SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Walking L Thoroughbreds’ Fighting Seabee shot sharply from the gate and never looked back, running the table to wire Wednesday’s $150,000 With Anticipation Stakes (G3) at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 4 at 5/1 odds under Brian Hernandez, Jr., Fighting Seabee vied for command along the outside of Fly Fly Away early before gaining prominence and posting opening fractions of :24.21, :50.50, and 1:14.97. Heading into the far turn, Fighting Seabee cleared and cut over to save ground.
Field Pass and Andesite made outside bids midway through the turn, and at the top of the stretch, it looked like Field Pass would be able to gun down the leader. Fighting Seabee dug in gamely and fought back, refusing to let Field Pass get any closer.
Drawing off late, Fighting Seabee crossed the wire a length clear in a final time of 1:43.34 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the firm inner turf course.
“We got lucky,” said Hernandez, Jr. “No one else really went and our horse put us in a nice spot going on the backside, and from the second turn home, we were confident that he would go on and he did. I thought a couple of them would go, but being on the inner turf like that and knowing our horse was having his second start, I just wanted to make sure that I was letting him get away from there. I had the confidence in knowing that if I gave him a good trip around the first turn, he could take care of the rest for us, and that’s how it worked out today.”
Field Pass remained second-best, finishing 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Andesite. The 6/5 favorite Our Country had a very eventful trip, stumbling out of the gate and then running very rank up the inside into the first turn. His antics greatly hindered Andesite and Tuggle, who trailed after the incident and never recovered. Fly Fly Away faltered in the far turn and finished fifth ahead of only Tuggle. Eagerly and Jack the Ripper were trainer scratches.
Fighting Seabee’s win was his second in as many career starts after breaking his maiden on July 6 going 1 mile over the Ellis Park lawn. The juvenile son of Summer Front, purchased for $105,000 as a juvenile, has now earned $112,500.
“We’ve had our luck with our horses breaking their maidens at Ellis earlier in the season,” McPeek said. “Of course, this horse was ready before this meet started. He won down there going two turns and we wanted to keep him at two turns. He’s been a horse that’s been really easy. We’ve been around enough young horses over the years that the good ones stand out. He’s never been outworked in the mornings, and up to now, in the afternoon as well. It’s a good position to be in, and hopefully, he takes us to the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf [G1]).”
Fighting Seabee returned $12.60 to win, $6.70 to place, and $4.10 to show. Field Pass brought back $4.70 to place and $3.40 to show, while Andesite paid $3.80 to show.