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Brown Continues Hot Streak As Favored Rastafara Captures Riskaverse
Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand

Brown Continues Hot Streak As Favored Rastafara Captures Riskaverse

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Another day, another turf stakes win for owner Peter Brant, trainer Chad Brown, and rider Irad Ortiz Jr., as the connections again teamed for a score when Rastafara overtook pacesetter Love and Money approaching the top of the stretch and powered home to a 1 1/2-length victory in Thursday’s 1-mile $120,000 Riskaverse at Saratoga Race Course.

The 12th edition of the Riskaverse on the inner turf course, restricted to 3-year-old fillies who had not won a stakes at 1 mile or over, saw 2/1 favorite Rastafara win her second consecutive start in capturing her stakes debut. It was the third win on the day for the meet-leading trainer, who tallied 5 wins on Wednesday’s card including the Brant-owned and Ortiz Jr.-ridden Serve the King in the $120,000 John’s Call.

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Just 24 hours later, Rastafara repeated the success by breaking well from post 6 and tracking in second position to Love and Money, who surged to the front from the outermost post under Luis Saez in leading the nine-horse field through the opening 1/4-mile in 23.91 seconds, the 1/2 in 47.47, and 3/4 in 1:11.55 over firm going.

Out of the turn, Ortiz Jr. tapped into Rastafara’s well-stocked reserve, with the Irish-bred daughter of Shamardal easily overtaking Love and Money from the outside. Third Draft made a late bid under Jose Ortiz, but Rastafara kicked on to win in a final time of 1:35.53.

Rastafara, unraced as a juvenile, broke her maiden at third asking on July 24 at Saratoga and handled the step up in class Thursday by improving to 2-1-1 in 4 starts.

“When you’re training these young horses, and even when you have to stop on them at 2 and wait on them, the ones that showed ability early normally show up and be the better ones in their crop,” Brown said. “This was a filly we always thought a lot of. Unfortunately, she had some minor issues at 2 and Mr. Brant was so patient with her.”

Rastafara returned $6.20 on a $2 win wager and nearly doubled her career earnings to $136,100.

“My philosophy is that those horses who break their maiden at 3 – and we always thought they were amongst the top group in their crop – is to get them in a stake race right away while you can still run against your own age group,” Brown said. “I think she’s getting her experience now. She showed a good dimension today being a little more tactical. As long as she stays healthy, she has a very bright future ahead of her.

“She’s always trained like a horse that we could take anywhere,” Brown continued. “I think she prefers firm ground and we saw that today.”

Brown, a 3-time Saratoga meet winner, extended his mark to 30 wins with 9 racing days remaining at the Spa.

“It’s a morale booster for the barn and gives you confidence moving forward,” said Brown on tallying 8 wins in 2 days. “Any time you’re on a winning streak, it just seems to be contagious throughout the barn. Hopefully, we can keep it going and end the meet strong.”

Ortiz Jr., the winner of the last 3 Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Jockey, has won 5 races the last 2 days, all of whom are Brown trainees.

“Today, the race set up perfect for her,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “She did it the right way and she’s moving forward. I like her. I let that that other horse (Love and Money) go way out in front and I was patient and waited. I just tracked him [Saez] and followed him and tried to be close. I didn’t want to get too far back or be too close without taking my horse out of her race, and she did great. I had a lot of horse under me. Every step of the race, she was moving great. When she started picking it up all on her own, I knew I was in a good position.”

Brown said he could target the 9-furlong $200,000 Sands Point (G2) on October 16 at Belmont Park as Rastafara’s next spot.

“It definitely will be on the radar,” Brown said. “I’ll have to look and see how far this particular horse wants to run, that will play a factor right there. But it will be a race that we consider because it’s at home.”

Third Draft, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, made a strong account of herself in her first stakes appearance of her 8-race career, finishing 1 1/2 lengths clear of Keeper of Time for second.

“I really liked her race today,” Jose Ortiz, Third Draft’s rider, said. “Going a flat mile, she had tactical speed and put me there. She ran a very good race down the lane. I’m very happy with the distance and if she keep performing like this, she can win a stake at this distance or a little bit longer.”

Magisterium finished fourth. Amy C, also trained by Brown, ran fifth, with Designer Ready, Hit the Woah, Love and Money, and Stand by You completing the order of finish. Triple Digit and Minaun scratched.

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