Overshadowed heading into Sunday's Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya by her multiple graded-stakes winning stablemate and betting favorite Santa Monica, Wise Racing's Fools Gold proved to be a smart three-quarter-length winner of Saratoga Race Course's 1 ½-mile turf marathon.
The 16th running of the Waya for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up was the second of four stakes worth $1.5 million in purses on an 11-race program to close the three-day Fasig-Tipton Racing Festival.
In earning her first career stakes victory in her fifth try and first against graded company, Fools Gold gave trainer Chad Brown his third win in the Waya and first since Guapaza in 2016. Saratoga's meet-leading trainer also won in 2015 with Goldy Espony. It was the first-ever stakes win for owner Allen Wise.
Sky Full of Stars, a Group 2 winner in Germany making her third North American start and just her second this year, was eager for the lead from post position 5 in the six-horse field and quickly opened up on her rivals through a quarter-mile in 24.60 seconds and a half in 49.87. Fools Gold tracked Sky Full of Stars in second, chased by Grade 3-placed Theodora B. on the outside and 6-5 favorite Santa Monica tucked in along the rail.
Still in front after a mile in 1:40.45, Sky Full of Stars and jockey Joel Rosario were collared by Fools Gold approaching the top of the stretch and unable to resist the challenge, as Hall of Famer Javier Castellano urged his filly to the lead and set down for a drive to the wire. The winning time was 2:27.21 over a firm inner turf course.
“She really ran great. She's been an improving horse. I'm really proud of the way she's come along. I told Javier if she breaks out of there good, we're happy to go to the lead,” Brown said. “I didn't see a lot of speed in the race, but if somebody was fully intent on making the fractions just to lay second; that's what he did. He decided to back off when Joel took the initiative, and he just timed it perfectly.”
Get Explicit, a 23-1 long shot based at Woodbine that had placed in a pair of previous graded-stakes attempts, emerged from a tightly packed group behind the winner for second, a neck ahead of Santa Monica, who appeared to encounter some traffic trouble leaving the backstretch and had to swing to the far outside in the stretch to mount her bid.
Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial winner Gentle Ruler was another neck back in fourth to snap her four-race win streak. Sky Full of Stars and Theodora B. completed the order of finish.
Fools Gold, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro that fetched $425,000 as a 2-year-old in training in March 2017, had run second or third in three consecutive stakes this spring and summer. She entered the Waya having finished second by less than two lengths to Semper Sententiae in the 1 ½-mile River Memories July 5 at Belmont Park.
Sent off at 3-1, Fools Gold returned $8.40 for a $2 win bet.
“The filly put up a great performance going a mile and a half last time at Belmont,” Castellano said. “I think the mile and a half adjustment helped her out today. Mr. Brown did a great job with the horse, bringing her to Saratoga to win the race.”
The Waya is named for the champion mare who distinguished herself both in her native France and in the United States. In 1978, after having won multiple stakes in Europe, she came to America and won six of nine starts including victories over males in the Grade 1 Man o' War and Grade 1 Turf Classic. In 1979 she won four straight stakes in New York and California and was voted champion older female.
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