SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Klaravich Stables’ Technical Analysis made every pole a winning one in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Ballston Spa, a 1 1/16-mile Mellon turf test for older fillies and mares, to kick off the stakes action on Runhappy Travers Day at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Chad Brown and expertly handled by Jose Ortiz, Technical Analysis broke alertly from the outermost post 5 and led through splits of 24.47 seconds and 48.92 over the good going with Our Flash Drive, recent winner of the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose here, pressing from second under Dylan Davis.
Our Flash Drive advanced with purpose into the final turn but Technical Analysis easily drew away from her rival, opening up by three lengths at the stretch call as her Irad Ortiz, Jr. piloted-stablemate Fluffy Socks, who hopped at the start, launched her bid from the back of the pack.
Fluffy Socks cut the corner, angling to the inside of the Brown-trained Lemista, and made significant headway down the lane, but Technical Analysis staved off the valiant bid to notch a half-length win in a final time of 1:42.90. Fluffy Socks completed the exacta by seven lengths over High Opinion with Lemista and Our Flash Drive rounding out the order of finish.
The victory marked a record-extending seventh Ballston Spa score for Brown following past success with Zagora , Dacita , Lady Eli , Quidura , Significant Form  and Viadera a year ago.
“Clearly, Technical Analysis was able to carve out fractions that were comfortable and I knew she’d be pretty tough down the lane, but Fluffy Socks was really sitting on a good race,” Brown said. “She’s been so consistent. When she tipped out and Irad was coming down the lane, I thought it’d be pretty close based on the way she was training.”
Ortiz, who won the Ballston Spa previously with Abaco  and Quidura, said he rode his filly with confidence.
“She was very nervous prior to the race, so I tried to keep her quiet in the post parade and she broke good, put me there and handled the soft going nicely,” Ortiz said. “She gave me a great run home, but the other filly was coming, too.”
Technical Analysis won 3-of-5 starts last year led by scores at Saratoga in the Grade 3 Lake George and Grade 2 Lake Placid. She captured the Grade 3 Gallorette in May at Pimlico ahead of her runner-up effort last out on July 16 to stablemate In Italian in the Grade 1 Diana at the Spa.
“I think she likes everywhere,” said Ortiz, the pilot for all six of the filly’s wins. “She’s won at Pimlico, she’s won at Aqueduct. I think she’s just good. I think the tight turns, she’s a small filly, maybe she handles the tight turns nicely and she accelerates on them. It’s very hard for horses to accelerate on these kind of turns and she’s able to do it.”
Seth Klarman, proprietor of Klaravich Stables, said the $258,109 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale purchase enjoys the Saratoga turf over which she boasts a perfect in-the-money record.
“She loves it here. She ran well in the Diana, too,” Klarman said. “She really has two dimensions, she doesn’t have to go right to the lead. So, we were happy she caught a pretty paceless field. She likes it a little bit soft. It was a good set up for her.
“I think we saw a potential opportunity that some of the better turf sires are there [in Europe] and not here,” he added, regarding the overseas purchase. “That’s based on the whole breeding demand, and we don’t have as many good turf sires here as they do in Europe. Chad saw a window and I think a lot of others have copied him, so it’s getting a little more competitive. We’ve done particularly well with that and we don’t change what’s working.”
Brown said Technical Analysis could make her next start in the one-mile Grade 1 First Lady on October 8 at Keeneland.
“It’s going to be tricky now. The distances are going to change and we’re either going to have to cut her back or move her forward,” Brown said. “The First Lady at Keeneland cutting back to a mile would be an obvious spot for Technical Analysis. With Fluffy Socks, I’d like to venture out a little further if we can. We’ll see what’s available.”
The ultra-consistent Fluffy Socks has hit the board in 5-of-6 starts, including today’s runner-up effort, since last winning in the Grade 2 Sands Point in October at Belmont Park.
“It was a perfect trip,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “She’s always been a nice horse and is always there. She’s a nice filly. There’s a little give [in the turf], not much, but it’s good. Some horses like that and some don’t.”
Bred in Ireland by Rabbah Bloodstock, Technical Analysis banked $220,000 in victory while improving her record to 11-6-3-1. She returned $2.70 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Saratoga with a 10-race card featuring the $135,000 Better Talk Now in Race 8 and the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina Handicap, offering a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, in Race 9. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
By Keith McCalmont
Main Photo by Joe Labozzetta