SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Guapaza took the lead in the stretch and held off Suffused by a head in an exciting conclusion to Saturday’s 13th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares 3-year-olds-and-up on Saratoga Race Course’s inner turf.
Photo Call set fractions of 23.28, 48.25, 1:13.04 and 1:37.98 to establish a quick pace. Under jockey Javier Castellano, Guapaza went four-wide coming out of the turn and rallied to the front just outside the eighth pole. Suffused, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, was third entering the stretch and challenged from the outside to force a photo finish.
Trainer Chad Brown posted his fourth victory of the day to add to his meet-leading total. He has won all five graded turf stakes this year at the Spa and is 8-for-8 in stakes starts. Brown has registered seven wins in the last two days.
“It’s hard; it’s very difficult here,” Brown said of his barn’s performance. “You have to have the right people help you. We all work together as a team, me and my staff. [We have ] good horses, patient owners, and they’re all in the different races on a different surfaces. When you try to set a plan up and hope for good weather and racing luck — they are so many things that have to go your way. This last stretch a lot things have gone our way. We thrilled with today. Pretty much all of the horses fired today. There is a lot of planning that goes into each day here and each race. It feels good when a plan comes together.”
The Chilean-bred Guapaza completed the 1 1/2-mile course in 2:25.96 for her first career graded stakes victory and second straight overall win after taking the River Memories on July 10 at Belmont Park.
In winning her debut at the Spa, Guapaza improved her career record to 8-6-4 in 22 career starts and 2-1-2 in five career starts since coming to the United States.
“She was a little farther behind this time, usually she positions herself [closer], but they came out running a little bit quick and I thought that was my best shot, to get behind horses,” Castellano said. “It was great; the way she did it was amazing. Usually, she falls into position and this time, to come from behind and the way she finished, those kind of horses you take advantage of. You never know when you can use that and give your horse the best shot.”
Guapaza, the 7-2 favorite, paid $9 on a $2 win wager and improved her career earnings to $381,030.
“The field was strung out; I really didn’t expect the race to be run that way,” Brown said. “The first quarter maybe and then after that the fractions were reasonable, and I was a little worried that Photo Call was going to take them all the way. Guapaza proved best carrying top weight. She went wide part of the race, and had to move a little sooner than he wanted, Javier said, because someone came outside of him and kind of forced him to go. She really ran the best race today.”
Achnaha, Ball Dancing, Desiree Clary, Photo Call, Trophee, Vielsalm and Real Smart completed the order of finish. Al’s Gal was scratched.
The Waya is named for champion mare who won six of her nine starts after coming to the United States in 1978 following multiple stakes wins in Europe. She won four straight stakes in New York and California, including the Top Flight in her first-ever appearances on dirt, as well as a win over males in the Grade 1 Man o’ War.