Overbrook Farm's homebred Jump Start, the 8-5 favorite in the Saratoga Special (gr. II), ran down a tiring Heavyweight Champ in the final 100 yards to win the $150,000 race by three-quarters of a length. It was 5 1/2-lengths back to third-place finisher Booklet. With the scratch of Peekskill, six 2-year-olds went postward in the 99th running of the Special.
Jump Start, who reared while in the gate prior to the start, broke clean from post 6 under Pat Day and was content to sit off quick fractions while traveling well off the rail. Heavyweight Champ broke sharpest of all from post 2 and took the early advantage, setting quick fractions of :21.40 and :44.52 for the 6 1/2-furlong race.
Heavyweight Champ, a $675,000 sale 2-year-old trained by John Terranova, was stalked throughout in the early stages by Booklet, who had little left when they straightened way in the lane.
Heavyweight Champ, a Maryland-bred son of Two Punch, pulled clear of his rivals in early stretch under Richard Migliore, but Jump Start was still in contention after traveling wide around the turn and entering the lane near the center of the track. Day went to work left-handed on the son of A.P. Indy even as Jump Start was bearing in to his left. After six furlongs in 1:10.44, it was apparent Heavyweight Champ's legs were getting weary. Day and Jump Start cruised past the tiring leader to stop the timer in 1:17.35.
"He had to work at it, but he still got it done," said Day. "He hadn't been out for a while (June 23rd), and with all things considered, it was a big effort. He's got a good mind. He's not zealous or overly aggressive. He's got a world of class and he does what you ask him to do."
Out of the Storm Cat mare Steady Cat, the Kentucky-bred Jump Start broke his maiden at first asking at Churchill Downs on June 23 prior to his start in the Special. He trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
"I really think a lot of this horse. He's got great qualities," said Lukas. "He's got looks, pedigree and a lot going for him. I wanted him to win, obviously, but not at all costs. He hadn't been out of the gate in about five or six weeks. I kicked him out two or three days ago, and that probably put him on edge a little bit. I think he has a beautiful mind. He handles things in the paddock well and he's great in the post parade. I think this one could take us to the Promised Land."
Jump Start paid $5.10 as the favorite and topped a $17.60 exacta with 5-2 co-second choice Heavyweight Champ. Lunar Bounty, also sent off at 5-2 never threatened.
"The Belmont races are going to fit him," said Lukas. "His pedigree says he's going to go longer. I think he needed this. If he comes back, bouncing and springing around, we'll consider the Hopeful (gr. I)." (Chart, Equibase