Joel Rosario earned his second graded stakes win in a row at Saratoga on Saturday when he guided 16-1 longshot Sippican Harbor to a come-from-behind victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes. Owned by Lee Pokoik, the 2-year-old daughter of Orb covered seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:23.72, crossing the wire about two lengths ahead of Restless Rider (5-2). Sippican Harbor is trained by Gary Contessa, and this win earned her an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies this fall at Churchill Downs.
“I really thought she was a turf horse, shows you what I know,” joked Contessa. “A blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Today's effort was unbelievable because this field was loaded with good horses today. She ate dirt, I mean she's covered with dirt, she made that big move on the outside, a very impressive race. That's the kind of 2-year-old you want. One that is versatile, you can send her; she can be on the lead or you can take her back and come from last. She's got a great mind. You see what her mind is like in the stall. She is just the coolest horse in the world. She makes my job easy.”
Chasing Yesterday, the half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, was five wide around the far turn and tired late in the stretch to finish off the board in seventh.
Nearly last of the 11-filly field down the backstretch, Sippican Harbor waited until the stretch run to launch her bid. Rosario angled her out turning for home and Sippican Harbor responded with a strong kick, flying down the center of the course late to win by about two lengths. Restless Rider was four-wide around the far turn and was a game second ahead of late-closing Cassies Dreamer, while Bella Ciao finished fourth.
“She broke really well and her last race was on the dirt [maiden special weight on August 12] and she ran well and she likes to run,” Rosario said. “They get a little bit away from you in the beginning but that was OK, she has the one speed but she keeps getting better and better, improving, going forward. She handled everything well and enjoyed her run. She put in a nice run in the end and I kept her on the outside to keep her clear and not get any more mud in her face.”
Bred in Kentucky by Justin Spaeth, Kalvert Spaeth and Equine Equity Partners, the daughter of Blossomed (Deputy Minister) commanded $260,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select sale. She did not meet her reserve in the OBS March sale, then ran fifth on debut in late July. Sippican Harbor came back to win her second start, and the Spinaway is her second win in three career starts. So far, Sippican Harbor has earned $260,000.
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