Newtown Anner Stud and Mark Breen's Saguaro Row was the sole subject of the finish line cameras Jan. 20 at Aqueduct Racetrack when she crossed the wire 2 3/4 lengths ahead of her competition in the $101,500 Interborough Stakes. Guided by Jose Lezcano, the Union Rags mare turned in a late-running rally to claim the seven-furlong dirt sprint—the second stakes win of her career.
"The assistant told me before the race not to rush out of the gate and just to sit back and stalk from off of the pace," said Lezcano. "I broke running and let her sit in fourth. At the quarter-pole, when I asked her, she came swinging out and did it easy."
The favorite in Monday's seven-horse field, Saguaro Row broke clean before settling off the pace, allowing Our Circle of Love and jockey Manuel Franco to take the lead on the rail. New Year's Wish followed suit in second ahead of Abounding Joy in third, who pressed the leaders in the three-path.
Franco and Our Circle of Love showed the way through fractions of :23.99 and :47.50 for the half-mile, maintaining a one-length advantage over New Year's Wish, who in turn managed to hold off Abounding Joy for second until the field left the backstretch.
Widest of all coming into the turn, Saguaro Row drew on even terms with Our Circle of Love, New Year's Wish, and Abounding Joy at the quarter-pole. The runners were four abreast at the top of the stretch before Saguaro Row was asked for more and sprinted away from the tightly bunched group to take the lead by three lengths.
Abounding Joy gave chase as Our Circle of Love and New Year's Wish dropped back, but never posed a serious threat to Saguaro Row, chipping only a quarter-length from the leader's winning advantage. The final time for the race was 1:25.13 on a track rated good.
The Interborough marked the sixth stakes score for Lezcano through day 22 of Aqueduct's winter meet.
"It's been a very good meet," said Lezcano. "I'm very grateful for the opportunities from all the trainers and owners. They're each good horses and I'm thankful."
"She's really found a home up there," said trainer Michael Stidham, referencing Saguaro Row's previous stakes win in the Nov. 9 Pumpkin Pie Stakes at Aqueduct. She closed out her 4-year-old season with a second-place run in the Dec. 7 Go for Wand Handicap (G3) at the New York track, where she finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Spiced Perfection.
"I've found that you're smart to keep running on a track that a horse likes," said Stidham. "Not every horse likes the winter track up there, but she seems to. She's a nice filly and she showed it today. If she comes out of this race well, we're looking at the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) at Laurel (Feb. 15) next for her."
Bred in Kentucky by Breen, Saguaro Row is out of the Indian Charlie mare Charlie Girl, who has also produced stakes winner Pinnacle Peak. She improved her record to 5-2-1 from 13 starts with $319,104 in earnings.