Javier Castellano, waiting for room aboard favored I Spent It in the stretch, squeezed through on the rail at the furlong mark and cleared off to win the $200,000 Toyota Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) in smashing style Aug. 10 at Saratoga Race Course.
An adventurous trip for the 5-2 choice in a field of 10 juveniles ended happily with a 2 3/4-length tally for I Spent It. Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's Super Saver colt slipped at the start, chasing the leaders on an extremely fast clip, then altered course to the inside when lacking room coming into the stretch. With much traffic to his outside, Castellano waited patiently for room to open up.
It finally did, as tiring pacesetter Nonna's Boy drifted off the rail just enough to give I Spent It and Castellano an opportunity. I Spent It showed no hesitation, scraping paint coming to the eighth pole and poking his neck in front, then accelerating smartly to win going away.
I Spent It completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.79 on a fast track to handily defeat second choice Mr. Z.
"There was nowhere to go," said Castellano, noting that the rail "was the only way he had, so I took a shot.
"The way he did it was brilliant. It was an impressive run; I think he's the real deal. He's a young horse and he's never been here before. And driving him home, he went just through and opened up. Not a lot of horses can do that."
Now 2-for-2 in his career after a debut maiden win July 2 at Belmont Park, I Spent is living up to the potential trainer Tony Dutrow has felt ever since the bay colt began training.
"His second career start, so impressive," Dutrow said. "You've got to be a good horse to do that. Bad horses can't do that. And he's always led all of us to believe—especially since his last race—we really thought we were going to see something like this today.
"Obviously, you look at him right there, and he's sitting, sitting, waiting his turn. He tries to get out a couple of paths, and there's nothing there, so he stays where he's at. He needs somewhere to go, he's waiting, waiting, and when there's a little hole there, he goes for it like he's done it a million times. And he hadn't. I watched him gallop out, and it was good."
I Spent It was a $600,000 purchase by the Lieblongs at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale in March from consignor Eddie Woods, agent. Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms, I Spent It is out of the winning Sky Mesa mare Rateeba. He became the first winner for WinStar Farm freshman sire Super Saver, winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in his debut and now become's the stallion's first graded stakes winner.
I Spent It showed an impressive late kick in his debut going five furlongs and matched it in his return Sunday.
"I don't want to trade places with anybody," Dutrow said, looking ahead to a possible start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). "It's one step at a time, but, so far, so good. Obviously there's been no conversation about it, but I'm hoping to wait for the Champagne (gr. I), but that's not my decision to make."
The one-mile Champagne, worth $500,000, is at Belmont Park Oct. 4.
I Spent It earned a $100,000 bonus form the New York Racing Association after graduating at Belmont and winning a graded stakes race at Saratoga, making the victory worth $220,000 to his connections. He has now banked $265,000.
Nonna's Boy, one of many promising colts in the Saratoga Special field, quickly established command while pushed along by Cinco Charlie through hot opening quarter mile fractions of :21.67 and :44.67.
I Spent It, after getting through on the inside of Nonna's Boy, looked like he would get a challenge from the fast-closing Mr. Z, who was squeezed at the start and came running through the lane while fanning five paths wide. But Mr. Z, ridden by Corey Lanerie, could not match strides with I Spent It while finishing five lengths clear of the show horse, W V Jetsetter, with Joel Rosario riding.
Carrying 118 pounds, I Spent It paid $7.80, $4.50, and $3.10. Zayat Stables' Mr. Z, a troubled second in the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) July 19, settled for second again for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, returning $4.30 and $2.90. The exacta came back $31. W V Jetsetter, carrying top weight of 122 pounds off a stakes win at Lone Star Park one month ago, paid $5.30.
Cleveland Sound was nosed for third. He was followed by Cinco Charlie, Stanford, Nonna's Boy, Majestic Affair, Rod McLeod, and Lord Tyrion. Tizcano was a veterinarian's scratch.