SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Chad Brown saddled a pair of winners Saturday at the Spa with Viadera scoring in the Grade 2, $400,000 Ballston Spa and Jack Christopher impressing on debut to extend the four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer’s meet-leading win total to 32 [eight more than Mike Maker and Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher] heading into Day 34 of the 40-day summer meet.
Juddmonte homebred Viadera, a 5-year-old daughter of Bated Breath, was one of three entrants in the six-horse field along with pacesetter Tamahere [4th] and Kalifornia Queen [3rd].
Tamahere set strong splits of 22.60 seconds, 47.55 and 1:12.12 on the firm inner turf as Viadera saved ground in third under Joel Rosario. Viadera advanced up the rail through the final turn and angled out in the stretch run to reel in her stablemate and hold off the late charge of High Opinion.
Viadera, who capped her 2020 with a first Grade 1 score in the Matriarch at Del Mar, entered Saturday’s test from a troubled fourth in the De La Rose on August 8 at the Spa.
“She had so much trouble in her first start of the year here and I was proud of her to come back on short rest and still get it done,” Brown said.
Viadera is likely target the Grade 1, $400,000 First Lady on October 9 at Keeneland.
Jim Bakker and Gerald Isbister’s Jack Christopher earned a 92 Beyer for his winning debut in a six-furlong maiden special weight for juveniles, powering to an 8 3/4-length score as the even-money favorite.
The Munnings chestnut, a $135,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, exited post 5 in the seven-horse field under Jose Ortiz and settled in second position before taking command.
“I was very pleased. The word was out. He had worked well and he ran to his works, which is always a relief for a trainer,” Brown said.
Brown said Jack Christopher will point to the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on October 2 at Belmont, a one-turn mile offering a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Del Mar.
Brown saddled Royal Flag and Dunbar Road to respective third and fourth-place finishes Saturday in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti.
Royal Flag, a 5-year-old Candy Ride chestnut, entered from a score in the Grade 3 Shuvee on July 25 at the Spa, while Dunbar Road, a 5-year-old Quality Road bay, was looking to secure her first win since taking the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap last July.
While multiple Grade 1-winner Letruska won the nine-furlong test gate-to-wire, Royal Flag closed willingly to complete the trifecta, a head in front of Dunbar Road, who was forced in at the start under Flavien Prat and had to rally six-wide down the lane.
“Dunbar Road had a bit of an unfortunate trip as she fell a little far out of it after missing the break and went quite wide,” Brown said. “Royal Flag had her normal trip that worked out just fine. I was proud of both of their efforts. A really great filly won the race.”
Peter Brant and Robert V. LaPenta’s Miles D, a sophomore son of Curlin, garnered a career-best 100 Beyer for his third-place effort in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers. The lightly-race Curlin chestnut, a $470,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, graduated at second asking in June at Belmont and followed with a strong runner-up effort to Dynamic One in the nine-furlong Curlin on July 30 at the Spa.
Brown said he was pleased with the effort.
“He’s only run four times and he might be a little bit better at a mile and an eighth,” Brown said.
Brown also confirmed Klaravich Stables’ Technical Analysis, last-out winner of the Grade 2 Lake Placid on August 21, will point to the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 15 at Keeneland.
Ballston Spa Replay
Photo: Viadera winning the Ballston Spa. (NYRA/Coglianese)