SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Stronach Stables’ homebred Green Light Go took command at the top of the stretch and blasted off to a resounding score in Saturday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite.
Breaking from post 3 under Junior Alvarado as the 3/2 favorite, Green Light Go was content to sit in fifth while a four-wide wall dueled for the lead. Ahead of him, Long Weekend and Tuggle held a slim narrow margin over Iberico and Zyramid while posting opening fractions of :21.71 and :44.16.
Passing a pair of foes in the far turn, Green Light Go emerged onto the front stretch running three-wide outside of Long Weekend and Tuggle. Long Weekend quickly gave way, and though Tuggle attempted to keep pace, he proved no match for Green Light Go.
Under wraps as he widened his advantage in deep stretch, the Jimmy Jerkens trainee crossed in a final time of 1:15.68 for the 6 1/2-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“We knew coming into the race it was going to be a test for him to see what he could handle,” Alvarado said. “I told Jimmy, ‘Let’s leave the gate running and if he takes the lead on his own, that’s fine; and if not, I’m not going to rush him off his feet.’ But I knew I had to get him out of there. I put him in the race and he handled everything very professionally. I was just a pilot on top of him. I knew how much horse I had the whole way, and I was very excited at the way he was handling the kick-back and just rating behind horses very kindly. We knew how good he was and I trusted him there.”
After appearing to break a step slow, Noose trailed the field for much of the running, but he did produce a spirited stretch run effort to get up for second ahead of Tuggle. Peruvian Boy passed tiring horses in the stretch to take fourth over Zyramid and Long Weekend, while Iberico was well-beaten before completing the order of finish. King Snake was scratched.
Green Light Go’s win was his second in as many career starts, having broken his maiden on debut at Belmont Park on July 4. The juvenile son of Hard Spun, bred by the Stronach Stables’ breeding arm Adena Springs, has now earned $154,000.
“He ran well without having to be on the lead and that was good to see,” Jerkens said. “The track has been so speed-favoring initially. I told Junior to take him out of there and don’t discourage him from running, but if someone really wants the lead, that it’d be fine. It turned out he didn’t break quite as fast as his first start, but it worked out well. He sat in the pocket, just nice up against the bridle. He didn’t care about taking dirt, which was really nice to see. He leaned a little in the stretch; maybe (he’s) a little green, but I guess he’s still learning, too. He had good, purposeful works between races and has handled it. He was also composed in the paddock, so we might really have a nice one here.”
Green Light Go returned $5.10 to win, $2.90 to place, and $2.40 to show. Noose brought back $3.80 to place and $2.90 to show, while Tuggle paid $4.10 to show.