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Monday, July 30
Victory Ride passes Test




SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The disappointment trainer Rusty Arnold felt after Victory Ride lost last month's Acorn was transformed into delight Saturday afternoon at Saratoga as Victory Ride rebounded to win the $250,000 Grade 1 Test Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths over Xtra Heat.

Test Stakes
Victory Ride (left) ridden by Edgar Prado, cruises to win the Test Stakes.
It was another three lengths back to Nasty Storm, who lost all chance at the start when she jumped in the air and broke several lengths behind the field. Kimbralata, Carafe, Forest Secrets, Harmony Lodge, and Secret Liaison completed the order of finish.

For Arnold, the Test was a culmination of a seven-week plan he and owner G. Watts Humphrey hatched after Victory Ride lost the Acorn by a neck to Forest Secrets. Instead of running Victory Ride in the Grade 1 Mother Goose at nine furlongs, Arnold opted to train her up to the Test.

"There's a lot gratification with her," Arnold said. "`We bought her as a yearling [for $475,000], we had her in the barn the whole time, we saw her develop, we went through her

2-year-old problems together. She had a lot of talent. I thought it was going to happen in the Acorn and it didn't, and this makes it even more satisfying. It justifies what I thought of her that day."

Edgar Prado couldn't have worked out a better trip. Xtra Heat, the super sprinter who had won 14 of 16 lifetime starts, and Harmony Lodge dueled through suicidal fractions of 21.51 seconds and 44 for the opening half-mile.

Prado had Victory Ride in fourth position down the backside and sent her after the leaders around the turn. Xtra Heat put away Harmony Lodge, but could not fend off Victory Ride, who covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.72 and returned $4.80 as the favorite.

"I knew they were flying up front," Prado said. "Even though we were behind turning for home, I was very confident we would get by Xtra Heat."

For Xtra Heat, it was just her third loss in 17 career starts and second defeat in a sprint. She ran a strong race to be second considering the fast fractions and that she was conceding seven pounds to Victory Ride.

"Jerry [Bailey] was sending his filly on the outside and I couldn't get her to relax off of him," said Rick Wilson, jockey of Xtra Heat, "Every time he was smooching at his horse [Xtra Heat] would take off. I had some horse left when Edgar first came to me at the eighth pole and she gave it to me, but those fast fractions and the weight got to her."

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