Jack Garey's Heritage of Gold remained undefeated on the year by defeating reigning distaff champion Beautiful Pleasure in a sloppy renewal of the $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) Sunday at Saratoga.
Heritage of Gold, however, was almost scratched from the race. "Mr. Garey told me if the track was sloppy, we were going to scratch. But there is something about Saratoga and being here ... if he was back home in Austin, I'm sure we wouldn't have run," said trainer Tom Amoss. "After the fourth race we made the decision to run."
With three wins from four starts on off tracks prior to Sunday's race, Beautiful Pleasure was bet down to under even money. As they left the gate for the short run into the first turn, Beautiful Pleasure sprinted to the lead while racing well off the rail. On the backstretch, Beautiful Pleasure opened up a seven-length lead through a half-mile run in :47.03. Heritage of Gold, sent off at nearly 3-1, began a sweeping move on the turn while wide of Beautiful Pleasure. Those two hooked up in the stretch as Beautiful Pleasure retained a head advantage as they raced a mile in 1:36.67. Heritage of Gold inched clear through the final furlong to win by a length at the wire. The winner completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.84.
Beautiful Pleasure finished second, six lengths ahead of Roza Robata. Up We Go was fourth, followed by Christiana Stables' Under the Rug. Christiana Stables also owned Go for Wand. Pentatonic was scratched.
The win is the second for Heritage of Gold over Beautiful Pleasure this year. In April, Heritage of Gold earned a length win over Lu Ravi in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), in which Beautiful Pleasure finished fifth. Heritage of Gold has also beaten Silverbulletday, last year's 3-year-old filly champion, on two occasions this year. Last September, Heritage of Gold defeated eventual turf female champion Soaring Softly in the Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) on turf at Saratoga.
"My horse is now five-for-five, won two grade I's this year and now we beat Beautiful Pleasure on her kind of racetrack," said jockey Shane Sellers. "Heritage of Gold proved she is the best older female in the country today."
Heritage of Gold (Gold Legend--Lyphard Gal, by Lyphard) earned $150,000 for the win, her 15th in 22 career starts. The 5-year-old mare was bred in Kentucky by Georgia Hofmann.
Heritage of Gold returned $7.90, $2.50, and $2.10. Beautiful Pleasure paid $2.10 and $2.10. Roza Robata was worth $2.10 to show. The winning exacta combination returned $13.
Garey said his mare may race next in the Beverly D Stakes (gr. IT) on turf at Arlington International August 19.