Hobeau Farm's homebred Swap Fliparoo closed with a rush along the inside to defeat 12 rivals in the $250,000 Darley Test (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.
Ridden by Eibar Coa, the gray daughter of Exchange Rate
earned her first graded stakes win for trainer H. Allen Jerkens. Last down the backside, she rallied from far back in the field as the rail opened up in the stretch to win by two lengths over the pacesetting Original Spin on a tiring main track. The stalking Misty Rosette held on for third, another length back, while nosing out Capote's Crown. Swap Fliparoo, who won in a slow time of 1:24 for the seven furlongs on a track rated fast, was sent off at odds of nearly 6-1.
Swap Fliparoo has now won four times in 16 tries with earnings of $398,858.
"She's really a nice filly; now, she's got a grade one," said Jerkens, who won his third Test. "I trained her grandmother, and she wasn't very much. I trained the mother (Fliparoo), she didn't run very much. I was a little worried about her up here with the heat.
"We might run her in the fall a little farther," Jerkens added. "I think a mile and a quarter could be a little much for her."
Jerkens' previous winners were November Snow (1992) and Society Selection (2004).
Favored Ready to Please (last) and second choice Hello Liberty (eighth) were not factors. As a result, the exotic payoffs were tremendous. The $2 exacta returned $572, the $2 trifecta was $17,145, and the $1 superfecta was worth $48,023.
Original Spin, ridden by Fernado Jara, outfought Diplomat Lady and Misty Rosette for the early lead, and set fast fractions of :22 and :44 3/5 while pressed to the turn. She got away from the field in the stretch as Diplomat Lady checked out and Misty Rosette lost ground. Original Spin was visibly tired with a furlong to go but only Swap Fliparoo, under urging from Coa, could make up any significant ground. She took the lead with a sixteenth to go and drew away in the final strides under a hand ride.
"I never panicked," said Coa of being so far back early. "I saved ground, thinking I was going to swing out at some time. But the rail was open, so I just stayed there and everything worked out beautifully."
"Turning for home, I thought we might have it, but she got a little tired," Jara said of Original Spin, the longest shot on the board at 34-1. "She ran a great race, but just couldn't hold off the winner."
Swap Fliparoo benefited from the extra furlong Saturday. She was coming off a fast closing second-place finish, one-half length behind Behaving Badly in the six-furlong Genuine Risk Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park July 3. She won for the second time in three starts at seven panels and also picked up her second win in three tries at Saratoga, where she broke her maiden last summer.
The Florida-bred Swap Fliparoo, out of the Buckaroo mare Fliparoo, paid $13.80, $8.80, and $7 as the third choice in the large field. Original Spin returned $30 and $17.20. Misty Rosette was $14.20 to show.
After Capote's Crown, the order of finish was Livermore Valley, Any Limit, Win McCool, Hello Liberty, Wild Gams, Joint Effort, Diplomat Lady, Sabatini and Ready to Please.
"I had a perfect trip, but when I asked her to run, she just didn't have anything," said John Velazquez, who rode the 3-1 choice Ready to Please.
Wild Fit and Ex Caelis scratched.