SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Brian Lynch said last week that he was excited to see if Tobys Heart could build on her impressive debut win in June at Churchill Downs when she stepped up to face stakes company. She rewarded that optimism on Wednesday, running down pacesetter Joy’s Rocket in deep stretch to post a 1 1/4-length victory in the $85,000 Bolton Landing for juvenile fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Terry Hamilton and Lynch, Tobys Heart was a 6 ¾-length victor going 5 ½ furlongs over firm turf on June 4 in Kentucky. Kept at the same distance, the Jack Milton filly broke slow and cruised under jockey Jose Ortiz through the early going, tracking in sixth position as Joy’s Rocket led the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 22.21 seconds on the Saratoga Mellon turf course labeled good after earlier rainfall.
Approaching the turn, Ortiz angled Tobys Heart out, gaining ground into the stretch as the half-mile went in 45.51 according to Equibase. Tobys Heart picked off rivals to her inside before dueling Joy’s Rocket in the final furlong, gaining command nearing the final sixteenth and pressed on, hitting the wire in 1:02.31.
“I tried to ride her pretty much like she ran first time out. She broke a bit slow that day and she didn’t break any faster today,” Ortiz said. “She broke a little slow out of the gate, but I think it’s okay for her, she’s a come-from-behind sprinter.
“Sometimes with these kind of horses on the turf, you would rather break a little slow. I was good with the way she broke today,” he continued. “I thought it was perfect. I just sat and rode her like the best horse.”
Off as the 1-2 favorite, Tobys Heart returned $3.10 on a $2 win wager. A $45,000 purchase in March at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale, she nearly doubled her career earnings to $83,650.
“She relaxed well for a short period of an eighth of a mile,” Ortiz said. “After an eighth of a mile she gave me her head and I was able to do whatever I wanted. I was very comfortable. At the three-eighths pole when I was ready to move, she was there for me. She was much the best today.
“She showed that she was a really nice horse first time out,” Ortiz added. “We knew she was this good. I was just happy that I got to ride her and that Brian gave me the opportunity. We go way back to [multiple Grade 1 winner] Oscar Performance.”
Joy’s Rocket, who entered 2-for-2 with a win in the 5 1/2 -furlong My Dear over Woodbine’s all-weather track on August 1, finished 2 1/4 lengths clear of Amanzi Yimpilo for second for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen in her turf debut.
“It was her first time out here and she was looking at the TV [down the stretch], but she still ran hard,” said Joy’s Rocket jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. “It was a good effort.”
Mischievous Dream, Quinoa Tifah, Sweet Souper Sweet, Hara and Sassy Hannah completed the order of finish. Main-track only entrants Sunny Isle Beach and Stylish Rags scratched.
2020 Bolton Landing Replay
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NYRA Press Release
Photo: Tobys Heart. Credit: Adam Coglianese/NYRA Photo