SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -Raj Jagnanan’s American Sailor was named a controversial victor via disqualification in Saturday’s $200,000 Troy Stakes (G3) at Saratoga.
Sent away cleanly from post 2 under Tyler Gaffalione at 7/1 odds, American Sailor went straight to the lead and raced inside and ahead of Shekky Shebaz heading into the far turn.
Pulling away to run unopposed through the corner while posting opening fractions of :21.92 and :44.01, American Sailor straightened for home with the lead but was unable to hold off a hard-charging Imprimis.
As Imprimis struck the front end, he drifted in and caused Shekky Shebaz to check off heels and redirect his stretch run toward the outside. Imprimis drew off in the stretch and crossed 2 1/4 lengths clear.
Following the end of the race, the stewards conducted an inquiry into the stretch run between Imprimis and Shekky Shebaz. Upon review, the stewards ruled that Imprimis’ actions warranted being disqualified from victory and placed third.
The Wayne Potts-trained American Sailor, a head past Shekky Shebaz at the wire, was promoted to the top for his first career graded stakes score.
“I don’t want to take anything away from my horse, he put in a huge effort today,” Gaffalione said. “I’m thrilled for the owners to come up here and win a nice race like this. It’s not the way you want to get it done, but he put in a big effort and he’s definitely deserving.”
Chewing Gum was fourth by a 1/2-length over Pulsate, with the same gap back to Lonhtwist in fifth.
Pure Sensation, expected to fight for the early pace, was slow from the gate and never threatened before completing the order of finish.
American Sailor’s win was his first at the graded stakes level and improved his overall record to 45-15-9-3 with $568,264 earned. Jagnanan lost him for a $7,500 claim in 2018 but reacquired the 8-year-old City Zip gelding 1 race later and was rewarded with this effort and a 3-race win streak last summer.
“I’m speechless; this is my first graded win,” Potts said. “My clients have stood behind me through the years with claimers, and this is where we’re at.”
American Sailor returned $16.80 to win, $7.30 to place, and $4.20 to show. Shekky Shebaz brought back $4.60 to place and $3 to show, while Imprimis paid $3.20 to show.