Eclipse Thoroughbred Partner's Hieroglyphics used a ground-saving trip and well-timed stretch run by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez to best the field of six to win by a neck in the $100,000 Better Talk Now at Saratoga Race Course on Monday, completing the one-mile course in 1:33.69.
The son of Pioneerof the Nile sat close to rail several lengths behind front runners Adonis Creed, Blind Ambition and Holiday Stone, who led the field through fractions of 23.28 seconds for the quarter-mile and 47.13 seconds for the half. Coming out of the last turn Hieroglyphics angled out slightly and pulled clear, holding off hard-charging stretch runs by August Dawn Stable's Small Bear and Phipps Stable's Snap Decision, who finished second and third, respectively.
“We talked about strategy before the race and we were hoping to just sit off the front,” Velazquez said. “When it unfolded at the break, I was able to do just that and get towards the rail, which was perfect. I got to bide my time there and make sure they saw me behind the other horses. When I tipped him out, he was electric and full of run. It played out perfect. We couldn't plan it any better.”
The win was the third for the Todd Pletcher trainee in eight starts and the first stakes victory, pushing his career earnings to $164,272. After a troubled debut at Saratoga last year as a 2-year-old, Hieroglyphics was rested until February before returning to the track at Gulfstream Park, racing four times before breaking his maiden on May 27 at 1 1/16 miles. His second win came earlier in the Saratoga meet, when he captured a 1 ¾ length score in a one-mile allowance race over the inner turf.
“He's one of those colts who took a little while to put everything together,” Pletcher said. “We could see in the winter and the spring he was gradually getting better and better. It felt like his last two races were a step forward, and he took another step forward today.”
Hieroglyphics returned $17.40 on a $2 win bet.
Finishing fourth was Holiday Stone, followed by Blind Ambition and Adonis Creed.
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