Back on turf after trying the Triple Crown trail this spring, Brilliant Speed kicked clear in the final eighth of a mile to win the $103,000 Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by 2 ½ lengths over Queen'splatekitten. The 3-year-old son of Dynaformer, the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10 3-year-olds, covered the 1 1/8 miles over Saratoga’s firm inner turf course in 1:48.73.
Racing in mid-pack earlier under John Velazquez, Brilliant Speed cruised along in the two path as Chinglish set the opening quarter-mile fraction of :24.33. Queen’splatekitten grabbed the lead after a half in a moderate :49.89. Velazquez put Brilliant Speed in the three path on the turn, got in good position and drove clear late, getting a final eighth in a brisk :11.57.
“I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of speed, so I wanted to be in nice position,” Velazquez said. “I had a good hold of him. He was going nice the whole way around. At the quarter-pole, I asked him and he responded right away. He’s a better horse on the grass. No doubt.”
Brilliant Speed paid $6.50 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.10 to show. Queen’splatekitten paid $6.50 and $4.50 while anchoring a $38.80 exacta. King Congie returned $4.50 to show.
A homebred for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, Brilliant Speed is out of the Gone West mare Speed Succeeds. After a couple of starts earlier this year on turf, he pulled off an 19-1 upset in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) over Keeneland’s Polytrack.
That set him on the Triple Crown trail where he ran seventh behind Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Earlier during the Saratoga meet he ran fifth in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), prompting his connections to put him back on the grass.
“He showed more kick today, which is what I had wanted to see on the dirt,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “All things considered, he might just have to stay on the grass; Polytrack might also be an option.
"Johnny kept him a little closer to the pace today and didn’t let the lack of speed get away. I think we’ll stick with the (grade I) Jamaica (at Belmont Park, Oct. 8). In the Jim Dandy, he flattened out early. He came out of the race with so much energy, he didn’t run his race.”
Brilliant Speed has now won three times from 12 starts with a pair of seconds and three thirds. He has earned $700,750.