SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Slugo Racing’s Estrechada rallied three-wide down the stretch to shock the field of seven fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes.
Newly-enshrined Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano rode Estrechada in a stalking position behind Apple Betty and the heavily-favored Suffused through opening fractions of :24.36, :49.60, 1:14.34, and 1:38.21.
Off the far turn and set down for the stretch drive, it initially appeared that Apple Betty and Suffused would race side-by-side to the wire. With a final furlong to go, Estrechada found a burst of speed and flanked outside the leaders, then held off a late run from Lottie and Summersault to finish the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon in 2:27.49.
“Everything went well, I had a great position in the race with the way it unfolded,” said Castellano. “It’s a mile and a 1/2 race, and the way she did it, I was impressed. She can run all day. I’m just thankful to ride that kind of horse.”
It was trainer Mike Puype’s second win in as many starts at Saratoga, having won with his only previous entry in the 2011 Test. After his 6-year-old Argentinian-bred mare struggled in her first four starts stateside at Santa Anita, Puype made the decision to send her east in hopes of finding success.
“She likes the distance, I just couldn’t find the distance on the West Coast; it’s just not there,” said Raul Ayers, assistant to Puype. “Last time, she ran a great race, just a troubled trip. Javier did a great job. She got a great trip.”
The Waya was her first victory in America and her first career in group/graded stakes company. The $120,000 winner’s share increased her career earnings to $227,842.
Lottie held off Summersault to take second by a neck. Apple Betty and Suffused faded to fourth and fifth, respectively, with Evidently and Guilty Twelve completing the order of finish. Gone Away was scratched.
Estrechada returned $20 to win, $9.60 to place, and $5.80 to show. Lottie brought back $6.70 to place and $4 to show, while Summersault paid $5.50 to show.