The 137th racing season at Saratoga Race Course got under way Wednesday with 2-year-old fillies taking to the historic oval before a crowd of 25,818. In the end it was the Robert and Beverly Lewis homebred Folklore who captured the opening day feature -- the six-furlong, $150,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II).
Folklore's victory provided her sire Tiznow
with his first stakes winner.
Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his sixth Adirondack trophy, the first coming 20 years ago with Nervous Baba.
Just as the day was eventful – two power outages cost the New York Racing Association an estimated $200,000 in on-track handle before the second race and three steeplechase jockeys were thrown from their horses during the first race – so, too, was the Adirondack.
The field broke well as a unit and dashed sharply for the lead over the fast going. Truart and My Lucky Free stood out slightly from the pack, while Cajun Mistress and the favorite Adieu fell in just behind after an opening quarter in :22.62.
The foes were bunched for most of the trip while clipping off a :46.09 half-mile when Folklore, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, impressively altered course between horses while four-wide coming off the turn, surging to run down slight front-runner Truart under Javier Castellano at the wire. Truart, by Yes It's True
held for third, while a strong late run by the Mark Hennig-trained Fifth Avenue earned that daughter of Monarchos
a ground-gaining second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner.
The daughter of Tiznow, out of the Storm Cat
mare Contrive, was bred in Kentucky and has two wins and two seconds to her credit. The final time was 1:13.66. The track, which was sealed early in the day, was listed as fast.
"I was concerned when Cornelio took back," Lukas said. "He told me she could have made the lead. I'm just glad he didn't go for it. When they were rolling up front, I was glad we weren't up there with them. I was also concerned at the top of the stretch because we had no place to go. But she was able to angle out and get the lead. This was a very nice field and the best she has faced so far and she stepped up to them. I think she'll be better going longer.
"We've been blessed with two-year-olds coming to Saratoga. I'm going to be 70 in September (Sept. 2), and I hope to be doing this when I am 90."
Lukas said the $250,000 Spinaway (gr. II) at seven furlongs Aug. 26 at Saratoga would be considered next for Folklore.
"During the race, I thought my filly could win, but there were a lot of horses there at the turn," Velasquez said. "She ran very big today and I'm very happy."
Cajun Mistress, part of a coupled entry with Little Miss Zip for trainer Steve Klesaris, reared in the paddock prior to the race and landed squarely on her back. She managed to make the trip, but was last. Unbridled Tale, a first time starter for Patrick Biancone, scratched.
Adieu, by El Corredor
, was a non-threatening fourth, with My Lucky Free, Little Miss Zip, and Cajun Mistress finishing the order.
"We encountered some traffic problems, and we couldn't punch through the hole coming through the lane," trainer Todd Pletcher said of Adieu. "The track had also changed over the past couple of races, which might have compromised her chances."
Folklore paid $10.60, $5.40, and $4.30 for the win; Fifth Avenue paid $6.00 and $4.70 for the place; and Truart returned $5.80 for the show.
A $2 (2-6) exacta paid $46.40, and the (2-6-5) trifecta returned $447.50.
In the first race, Why Not Baby fell after the third fence of the steeplechase race, unseating Remy Winants, who wasn't injured. Then, the Next Man fell after the sixth fence, tossing Matthew McCarron. Good Night Shirt hit McCarron and threw William Dowling. McCarron broke his arm, and the New York Racing Association said he will miss the entire meet. Dowling sustained broken ribs and is expected to be out up to three weeks.