on October 14 at Keeneland, a race Brown has won five times.

“It would be about as far as she would want to go,” said Brown. “As long as she’s got some pace to run at. Last year, Flavien and I teamed up to win it with Gina Romantica. The race had some pace and she was able to come from off it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it again with this one.”

Aspray banked $110,000, boosting her total purse earnings to $226,210 and improving her record to 5-4-0-0. She returned $8.70 for a $2 win ticket.

Joel Rosario, aboard Surge Capacity, said he was pleased with the effort from the last-out winner of the Grade 3 Lake George here.

“It was a good trip,” said Rosario. “I was in a good spot turning for home, but we were second best today. She ran good. It looked like that horse [Soviet Excess] was going to get me for second, but she kept fighting.”

Live racing resumes Sunday at Saratoga with 10-race card, featuring the $150,000 Bolton Landing in Race 4. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

@PastTheWire you did do her justice, this is a great read on a tragic moment in the history of our great sport, thank you.

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