Favored Prince Arch overcame a bump with Good Reward in upper stretch to rally for a resolute victory by a head over Mustanfar in the closing-day $108,200 Saranac Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds Monday at Saratoga Race Course.
Prince Arch, ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Ken McPeek, was barely up in time, completing the 1 3/16-mile journey in 1:53 4/5 on a firm course. Catch the Glory was 2 1/4 lengths behind in third, followed by Good Reward.
Mustanfar, with Cornelio Velasquez in the irons, had grabbed the lead from pacesetting Catch the Glory near the eighth pole and just failed to last after drawing away in deep stretch. Prince Arch proved to be too much as the slight 2-1 choice over the runner-up in the field of six.
"I had a lot of horse and waited to the top of the stretch to make our move," said Castellano, who won his fourth race on the card. "When he responded, he took off and finished strong."
Prince Arch, reserved early in last, made a four-wide move coming off the turn when he was involved in an altercation with Good Reward, who came out in upper stretch but lacked much of a rally.
Catch the Glory enjoyed a lonely lead – three lengths in front after a half-mile – while setting a moderate clip of :24 1/5, :48 2/5 and 1:12 3/5.
Prince Arch's fifth win in 13 career starts was worth $64,920 to owner Raymond H. Cottrell Sr., pushing his overall earnings to $419,186. A bay colt by Arch
–Princess Kris (Kris), he was a $37,000 Keeneland September yearling sale.
"I was a little bit worried because it is a short stretch and I didn't know if there was enough room to get the leader," Cottrell said. "I didn't think he was going to catch him."
Prince Arch recorded his second graded stakes. He took the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs on yielding turf in similar late-running fashion by ahead over division leader Kitten's Joy June 12. He was third in his last start, the 1 1/4-mile Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) July 10, 7 1/2 lengths behind Kitten's Joy.
The winner paid $6.10, $2.90 and $2.60. Mustanfar, who won the Lexington (gr. IIIT) at Belmont on disqualification earlier this summer, returned $3.10 and $2.80. Catch the Glory's show was $4.20.
Grand Heritage and Dynamite Flyer trailed.