Hit It Rich struck gold with her impressive, gate-to-wire performance under Javier Castellano in the Sept. 3 Glens Falls Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Saratoga Race Course for owner/breeder Stuart Janney and trainer Shug McGaughey.
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, the 5-year-old gray or roan daughter of Smart Strike completed the 1 3/8-mile race over a firm inner turf course in a strong 2:12.34, three ticks of the course mark.
"She's phenomenal," said Castellano, who also won the Spa's seventh race aboard Sly Warrior. "In a small field with not a lot of speed in the race, I took advantage by trying to get to the lead and not look back, just forward. She's a really nice horse and put up good fractions today. I'm very happy with the way she did it."
From her rail post, Hit It Rich went straight to front of the Glens Falls and rated well from the inside, clicking off quarter mile fractions of :24.37, :48.19, 1:13.13, 1:36.82, and 2:00.10. At the quarter pole, the filly kicked clear of pressing Bizzy Caroline and easily held her lead to the finish, prevailing by 1 1/2 lengths. Catesby Clay's dual graded stakes winner Bizzy Caroline was second while the Irish-bred filly Kissable finished a neck farther back in third.
"The game plan was if she could have the lead it's perfect; if we have a target that's fine, too," said McGaughey of Hit It Rich. "Javier said she broke good, was relaxed, and they kind of gave him the lead even though that filly was sitting on her. He said going into the first turn she sort of just pricked her ears, and when she came by me the first time she was just galloping along, and that was fine with me."
Hit It Rich came into the Glens Falls off a third-place effort in the June 30 New York Stakes (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park. Earlier this year, she captured the Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park and was a runner up in the Sheepshead Bay and Suwannee River (both gr. IIT). Last year, she also scored in the Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT). Sporting an overall record of 7-3-3 from 16 starts, she has earned $513,310.
When asked where Hit It Rich would run next, McGaughey said, "We'll obviously look at the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT, Sept. 29 at Belmont Park). She likes the Polytrack, so we'll look at the Spinster (gr. IT) at Keeneland, too."
Bred in Kentucky, Hit It Rich is out of the grade III-winning Lord at War mare Cuando Puede.
Carrying top weight of 120 pounds, Hit It Rich paid $3.70, $2.50, and $2.10. Bizzy Caroline, winner of the June 2 Early Times Mint Julep Stakes (gr. IIIT) returned $4.30 and $2.80. Kissable paid $2.50.
Rounding out the field was Brazilian-bred Bubbly Jane in fourth, followed by Imperial Pippin and Thislilsoulofmine. Acting Happy and Cash for Clunkers were entered for the main track only.