Aptitude overwhelmed his rivals in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Sunday, giving trainer Bobby Frankel a winner of a big race on each coast. Just minutes after Aptitude won the $300,000 race, Skimming won the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar in California.
Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Aptitude went to the outside midway through the far turn. He drew even with Gander, who had led the first seven furlongs, nearing the stretch, then took command and went on to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Perfect Cat closed to finish second, a length ahead of A Fleets Dancer. Gander, Top Official, Ground Storm, and Pleasant Breeze completed the order of finish.
"I think Aptitude likes this track," Frankel said. "This is why I didn't want to run him against Skimming. I'm pretty excited. The Pacific Classic is worth more money, but both wins are great. Skimming just widened on them. I was very confident in Aptitude. I don't think I'll bring Skimming for the Breeders' Cup. I'll probably lay him up and get him ready for next year. That's what I did last year. Lido Palace (whom Frankel also trains), will probably run in the Woodward (gr. I, Sept. 8) and Aptitude in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I, Oct. 6)."
Aptitude carried high weight of 122 pounds over 1 1/4 miles on a fast track in 2:01.55. With the win, his second in four starts this year, 4-year-old Aptitude earned $180,000 for Juddmonte Farms and returned $4, $3.20, and $2.50.
Perfect Cat paid $5.50 and $3.50, while A Fleets Dancer was $4.30 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $26.80.
Aptitude (A.P. Indy--Dokki, by Northern Dancer) finished second in both the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) as a 3-year-old and his one previous victory this year was also a second-place finish on the track. After coming home second to Futural in the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), Aptitude was placed first after the winner was disqualified for an incident at the top of the stretch that did not involve Aptitude. The win improves Aptitude's career mark to four wins from 13 starts. (Chart, Equibase