Evvie Jets Soars to 29-1 Upset in G2 Ballston Spa

August 24, 2023

Evvie Jets holds on to pull off the upset in the Ballston Spa (Janet Napolitano)

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— The Estate of Robert J. Amendola’s Evvie Jets slipped through an opening along the rail, outdueled favored defending champion Technical Analysis down the stretch and held off late-running Fluffy Socks to spring a 29-1 upset in Thursday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Mohegan Sun Ballston Spa at Saratoga Race Course.

The 35th running of the 1 1/16-mile Ballston Spa for older fillies and mares on the inner turf course served as the headliner on a 10-race Military Appreciation Day program.

Evvie Jets got a ground-saving trip all the way around from jockey Manny Franco, aboard in place of Luis Saez, who was injured in a spill during Wednesday’s $135,000 John’s Call. The winning time was 1:43.06 over an inner turf course rated firm.

Attempting to become the third repeat winner of the Ballston Spa and first since Wait a While in 2007-08, Technical Analysis hooked up with 55-1 long shot Sister Bridget from the gate and dueled up the stretch the first time before jockey Jose Ortiz settled Technical Analysis in second following a quarter-mile in 23.50 seconds tracked by Gam’s Mission with Evvie Jets biding her time in fourth.

Ortiz and Technical Analysis made an inside move to gain ground down the backstretch and wrested a short lead after the half-mile went in 48.67. Ortiz took a quick peek beside him as the field rounded the far turn and was flanked by a pair of challengers straightening for home, but Franco’s patient handling of Evvie Jets paid off when they found a seam on the inside and powered through.

“They tried to catch the first turn too early and it was really lucky because they put the hot pace when two horses got together,” winning trainer Mertkan Kantarmaci said. “Manny did the right thing – just save and save and our plan was only stick to the rail – and he did – and save in the second turn also. She just made the stretch run today after the hot pace. She can do that. She showed that a long time ago already, but she ends up in fights in the slower pace. Today was the day for her to close.”

Evvie Jets put away Technical Analysis in mid-stretch and withstood a furious late bid from the latter’s Chad Brown-trained stablemate, Fluffy Socks, by a head to earn her seventh career win, fourth in a stakes, and second in graded company following the Grade 3 Noble Damsel last fall at Belmont at the Big A. She returned $60.50 for a $2 win bet.

Franco said he had no choice but to rate with the often prominent Evvie Jets.

“They broke out of there, the seven [Sister Bridget] and eight [Technical Analysis], they just break out of there running, sending hard. So I just saved ground all the way around and they come back, you know they come back big time, and I had the filly under me and she just responded to everything I asked her,” Franco said.

“They didn’t tell me to put her on the lead. They told me to play the break, if you’re there, you’re there, fine. If not, she can rate too, so that’s what I did. I break running, with intention going into the first turn but those guys sent hard, so I just sat. You know, sat on her, and she was there,” he added. “I got like a path or two inside so that was my only chance so I just take it, and like I said, she responded for me and we get it done.”

An emotional victory for connections of Evvie Jets (Susie Raisher)

Jumbly finished a half-length behind Fluffy Socks for third and a neck in front of Gam’s Mission in fourth. Technical Analysis, Consumer Spending, Surprisingly and Sister Bridget completed the order of finish. Speak of the Devil and main-track only entrant Into Happiness were scratched.

Fluffy Socks, Technical Analysis and Consumer Spending are all trained by Brown, who owns a record seven Ballston Spa wins. He came into Thursday’s race having won two straight, five of the last six and six of the last eight years.

“Perfect trip, can’t complain,” said Irad Ortiz, Jr. who rode Fluffy Socks. “The winner came from off the pace and cut the corner. Manny gave her a great ride.”

In the winner’s circle (NYRA/Coglianese)

Evvie Jets, bred in Kentucky by Farfellow Farms, earned $165,000 for the win, pushing her career bankroll to $698,680 from 22 starts that includes six seconds and two thirds. Claimed for $80,000 out of a runner-up finish in September 2021 at Belmont Park, the Twirling Candy mare was beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Athenia last fall at Belmont at the Big A in her graded debut. Previous stakes wins have come in the April 16 Plenty of Grace at Aqueduct and July 2 Perfect Sting at Belmont, both going one mile, the latter also over three Brown trainees.

“Here, to beat again the graded horses – they proved themselves way earlier a long time ago – it means a lot to beat the best trainer, best horses on the turf, in the toughest meet,” Kantarmaci said. “It means a lot with this filly. This is a gift to us.”

Live racing resumes Friday at Saratoga Race Course with a 10-race card featuring the Grade 1, $500,000 Personal Ensign for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles in Race 9 and the $150,000 Smart N Fancy for older fillies and mares sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon turf course in Race 3. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.       

@jonathanstettin & @Tracking_Trips perfect 3/3, this one at 4-1. Didn't know being stupid, humble, & an inferior player could feel so good 💰💰💰

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