SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.- Juddmonte homebred Flavius, with Flavien Prat in the irons, wired Saturday’s $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure, at 1 1/16-miles on the Mellon turf for older horses at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Chad Brown, who captured his 2000th career win on Friday, saddled a trio of Lure starters comprised of Value Proposition, Delaware and Flavius, who entered from a runner-up effort in the Seek Again on May 22 at Belmont Park.
Value Proposition, racing for purse money only after losing a front shoe on the way to the gate, broke well from post 3 and secured a ground-saving position as Flavius exited post 4 with intent, establishing the opening quarter mile in 24.52 seconds on the firm turf.
Flavius maintained his lead down the backstretch through a half-mile in 48.99 with Tell Your Daddy providing pressure from the outside in second position as Value Proposition continued to enjoy a pocket trip. Fighting Seabee advanced up the rail as Value Proposition angled out into the final turn to launch his bid, while Hall of Famer John Velazquez asked Tell Your Daddy for his best run.
With many rivals lining up at the top of the lane, Flavius never relinquished as the bay ridgling responded to Prat’s encouragement and continued to find more en route to a 1 1/2-length score in a final time of 1:41.53.
“I am so appreciative for this horse. Juddmonte are very good clients of mine,” Brown said. “They are very patient with this horse and decided to leave him in training for another year. It took a little time to get him back in form, but I loved his race today. I appreciate Flavien taking the initiative of taking it to them early. This horse switched off nicely down the backside and it seemed when he had his ears up moving comfortably down the backside, so I knew he had a big chance. He ran lights out today. It was an impressive performance.”
By War Front and out of the multiple graded stakes winning Dynaformer mare Starformer, Flavius launched his career in Ireland with trainer Dermot Weld. He joined Brown’s stable in 2019 and captured the Tourist Mile in September at Kentucky Downs in his fourth start for the four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer.
Flavius launched his 6-year-old season with a close fourth in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile in March at Santa Anita ahead of his Seek Again effort.
“I didn’t see a lot of speed in the race,” Prat said. “I wanted to be in the race and I found myself on the lead. He was travelling super and he kicked on really well. When I rode him in the Kilroe, it was against a good group of horses. I thought everything worked out well today.”
Tell Your Daddy stayed on strong to complete the exacta by 1 1/2-lengths over Value Proposition. Rounding out the order of finish were Dreams of Tomorrow, Delaware, South Bend, Fighting Seabee and Temple. Midnight Tea Time, Guildsman and main-track only entrant Tacitus were scratched.
“He ran real good and gave me everything he could,” Velazquez said of Tell Your Daddy. “We got a good position. The winner was a little bit better than us.”
Bred in Kentucky by his owner, Flavius banked $66,000 in victory while improving his record to 12-4-3-1. Sent to post as the 6-5 favorite, he paid $4.70 for a $2 win ticket.
“This has a been a horse that we brought over here with expectations that he could move up to the next level, and he’s gotten close to this level,” said Garrett O’Rourke, general manager of Juddmonte’s American division. “I think today his race was perfect. It’s nice to keep horses like this a little bit longer in training and when they reward you, it makes it worthwhile.”
Live racing resumes Sunday at Saratoga with a 10-race card featuring the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose, the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack and the Grade 3, $700,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
By Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Flavius (Joe Labozzetta)