Saratoga Blues stalked pacesetter Flo's Bo through the early going before driving clear in the stretch to win the $82,525 Whirlaway Stakes by two lengths on Saturday at Aqueduct.
The Anthony Dutrow-trained 3-year-old son of Twining made a successful debut in stakes competition and remained undefeated in three career starts. D'Coach was second in the field of seven 3-year-olds but was dropped to third following a stewards' inquiry into the stretch run. Smoked Em, the original third-place finisher, was moved up to second. European import Goshin's Lad finished fourth, followed by Flo's Bo, More Specific, and Storm Commander.
"I didn't know how well he would be able to settle, but we were well prepared to see him sit behind horses today," said Dutrow. "Mario (Pino, the winning jockey) said he relaxed very well and when he called on him, he was there."
Saratoga Blues, assigned 118 pounds, covered 1 1/16 miles on the fast track in 1:44.93 to earn $49,515 for Alvin Akman.
Saratoga Blues paid $5.80, $4.10, and $2.20, while Smoked Em paid $4.40 and $2.30. D'Coach was worth $2.10 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $17.40.
Dutrow was optimistic about Saratoga Blues' future following the victory.
"I'm very happy with what happened today," the conditioner said. "I think that if you're going to have a decent horse, he has to be able to do what he did today without a lot of seasoning. I'll try and find something that fits him realistically. I'm not looking to take on the world, but I hope it ends up that way someday. I think he's a two-turn horse, and I want to keep him around two turns. We'll look at the Louisiana Derby (gr. II, March 10). We've tried to have a fresh horse and we've got one. There is so much opportunity out there."
Saratoga Blues is out of the Manila mare Time for a Wedding and sold for $7,500 as a yearling and $30,000 as a 2-year-old. He has earned $90,165 thus far in his career. David Garvin bred the winner in Kentucky.
Dutrow has sent out 13 horses during Aqueduct's inner-track meet, winning seven with three seconds and two thirds. (Chart, Equibase