SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – After a pair of close misses earlier in the season, LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s Casa Creed finally broke through to win a graded event when he narrowly defeated Sombeyay in Friday’s $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 5 under Junior Alvarado as the 2/1 favorite, Casa Creed sat a path off of the rail while Award Winner posted opening fractions of :23.41 and :47.37. Heading into the far turn, Sombeyay pushed through an opening inside of the leader and began to advance along the rail. Alvarado noticed and encouraged Casa Creed to move three-wide around Award Winner.
At the top of the stretch, Sombeyay had the narrow lead over Award Winner, but Casa Creed ran after him from the middle of the track. The two dueled fiercely, but in the shadow of the wire, Casa Creed dug down and powered past Sombeyay to win. The Bill Mott trainee completed the mile-long event over the firm inner turf course in 1:33.72, just 0.59 seconds off of the track record that Macagone set earlier on the card.
“I got a little worried at the 3/8 pole,” Alvarado said. “I thought I had the race measured. I never thought (Somebeyay) was going to come through the rail at that point. I let the horse in front kind of go at a nice pace. Then (when) the horse squeezed through the rail, it made things a little harder and I had to start working a little early, but I knew turning for home that he’s a fighter and he never gives up.”
Sombeyay was valiant in defeat, taking second by 1 3/4 lengths over Global Access. Fourth went to English Bee by a nose over Swamp Rat, while Award Winner wilted to sixth, taking that by a nose over Limonite. Completing the order of finish came Moon Colony.
Casa Creed’s win was his second in a stakes event, having taken January’s Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park in his turf debut. The 3-year-old son of Jimmy Creed now sports a record of 11-3-2-1 with $364,508 earned.
“He really showed us a lot of courage the entire stretch run,” Mott said. “He was very courageous, and it looked like he gave it everything he had. We’ve run him pretty hard. I don’t think we’ll be running him back at the meet. It’s probably over for him for this meet. He has given us a lot, so we’ll probably give him a short little break.”
Casa Creed returned $6 to win, $3.70 to place, and $2.90 to show. Sombeyay brought back $8.10 to place and $5.80 to show, while Global Access paid $5.80 to show.