SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Christophe Clement’s Decorated Invader is still perfect in 2020 after a strong score in Saturday’s $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
Decorated Invader hit the gate as he and jockey Javier Castellano broke from the far outside post as the 2/5 favorite in the field of five. Get Smokin took the lead from post 3 and raced in the middle of the lane until crossing over safely in the clubhouse turn.
Decorated Invader recovered from his gate mishap and sat several lengths off in second while Get Smokin posted opening fractions of :23.85, :48.98, and 1:13.52. Though able to run freely to start, Get Smokin’s lengthy early advantage disappeared in the far turn.
Leading the cavalry as he closed the gap, Decorated Invader straightened for home within range of the pacesetter. Though Get Smokin had caught a breather and still had something left in his tank, Decorated Invader’s class and talent helped him overtake the lead at the 1/8 pole.
A late run from Domestic Spending came up short as the Christophe Clement-trained Decorated Invader crossed 1 1/4 lengths the best in a final time of 1:49.29 for the 1 1/8-mile firm inner turf route.
“I thought I would be a little closer, but the other horse was off the rail and in the middle of the track,” Rosario said. “I followed him for a little bit but I ended up letting my horse be comfortable. I took my time and made my move when it was the right time to move. … When I got to the horse on the lead turning for home, he kept running a little bit. He had been all alone on the lead, but I could feel I had a lot of horse underneath me and (Decorated Invader) was moving much the best.”
Get Smokin held onto second by a nose over Domestic Spending, himself 3/4 of a length ahead of Moon Over Miami. Further back came Ever Dangerous to complete the order of finish.
Money Moves and Gufo were scratched.
Decorated Invader’s win followed victories in the Cutler Bay Stakes and the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G2). The 3-year-old Declaration of War colt improved his overall record to 7-5-1-0 with $453,035 earned for co-owners West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman, William Sandbrook, and Cheryl Manning.
“He’s a top-class horse and has been since day one for me,” Clement said. “I love him. I love the way he trains. I love the way he races. It’s a different scenario every time we run him, but the final outcome is the same. I thought he looked better in the last 1/16 of a mile than he did before that. He actually won going away at the end.”
Decorated Invader returned $2.80 to win and $2.10 to place, while Get Smokin paid $4.90 to place. There was no show betting.