Emerald Beech overhauled pacesetter Dynaslew past mid-stretch to register her fourth consecutive victory by 1 1/2 lengths in the $102,000 Glens Falls (gr. IIIT), the (VIDEO) final stakes event of the 2011 Saratoga season Sept. 5.
Owned and bred by Augustin Stables and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, 5-year-old Emerald Beech earned her first grades stakes triumph as the second choice.
“The biggest part for me was getting the tack on her," Sheppard said. "I had a problem getting the strap on the girth into the buckle. She had sweat around the neck and was kicking. It was my fault, but we got it done. We had a very good valet. He helped.”
Contested on a soft course under showery conditions, Emerald Beech was sixth at the three-furlong pole before advancing into contention for Alex Solis in the stretch. Emerald Beech collared Dynaslew just past the eighth pole and drew off under brisk urging to win comfortably. The final time for the 1 3/8-mile event was 2:21.71 over the inner turf.
Solis won for the third time in a row on the Pennsylvania-bred Emerald Beech, a daughter of Maria's Mon.
"When I had a chance in the last three-eighths to get her out, I found the firmer ground, and she did her kick," Solis said. "She handled the softer turf very well here. At Belmont she also ran on softer turf and handled it good as well, so we thought she would be fine on the turf today.”
Dynaslew, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, finished 7 1/2 lengths in front of Senada and Ramon Dominguez.
Giants Play, the 5-2 favorite and 120-pound high weight in the field of nine older fillies and mares, faded to seventh after tracking the pace along the inside.
Dynaslew pounded out slow fractions of :26.56, :51.80, and 1:18.19 while maintaining a one-length advantage.
Emerald Beech, out of the Ocean Crest mare Beyond the Waves, was coming off a neck victory in an overnight stakes at 12 furlongs on a "good" inner turf course Aug. 10. She has won four of five starts in 2011 with one second. Her lifetime mark improved to 5-1-3 in 15 starts with earnings of $238,838.
Sheppard said Emerald Beech came to him from Canada last year.
“Alex seems to get along well with her," he said. "He had a lot of confidence in her. The one thing she does is stay forever. He said she went around easily. She used to run off and now she’s learned to relax. Now we’ll see how far we can go. She’s just matured.
"It takes me a while to figure them out. My training style is to have horses do well when they get older. A lot of other horses get burned out. They go into the Triple Crown and get burned out. That’s not my style. I love horses, and I try to treat them right.”
Emerald Beech carried 117 pounds and paid $8.40, $5.30, $3.40. Grade II winner Dynaslew, out of the money in her three prior efforts this year, showed improvement for trainer Seth Benzel this time. She returned $6.50 and $5. The exacta was worth $73.50. Senada, second to Emerald Beech in her most recent start for trainer Barclay Tagg, rallied mildly for third and paid $3.80 to show.
Dyani finished fourth, followed by Prize Catch, Ainamaa, Giants Play, Gold d'Oro, and Zapparition. Bubbly Jane and Endless Expanse scratched. Dynazaper was entered for the main track only.