Big Trouble rallied widest and emerged victorious from a four-horse scramble to the wire in the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Tony Dutrow for Team D Stable, Big Trouble broke near the back of the eight-horse field and sat reserved in the early going as a three-ply battle for the lead materialized. After sitting comfortably behind a punishing opening quarter-mile in 21.65 seconds, the Tiz Wonderful colt began to make his move under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. just as the two favorites, Nonna's Boy and Cinco Charlie, spurted away from the field. After a half-mile 45.17, Big Trouble entered the stretch four wide and was promptly thumped by Mr. Z, who was maneuvering off of the inside in search of running room.
Big Trouble and Mr. Z, running in tandem, continued to tussle with one another as Nonna's Boy and Cinco Charlie began to tire in the final furlong. With a sixteenth to go, Mr. Z inherited the lead from the languishing front-runners, but a determined Big Trouble got up to win by a neck in the shadow of the wire.
“I told Irad [Ortiz] that he breaks very good and to give this horse a chance to run good,” said Dutrow. “So I didn't know what was going to happen, but I'm so happy that this boy was able to do something different than his maiden win against some nice horses today. For him to be completely different than he was in his first race, and only having one racing experience, I have to feel really good about his future.”
The Grade 1 Hopeful on September 1 may be in Big Trouble's future, according to Dutrow.
“Obviously right now the Hopeful makes sense,” said Dutrow. “We haven't given him a lot of time from January 1 until now, so I might wait until Belmont, but certainly he'll be nominated to the Hopeful.”
Big Trouble completed the six furlongs in 1:10.64 and returned $25.60 for a $2 win bet. In addition to the $90,000 he won, he also earned a $100,000 bonus for having broken his maiden at the Belmont Park spring/summer meet. His $190,000 total winnings boosted his bankroll to $235,000.
Runner-up Mr. Z ran gamely in defeat for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who one day earlier saddled Take Charge Brandi to a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at the Spa.
“They beat us up and we were still there,” said Lukas. “He's got a big future. It was a great effort. I felt I had a great chance to win this.”
It was another 1 ½ lengths back to 2-1 second choice Cinco Charlie in third, who finished a neck in front of 8-5 favorite Nonna's Boy.
Silverhill, Less Than Perfect, Bessie's Boy and Chocolate Wildcat completed the order of finish.
View the full Equibase chart here.
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