SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Jockey Jose Ortiz won a trio of races on Friday’s New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course, an 11-race card devoted to horses bred in the Empire State boasting six stakes worth a combined $1.25 million.
Ortiz posted victories with the undefeated Fingal’s Cave in the $200,000 Fleet Indian and with reigning New York-bred Champion Turf Male Somelikeithotbrown in an off-the-turf edition of the $200,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank. The talented rider also scored with Perfect Munnings in a state-bred optional-claiming sprint.
“Saratoga New York Showcase Day is a banner day as it allows us to shine a light on everyone who owns, breeds and participates in the New York-bred program on racing’s biggest stage,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders. “Today is even more special as we also honored the connections of five legendary New York-breds in Fio Rito, Fourstardave, Commentator, Funny Cide and Tiz the Law, who each helped raise the stature of the program.
“Working with NYRA to create and promote each of our three Showcase Days throughout the year is important to our program,” added Thompson. “With cards supported by competitive stakes, allowances, and overnight races combined with the lucrative incentives on offer, these Showcase Days demonstrate why more people are looking to own and get involved in the New York-bred program.”
August Dawn Farm’s Maple Leaf Mel kicked off the stakes action over a sloppy and sealed main track in Race 1 with a 3 1/2-length score in the $200,000 Seeking the Ante, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies.
Trained by Jeremiah Englehart and piloted by Joel Rosario, the Cross Traffic grey attended the pace through a half-mile in 45.42 seconds with Lady Mine tracking in second and Miracle rallying into contention in third. Lady Mine threatened at the top of the lane, but Maple Leaf Mel found another gear and drew off to a comfortable score in 1:18.07. Lady Mine completed the exacta by 2 1/4 lengths over Miracle with Les Bon Temps and Song Parody rounding out the order of finish. The victory provided Englehart a record-extending third Seeking the Ante score following wins by Party Like Grandma  and Samborella .
Bred by Joe Fafone, Maple Leaf Mel, a debut maiden winner on August 10 here, was purchased for $150,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. She returned $3.20 for a $2 win bet.
Bossmakinbossmoves, trained and co-owned by Rick Schosberg with Clear Stars Stable and Mitre Box Stable, hopped at the start under leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. before rallying from last-of-4 to capture the featured nine-furlong $250,000 Albany for sophomores in Race 3.
Montebello set splits of 24.06 and 48.34 under pressure from multiple stakes winner Barese with 7-5 mutuel favorite Price Discipline stalking from third. Bossmakinbossmoves advanced to the inside of Price Discipline through the final turn before angling outside the frontrunners and drawing off to a three-length score in a final time of 1:51.29. Barese completed the exacta by 1 1/4-lengths over Montebello with Price Discipline completing the order of finish. Relate was scratched.
Purchased for $75,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, he finished sixth in the Gander in February at Aqueduct Racetrack in his only previous stakes start.
The most experienced horse in the field, the Laoban bay, bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and Spruce Lane Farm, improved his record to 12-2-3-1 for purse earnings of $237,600. He paid $15 as the 6-1 longest shot on the board.
Alifyfe Racing’s undefeated Fingal’s Cave kept her perfect record intact with an off-the-pace triumph in Race 5, the $200,000 Fleet Indian for sophomore fillies traveling nine furlongs over the main track.
Trained by Dave Donk and guided to victory by Ortiz, Fingal’s Cave broke sharply from post 2 and was quickly challenged to her inside by Let Her Inspire U, who took command to lead the compact field of five through an opening quarter-mile in 24.19 over a main track upgraded to muddy and sealed for the remainder of the card.
Fingal’s Cave tracked closely in second just to her outside down the backstretch and through a half-mile in 48.15 before coming under urging from Ortiz approaching the turn. A stubborn Let Her Inspire U dug in gamely along the rail through the turn and into the stretch after three-quarters in 1:12.34, but eventually gave in to Fingal’s Cave past the sixteenth pole. Fingal’s Cave crossed the wire a half-length the best in a final time of 1:51.59. Venti Valentine, the reigning New York-bred Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, finished another 4 3/4 lengths back in third with Shesascoldasice and Galaxina completing the order of finish.
Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Fingal’s Cave, a bay daughter of Carpe Diem, returned $3.60 for a $2 win wager and extended her perfect record to 4-for-4. She was purchased for $75,000 from the Sequel Bloodstock consignment at last year’s OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale and has now amassed $258,500 in earnings.
Mr. Amore Stables’ homebred Andiamo a Firenze came home much the best over five rivals in Race 7, the $200,000 Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for juveniles.
A son of Speightstown and a three-quarter sibling to Mr. Amore Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Firenze Fire, Andiamo a Firenze broke the best from post 5 under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and allowed I’m Wide Awake and Belt Parkway to vie for the lead to his inside through a quarter-mile in 21.29 seconds.
With Belt Parkway dropping back in the turn after a half-mile in a sharp 44.84, Andiamo a Firenze menaced to the outside and made up ground with every stride, taking command at the top of the lane and sprinting clear to a dominating 5 1/2-length score in a final time of 1:18.72. The late-running Donegal Surges held place honors 3 1/4 lengths the better of Acoustic Ave with General Banker, Belt Parkway and I’m Wide Awake completing the order of finish.
Breen said Andiamo a Firenze could follow in his brother’s footsteps and make his next start in the one-mile Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on October 1 at the Belmont at the Big A Fall Meet offering a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Firenze Fire captured the 2017 Champagne.
Andiamo a Firenze, who picked up a graded placing when third in the Grade 3 Sanford last out on July 16 at the Spa, is now 2-for-3 lifetime with $172,250 in earnings. He paid $3.30.
Gary Barber’s Make Mischief was set to make her turf debut but settled for a sparkling score in the off-the-turf $200,000 Yaddo Handicap for fillies and mares 3 years old and up which was contested at one mile out of the Wilson Chute in Race 8.
Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse and piloted by Dylan Davis, the 4-year-old Into Mischief bay tracked from second as Wasp, who broke outward from the outermost post 5, set splits of 24.63 and 47.50 with Ice Princess in third.
The multiple graded stakes placed Make Mischief advanced outside the pacesetter late in the turn and drew off to an 8 1/2-length score in a final time of 1:37.63. Ice Princess rallied to complete the exacta with Wasp, War Canoe and Dancingwthdaffodls completing the order of finish. Mischievous Dream, Runaway Rumour, Marvelous Maude, Pure Bode, Classic Colors, Classic Lady and Finest Work were scratched.
The $285,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale purchase improved her record to 20-7-4-4. Bred by Avanti Stable, the reigning Champion New York-bred 3-Year-Old Filly returned $3.20.
The veteran Somelikeithotbrown was an easy winner in Race 10, the $200,000 West Point Handicap presented by Trustco Bank. The one-mile main track test, which was originally slated for 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf, closed out stakes action on the card.
Owned by Skychai Racing and David Koenig and trained by Mike Maker, Somelikeithotbrown stalked and pounced from just off the pace set by Jerry the Nipper to earn his seventh stakes triumph. The son of Big Brown emerged from post 2 with Ortiz in the irons and sat a half-length back from Jerry the Nipper through an opening quarter-mile in 24.40 seconds and a half in 48.04 before putting his head in front rounding the final turn.
Post-time favorite and main-track only entrant Bankit, the reigning New York-bred Champion Older Dirt Male, rallied from last-of-3 to put in a bid to the outside of Somelikeithotbrown at the top of the lane, but could not make up enough ground and settled for second. Somelikeithotbrown drew away to a strong six-length victory in a final time of 1:37.68. Jerry the Nipper finished 4 1/2 lengths back of Bankit for third. Therapist, Sanctuary City, City Man, Lord Flintshire, Cross Border, Action Jackson and Ocala Dream were scratched.
Bred by Hot Pink Stable and Sand Dollar Stable, the multiple graded stakes-winning Somelikeithotbrown returned $7.60 for a $2 win wager. He improved his record to 27-9-6-4 with earnings of $1,316,248.
NYRA Press Office
Main photo: Jose Ortiz wins the Fleet Indian Stakes aboard undefeated Fingal’s Cave (Janet Garaguso)