Fred Allor's homebred Five Iron scored a third straight front-running victory Sept. 1, this time nailing down the first graded stakes win of his career in the $150,000 Saranac Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course (VIDEO).
After leading at every call in back-to-back stakes victories at Woodbine, Five Iron shipped to Saratoga for the Saranac. The pair broke well in the Saranac to cruise to a clear lead through :22.97, :46.76, and 1:10.90 fractions in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds.
Grade I winner Joha and Frac Daddy, a recent winner of a high level allowance race in his career debut on turf Aug. 24 at Saratoga, gave chase into the turn but could make up little ground on the easy-striding son of Sharp Humor.
At the top of the stretch, Repole Stable's 2-1 favorite Notacatbutallama took a run at the front-runner but Five Iron found more in midstretch to put away that threat on his way to the 2 1/2-length victory.
"The lead came easy to my horse so I let him run," said winning rider Luis Saez. "Coming for home, I still had a lot of horse. When I saw Notacatbutallama coming, I knew we could hold him off. He gave me everything he had to win this race."
Saddled by Brian Lynch, Five Iron completed nine furlongs in 1:48.31 on good turf with Notacatbutallama holding second, 2 1/2 lengths over Joha.
"I knew if he could get the lead and get left alone, he'd be very dangerous," Lynch said . "He's a very determined horse. I've never had a horse prick his ears when he makes the lead like that and run into the bridle like he does. He's a fun horse, and as he's gotten older, he's found his niche and become effective at it."
Five Iron returned $12.80 to win, $5.20 to place, and $4.60 to show. Notacatbutallama paid $3.70 and $2.90, while Joha returned $4.90 to show.
Five Iron won the Victoria Park Stakes June 16 on the Woodbine Polytrack and entered off a score in the Toronto Cup Stakes July 27 on the Woodbine turf. In 11 starts, Five Iron has registered a record of 4-2-1 with earnings of $381,060.
Bred in Kentucky, Five Iron is out of the Thuder Gulch mare Tee Off.