SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Three Diamonds Farm’s Cross Border proved to be easily the best in Wednesday’s inaugural running of the $85,000 Lubash Stakes for New York-breds at Saratoga.
Jockey Jose Ortiz was aboard as Cross Border broke from the rail as the 1/5 favorite in the scratch-shortened field of four. Shortly before passing the wire for the first time, Ortiz tugged back and angled Cross Border out to run three-wide heading into the clubhouse turn.
Up front, Blewitt held a narrow advantage inside of The J Y through opening fractions of :25.48, :48.95, and 1:12.49. Cross Border remained behind and in the clear and Rapt trailed heading into the far turn.
Given the green light at the top of the stretch, Cross Border easily swept past the front-runners and was kept to a hand drive through to the wire. The Mike Maker trainee crossed 6 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:41.75 for the 1 1/16-mile firm outer turf route.
“He can go for bigger things in the future,” Ortiz said. “He did it pretty easy. I knew I had the 1-hole, so I decided to take him back from the get-go and put him in that winning position. I knew Blewitt had some speed and the other horse outside me (The J Y) had some speed, too. I didn’t want get into a bad position with him; I just wanted to ride him like he was much the best.”
Rapt rallied from last to nose out Blewitt for second. The J Y faded to fourth, completing the order of finish.
Dante’s Fire was scratched. Yankee Division was a Main Track Only entrant.
Cross Border’s win was his first since an open-company allowance score last November and improved his overall record to 25-8-5-1 (including 4 wins from 4 local starts) with $396,971 earned. The 6-year-old English Channel gelding nearly won the Manhattan Stakes (G1) last time out, leading throughout before getting caught late and missing by just 1 length.
“He’s done well in the past stalking, but on paper, he looked like the class,” Maker said. “I think his tactical speed helps him, but also being a New York-bred and the conditions he had really helped him last year. Plus, it was a four-horse field here, and a drop in class can’t hurt.”
Cross Border returned $2.60 to win and $2.10 to place, while Rapt paid $3.30 to place. There was no show betting.