Last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale topper, a Seattle Slew colt named Distinction purchased for $4.2 million by Californian David Shimmon, was soundly beaten in his second career start, a six-furlong maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds at Saratoga on Thursday. The winner of the race was first-time starter Coach Knight, an Anthony Dutrow-trained son of Editor's Note who was a $75,000 purchase at an Ocala Breeders' Sales Company 2-year-old sale this March.
Distinction broke from the rail post under Jerry Bailey and quickly took an early lead, setting fractions of :22.36 for the opening quarter-mile and :45.98 for the half. The colt then began to shorten strides in the stretch and was overtaken by the late-running Coach Knight and jockey Mark Guidry. Time of the race was 1:11.40 on a fast track. Yoga, a Dallas Stewart-trained son of Mt. Livermore, broke slowly and rallied strongly to finish second, with the Nick Zito-trained Gulch colt, Mighty Gulch, third. Distinction, beaten more than 15 lengths, finished ahead of just one horse in the field of eight. The Scott Lake-trained Thunderello was scratched in the post parade after throwing his jockey and running off.
Distinction, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, made his career debut at Hollywood Park on June 16, finishing fifth as the odds-on favorite. He was the 13-10 favorite Thursday. Ironically, Lukas is a close friend of Bobby Knight, the apparent namesake of Thursday's maiden race winner. He also trained Editor's Note, the sire of Coach Knight, who is the third winner from the son of Forty Niner's first crop. Coach Knight was bred in Kentucky by Farnsworth Farms.