Bob and Beverly Lewis' Classic Elegance came from far off the pace to win the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II), the traditional opening day feature at Saratoga. The Carson City
filly covered the six furlongs in 1:12.48, running down the front-running Angel Trumpet by a length in the final strides.
Ten 2-year-old fillies went to the post in the $150,000 Schuylerville as Smokin Sylvia was scratched. Darn That Girl, who drew post 11 and was tough to load, broke on top over the sealed track, but it was Angel Trumpet, breaking from post 7, who grabbed the lead after the first opening strides.
Dreabon Copelan's Angel Trumpet, with Robby Albarado up, set wicked early splits over the muddy track, recording splits of :21.80 and :45.49 while being chased by Partners Due and Darn That Girl. Classic Elegance was far back early under Pat Day.
"I was really surprised how far back she was," said winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "I don't think she really relished the going."
As the field turned for home, Angel Trumpet held an open-lengths lead while being chased by the favored Broadway Gold and a surging Wild Chick. Classic Elegance hugged the rail around the turn, then was taken off the fence by Day, but still had four horses to catch at the eighth pole. The five-furlong split was :58.41. The final quarter was run in :14.49.
"I thought she was home," said Bruce Levine, trainer of Angel Trumpet. "That was a tough beat. She got caught up in a fast pace and opened up a lead, but couldn't hold on."
Out in the middle of the track, Classic Elegance blew by the field, then caught Angel Trumpet in the final strides while under a hand ride by Day. Angel Trumpet held second by 1 3/4 lengths and Wild Chick finished third, a nose better than Darn That Girl. Broadway Gold finished fifth.
"That was an awesome move for a filly who has only had a couple 'outs'" Lukas said. "She's small and petite and I thought these six-furlong races might be her limit, but I don't feel that way now."
"It might have been a little deceiving because I think the leader was coming back significantly," said Day. "But it was still a very game effort for a young, lightly raced horse that had never been in that position before. If she wasn't the class filly that she is, she wouldn't have have stepped up to the plate."
The winner returned $7.80, $4.60, and 3.80. Angel Trumpet paid $14.60 and $10. Wild Chick paid $5.50 to show. The 1-7 exacta returned $100.50.
The win gave Lukas his sixth win in the Schuylerville.
Classic Elegance was one of two stakes winners in the field. Out of the Halo mare Taegu, Classic Elegance won the Debutante Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on July 4. After breaking her maiden at Keeneland on April 16 by 7 1/4 lengths, she ran third in the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes against the boys on Derby day at Churchill Downs. The winner of the Three Chimneys, Lunarpal, will the favorite in tomorrow's Sanford Stakes (gr. III) at the Spa.
Bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones, Classic Elegance was a $650,000 Kentucky September sale yearling from Jones's consignment.
Lukas said he would consider the Spinaway Stakes (gr. II) for her next start. The Spinaway, at seven furlongs, will be run at Saratoga Aug. 20.