Overbrook Farm homebred Penny's Gold rallied from fourth to win Sunday's $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) by three-quarters of a length over Babae at Saratoga. Under Jerry Bailey, the Christophe Clement trainee completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.69 on a good turf course.
Gaviola set a quick early pace and opened up by two lengths after an opening quarter-mile run in :23.08. Babae moved up to press the gray 4-year-old and was a half-length back after a half-mile in :46.10. Those two continued on the front end as Penny's Gold moved into contention as Gaviola raced six furlongs in 1:09.64. Gaviola weakened in the stretch as Penny's Gold edged clear of Babae.
"The pace went pretty quick. But on paper, I though it could be," said Bailey. "When Velazquez' horse (Babae) went out there running, I thought Gaviola would be going head-to-head with her. Any time you have a come-from-behind horse, this helps. They were going at such a good rate, you couldn't see the acceleration."
Chaste finished third, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Gaviola. Good Game and Amourette completed the order of finish. Step With Style and Livin for Love were scratched.
Penny's Gold remained undefeated from four starts in North America, including wins in the Keeneland's Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIIT) and the listed Anka Germania Stakes. In France, she won three of seven starts, including the Prix Quincey (Fr-III). A 4-year-old filly, Penny's Gold (Kingmambo--Penny's Valentine, by Storm Cat) earned $126,120 for the win, her seventh in 11 career starts.
"We'll wait and see how she comes out of this. As long as she trains well we will consider the Diana (Sept. 3)," said Clement. "I think a mile and an eighth might be as far as she wants to go."
The odds-on choice in the six-horse field, Penny's Gold returned $3.70, $2.90, and $2.30. Babae paid $5.60 and $3.90. Chaste was worth $3.70 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $22.20. (Chart, Equibase