(Edited from track report)
Steeplechase Farm's Mandy's Gold caught a sloppy track Friday afternoon and used it to glide to a front-running, 1 ¾-length victory over Shine Again in the $108,500 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at six furlongs.
In running her current winning streak to four, Mandy's Gold, a daughter of Gilded Time, took jockey Edgar Prado through fractions of :22, :44 4/5, :56 3/5, and was home in 1:09 1/5.
Rain earlier in the day had canceled turf racing and turned the main track to sloppy, presenting the 4-year-old daughter of Gilded Time with a surface on which she had never raced. It was also her first appearance at Saratoga.
Mandy's Gold won for the eighth time in her 13 career starts, and did it while staying on her inside lead. It didn't seem to matter.
"She has a tendency to do that sometimes," said her trainer, Michael Gorham, who scored his first graded stakes win at the Spa. "Edgar (Prado) knows her and let's her do her thing. She has trained on a wet track and trained well, and her pedigree says she should handle the mud.
"This is just excellent. Saratoga is the elite of racing and this is where we all want to be."
Mandy's Gold will likely point for Saratoga's $250,000 Ballerina (gr. I) at seven furlongs on August 25th.
The crowd of 18,534 made Gold Mover, coming off a win over Xtra Heat, the 3-2 favorite. Mandy's Gold went off as the fourth choice in a field of six at odds of 5-1. Gold Mover ran fourth, behind Shine Again and Dat You Miz Blue. Trip and Nasty Storm were the only horses that Gold Mover defeated.
"Jerry (Bailey) said the only good step she took was her first step," said Gold Mover's trainer, Mark Hennig. "She broke well, but never looked comfortable with the going. We didn't know how she would handle it, being her first start on a wet track."
Mandy's Gold paid $12.60, $6 and $4.10. Shine Again returned $5.90 and $4.20. Dat You Miz Blue paid $4.40 for the show. The $2 exacta was $65.