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LEXINGTON, KY – Flagstaff collared dueling leaders Special Reserve and Bango inside the 1/16 pole and drew off for a 1 1/4-length victory.
Trained by John Sadler and ridden Joel Rosario, Flagstaff covered the 7 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:21.84. The victory was the third in the race for Rosario, whose previous victories came in 2012 with Lonesome Street and 2017 with Awesome Slew.
Special Reserve led a tight pack through fractions of :22.98 and :45.97 as Flagstaff raced in midpack on the inside. Turning for home, Rosario angled Flagstaff to the outside with Special Reserve, Bango, and Mucho still to catch, a task he gradually accomplished.
The victory was worth $120,000 and increased Flagstaff’s earnings to $703,285 with a record of 18-6-6-3. It is the second Grade 2 victory for the 7-year-old gelded Kentucky-bred son of Speightstown out of the A.P. Indy mare Indyan Giving.
Sent off as the favorite in the field of seven, Flagstaff returned $5.80, $3.40, and $2.60. Special Reserve, ridden by Gerardo Corrales, returned $8.60 and $5 as he saved the runner-up spot by a nose over Attachment Rate, who paid $4 to show under Luis Saez.
It was another 3/4 of a length back to Bango, who was followed in order by Mucho, Hog Creek Hustle, and Hidden Scroll.
Rosario: “I was thinking (about) trying to get out at some point. With an inside post position, I just had to be there. He broke really sharp and I was in a good spot, and I was just waiting to be in the clear when I could get going forward.
“He was running for me (coming into the stretch). Sometimes you know how much you have when you start moving, but I stopped moving and he kept moving forward, so I felt very good about how much horse I had.”
Bill Farish of co-owner Lane’s End Racing: “When you have the 1 post, you either send him or you don’t, and it looked like (Joel) was sending him in the beginning and maybe the horse just got outfooted a little bit. But when he swung him outside, he really made a great run. It’s really fun to have an older gelding like him. He just keeps coming on big days and winning big races, and it’s a lot of fun for everybody involved.”
Mike Maker, trainer, Special Reserve: “He made a really good effort – was trying very hard down the lane.”
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