SARATOGA SPECIAL STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 2 | 6 1/2 FURLONGS
Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawrence's Spurious Precision took full advantage of Shanghai Bobby's withdrawal from Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes to wire the 6 1/2-furlong contest under jockey Alan Garcia by five lengths.
The duo set splits of :21 1/5, :44 and 1:09 3/5, all the while pressed by Southern Honor and Drum Roll to their outside. Southern Honor faded rounding the turn, and Drum Roll soon followed, but Spurious Precision kept motoring in the lane to stop the clock in 1:16 2/5 over Saratoga's fast main track. The High Cotton juvenile was five lengths clear of the closing 26-1 longshot He's So Fine on the wire to return $3.50, $2.70 and $2.10 as the 3-4 favorite.
"I had a great trip. He broke good," Garcia said. "He broke sharp and he was in the game, so after that he was going along very strong. [Trainer Richard Violette Jr.] said if he breaks, leave him alone because the speed is holding very well. When he broke very sharp, I said, 'I don't want to take anything easy, so let's go on. If he's good enough, he's going to beat this group,' and he showed it."
"He's the real deal," Violette asserted. "He put Alan in an impossible spot -- he beat the latch. He broke so good, it's not like you can take back at that point. There was serious pressure every jump of the way. Just watching horses come at him, and they did, he had a lot left.
"I don't think we have a horse that has to be on the lead; circumstances kind of dictated it today. I was hoping Tony Dutrow's horse [Southern Honor] was a :21 and :44 horse and he might break well and we could follow him around there. If we were second or third, that would have been ideal. He broke running, and you're not supposed to take away what you've been given.
"He's got a serious pump and he'll go a long way. I think two turns is well within his scope. He's obviously got plenty of tactical speed and he's a pretty good horse to have in the barn."
In Harm's Way got up to be third, sticking his head in front of Drum Roll on the wire. Southern Honor and Dan the Tin Man rounded out the field after Shanghai Bobby was scratched earlier in the day due to a fever.
"You know, the horse doesn't have a lot of lick early on, and it looked like there was plenty of speed in there," stated David Cohen, who piloted He's So Fine. "We really just wanted to make sure that we finished up well, no matter where we were at. Going into it, we were confident that he could handle the distance, and he showed that he could. He ran very good and ran very hard down the lane and stayed focused."
Spurious Precision ran his line to a perfect two-for-two following a 3 1/2-length debut score over the track on July 21. The dark bay colt's cut of the purse boosted his career earnings to $168,000, which may be enhanced even more when he runs in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on October 6 at Belmont Park.
"The plan is for him to wait for the Champagne and have him for a fall campaign," Violette confirmed.
Bred in Florida by Michael Chamberlain, Spurious Precision has already earned back his initial purchase price of $102,000 as an OBS Spring two-year-old training from earlier this year. He is out of the winning Scarlet Ibis mare Scarlet Combo, who is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed multiple stakes victress Volterra as well as stakes scorers Ennisbeg and Wolark.
Farther back in this female family one can find Federal Hill, a record-setting winner of the 1957 Louisiana Derby and 1956 Kentucky Jockey Club; 1966 Ashland Stakes heroine Justakiss; and Grade 2-placed stakes scorer Hillbizon.