Jay Em Ess Stable's homebred Suave overcame a stumbling start to give trainer Paul McGee his first Saratoga graded stakes victory, carrying jockey John Velazquez to a 2 ¾-length victory in the $245,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at 10 furlongs before a crowd of 55,503.The 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt collected his fifth career victory in 18 starts and made it look easy as he overtook the lead from Tap Day, who got the first quarter in :24. Suave then cut out fractions of :48 1/5; 1:12 and 1:36 4/5 before taking control and winning in 2:03 1/5 on a track listed as fast.Most impressive was how Suave dug in against several challenges as he turned for home. The first came from Tap Day, who quickened on the inside, and from favored Offlee Wild, closing on the outside, but both were dismissed. Finally, Royal Assault put in a run in the lane, but Suave resisted that bid as well.The 3-5 favorite Offlee Wild faded to finish last of five for jockey Edgar Prado at odds of 3-5.Suave, who has fought quarter crack problems early in 2005, was making just his second start of the year. His front-running victory at a mile at Arlington on July 23 was his first start since November of 2004.Suave also avenged a sixth-place finish at Saratoga in the 2004 Travers (gr. I). "He's had a quarter crack in his back foot that has been bugging him all year," McGee said. "It was hurry up and wait a couple of different times this year. I tried to make the Fair Grounds with him. I tried to make Keeneland with him, and I tried to make Churchill with him, but that quarter crack kept bothering him. As you can see, it is all fixed now."He's still a horse that you need to keep after a little bit," McGee added. "I think he felt those horses coming to him, and he responded. My first thought was that he didn't like Saratoga, but he was doing so good and we had a couple of reasons to throw out the Travers last year, we thought we would try."Suave, who returned $8, $6.30, and $8.40 as 3-1 second choice, had the lead at the quarter pole despite stumbling at the gate. The $150,000 winning share increased the colt's earnings to $659,483 for owners Mace and Samantha Siegel."He makes you work," Velazquez said. "He was a handful in the gate, and he stumbled a little bit from there. I just wanted to get him in good position going into the first turn. He settled nicely and was by himself. Going down the backside, he put his ears up and started pulling out. So, I let him drift to the outside and, when Tap Day came back, I dropped him back inside. And when both horses came to him, he seriously started running."The late run from Royal Assault ($11.40, $9.60) was good enough to secure second, while Tap Day ($7.70) faded to third. Seven-year-old Evening Attire ran hard to get fourth with Offlee Wild checking in last, 9 1/2 lengths behind."Edgar (Prado) said he felt good, but he just didn't fire," trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. "I'm a little disappointed. We'll check him out and see if we can find anything.""Once he got to the three-eighths pole, he spit up the bit and didn't want to run," Prado said. "I'm surprised because he is a fighter and keeps going."The track started the day off as "good" and was "fast" for the Saratoga Breeders' Cup.
Billy Allen was scratched. (Chart, Equibase)