Surya Splashes to Easy Ballston Spa Victory

Flaxman Stable's heavily-favored Surya sat patiently behind pace setter Shooting Party and then blew by on the final turn to cruise to an easy win in the $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap on a sloppy main track at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.

The field of fillies and mares was reduced to three from the original cast of 10 by heavy rain that forced the race off the turf. As a result of the scratches and change in racing surface, the race was dropped to ungraded status from grade III.

Surya's winning time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:52 1/5. The margin of victory was six lengths.

The race was Surya's first off the turf and her fourth win in five U.S. starts since coming from France a year ago. The 4-year-old Kentucky homebred daughter of Unbridled, trained by Robert Frankel and ridden by Jerry Bailey, won for the fourth time in eight career starts.

Shooting Party, ridden by Mike Smith, bolted to an early lead out of the gate and held a two-length advantage early while clicking off fractions of :23 4/5, :46 4/5 and 1:11 3/5.

Surya passed Shooting Party, who led by as much as four lengths, on the turn and went easily from there. Solvig, never comfortable, was far back while taking third-place money.

"The race wasn't that easy," said Frankel. "I really wasn't sure if she would handle the mud. She did and I'm happy she got to that pace-setting horse (Shooting Party).You'll see her at Belmont in the Fall. I haven't planned anything out for her."

Bailey said the race was easy, for the most part.

"She made the lead. She looked at the grandstand," he said. "I had to tap her a couple of times to keep her looking straight instead of to the right. Everything else was easy. Shehandled (the slop) fine."

Surya paid $3.70 to win as the 4-5 favorite.

(Chart, Equibase)