Who said size doesn't matter?
All you had to do is go to the paddock for The Saratoga Special and see that size matters most. It looked like the two mammoths and the four runts as the six 2-year-olds walked out of the paddock for the Grade II stakes. Heavyweight Champ and Jump Start dwarfed the other four babies in the paddock and, most importantly, in the race.
Jump Start ran down Heavyweight Champ in the final yards to take the $150,000 stakes by 3/4 length for Overbrook Farm, D. Wayne Lukas and Pat Day.
As Lukas said to Jan Rushton as the horses were galloping back, "It wasn't too artistic but he got the job done."
Heavyweight Champ could have taken the art out of Picasso with his game attempt at the wire job. The son of Two Punch had them all scrambling but couldn't hold off the winner who had to dig down deep to get the win.
The six 2-year-olds broke in a line and Heavyweight Champ opened a quick lead while Jump Start was outrun for the first furlong. Around the turn, Heavyweight Champ led while Jump Start looked lost, three wide, with Day smacking him left handed. The son of A.P. Indy fell off the turn and still had tons to do on Heavyweight Champ. At the eighth pole, Heavyweight Champ still looked home free but the fractions (21.57, 44.52) caught up to him and Jump Start steadily wore him down. Booklet finished third. The final time was 1:17.35.
And Jump Start wasn't through. He galloped right on past the finish line after the race with Day tugging on the left rein. The ring bit was used to its fullest. The horse is one stout 2-year-old with jowls as big as picnic platters. He easily won his debut at Churchill Downs on June 23 and looks like he's on his way to bigger things.
"I really think a lot of this horse. He has great quality. He's got looks and pedigree," Lukas said. "He's got a lot going for him. He has a beautiful mind. We're pretty optimistic. I think this one could take us to the promised land."
Day was equally impressed.
"I really liked him. It was a hard fought race today, he hadn't been out in a while. He was a bit sluggish, probably not as responsive as he could have been or would have been but we were chasing some fast fractions and he got the job done. It took some work but he was up to the task," Day said. "I think his better races will be going long when he can break and place himself comfortably. He'll be able to finish up and be a much better race horse. He's not like a lot of precocious 2-year-olds who are enthusiastic. He's very laid back and has a very level mind. He got a little fired up in the gate which is unusual otherwise he's been very professional. He's like an older horse, a big grand looking individual."
The conversation ended with, "Must be exciting."
Day just smiled, "Amen."Contact Sean Clancy via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 518-581-1947.