Wild Win for Sauvage in Sheepshead Bay

Sauvage, a French-bred filly making her second start in New York, found room at the rail to rally to an upset Sunday in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 11 furlongs on the turf.

On a firm Widener course, the Thomas Albertrani-trained 4-year-old Sauvage won by a half-length with Javier Castellano aboard over a troubled Angara, who battled to the front close to home for Gary Stevens before losing in a game effort. It was a neck back to the wide rallying Barancella in third.

The victory redeemed the William Diamant-owned Sri Pekan filly from a loss in Aqueduct's Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) on April 30, where she was forced to steady in deep stretch. She wound up sixth, beaten less than five lengths.

Rain fell earlier in the day on Sunday, stopped and then started again with about 20 minutes to post. It only lasted a few minutes, and the course remained "firm" for the Sheepshead Bay, although the winning time, 2:15 3/5, was slow.

Beaugay winner Finery took the lead and slowed things down as jockey Pablo Fragoso guided her through an opening quarter of : 24 4/5 and a half mile in :50 3/5, with 2-1 favorite Honey Ryder just off her flank.

She held the lead after six furlongs in 1:15 and seemed to have plenty left after a mile in 1:39 2/5.

Honey Ryder, who was riding a two-stakes winning streak from Gulfstream Park, couldn't get by and eventually quit the chase as new challenges to Finery came from the outside in Angara and Barancella.

The British-bred Angara was shut off while attempting to split rivals in upper stretch and was steadied. She rallied again between horses in deep stretch to get the lead and finished willingly. French-bred Barancella, rallying four wide, was also coming with a rush.

But the biggest charge came from Sauvage on the rail. After falling back a bit on the turn when stalking the pace while third along the inside, she resumed her charge along the rail in the stretch, finding room as Finery fell back and finishing with a flourish.

"We always thought she would want to run longer," said trainer Albertrani. "Her last race, the turf might have been a little softer than she likes it. We were hoping the rain would hold off today. We had confidence in her. Everything worked out pretty well today."

Castellano said he was fortunate that with the rail out 18 feet, the closers had a shot.

"I wanted to take her back," Castellano said. "Tom told me to let her come out of the gate and let her get a position she was comfortable in. I put her behind Finery and followed her. It was a slow pace and she wanted to go. A hole opened up and I guess I got a little bit lucky. I saw the other horse coming, and remembered that she was stuck in traffic at the sixteenth pole. I was really lucky I go through."

According to Albertrani, the likely next stop for Sauvage is the $250,000 New York Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/4 miles on the Belmont turf July 2.

Sauvage, who won for the fifth time in 14 starts and increased her earnings to $162,260, paid $34.20, $11.60 and $7.80.

Angara returned $5.20 and $3.20, and Barancella paid $3.60 to show.

Finery was a game fourth fourth with Honey Ryder fifth.

"She likes to be covered up," said Honey Ryder's jockey, John Velazquez. "If she's not covered up, she just pulls and pulls and pulls. I was trying to slow it down, but when it was time to go, she didn't want to go."

Dreams Come True, Kate Winslet and Minge Cove completed the order of finish.

(Chart, Equibase)