Front-running favorite Lady Cohiba outlasted the closing White Rose to win the $150,000 Glens Falls Stakes (VIDEO), which was taken off the inner turf and contested on a muddy main track on closing day at Saratoga Race Course Sept. 2.
Inclement weather took its toll on the race for fillies and mares as six of the eight original entrants were scratched. Live Oak Plantation's Lady Cohiba, sent off as the the 3-2 pick, was one of five entered for the main track.
The Glens Falls may lose its original grade III status pending a final review by the American Graded Stakes Committee. The race, scheduled for 1 3/8 miles, was reduced in length to 1 1/8 miles.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Lady Cohiba was timed in 1:50.86 on a sealed track while prevailing by half a length. The 4-year-old daughter of Broken Vow earned her first win since taking the restricted Summer Guest Stakes more than a year ago at Saratoga.
Third in the Alada Stakes Aug. 9 on the track, she was making her second start after an eight-month layoff that followed her fourth-place effort in the Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) last November at Aqueduct Racetrack.
A $240,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2010, Lady Cohiba is out of the stakes-winning Cat Thief mare Cohiba Miss. The chestnut filly was bred in Kentucky by Mike Rutherford.
Lady Cohiba enjoyed a clean trip under trying conditions with Junior Alvarado at the helm, clipping off quarter-mile fractions of :23.75, :47.73 and 1:12.27, with Greed and Fear glued to her flanks. Lady Cohiba was coaxed along leaving the three-eighths pole and began to edge away rounding the final turn as Geisha Gal and Scampering ranged into contention.
White Rose, progressing along the inside for John Velazquez after trailing for the first half-mile, angled to the outside of Lady Cohiba, who had opened up a two-length advantage mid-stretch. White Rose was making good ground in the closing strides as Lady Cohiba reached the wire under strong hand urging from Alvarado.
"She broke very good, and I let her get comfortable," Alvarado said. "She was on the lead, doing it really nice. By the three-eighths pole, I was pretty confident. I knew I was going to have a lot left. Turning for home, when I asked her, she really gave me a nice kick at the end."
White Rose was 2 1/2 lengths clear of third-place Scampering, with Geisha Gal fourth in the field of seven.
Lady Cohiba, who has two wins from three starts on off tracks, improved her career mark to 4-2-2 in 11 races with earnings of $288,525.
Clement said Alvarado rode Lady Cohiba perfectly. "He never rushed her; he let her run her own race," he said. "She was very comfortable in front."
Clement said he had no immediate plans for the winner.
Carrying co-high weight of 121 pounds, she paid $5, $2.90, and $2.20. White Rose, in her stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, returned $4.70 and $3.10 and was part of a $28 exacta. Stuart Janney III's Scampering, with Javier Castellano aboard for trainer Shug McGaughey, paid $3 to show.
Geisha Gal was followed by Malibu Holiday and Greed and Fear. Cash for Clunkers, trailing out of the far turn, was eased in the stretch. Scratched were Strathnaver, Angel Terrace, Mystical Star, Minakshi, Tannery, Swift Taylor, Anjaz, and Layali Dubai.