SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Gary Barber’s Jack and Noah shot out to an insurmountable early lead that he carried all the way home to trounce his rivals in Wednesday’s $85,000 Mahony Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking from the far outside post 9 under John Velazquez as the 5/1 third choice, Jack and Noah immediately left his rivals behind, jumping out to a 6-length lead by the time he had run 1/4 of a mile.
With a tremendous display of social distancing, Jack and Noah posted opening fractions of :21.50 and :43.55 while Competitive Saint led the rest of the eight-horse field.
Velazquez never asked Jack and Noah for his best before crossing 3 1/4 dominating lengths the best in a final time of 1:01.28 for the 5 1/2-furlong outer turf sprint.
“He was out of there right from the start,” Velazquez said. “Last time, the track was a little bit soft, so it took him a couple of strides to get out of the gate. Today, the track had a little more grip to it, so he got a nice grip coming out of there. All the way around the turn, I knew he was going well. I was just hoping that down the stretch, things would go our way, and they did. I was proud of the horse’s effort.”
Much of the remaining entries played merry-go-round behind the runaway winner, led by Competitive Saint, who was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Buy Land and See.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the pack’s finish came when Island Commish took fourth by a head and a neck, respectively, over Flap Jack and the 9/5 favorite Maven. The winner’s stablemate Old Chestnut and longshot Power Up Paynter completed the order of finish.
Cajun Casanova and Turned Aside were scratched. Sky of Hook was a Main Track Only entry.
Jack and Noah’s win was his second of the year following June’s Sir Cat Stakes and improved his overall record to 8-4-1-0 with $216,300 earned. The French-bred Bated Breath colt gave trainer Mark Casse his first victory of the 2020 Saratoga meet, ending the Hall of Fame conditioner’s 0-for-31 slide.
“It’s one of those things where if we had a few wins, we’d be having a decent enough meet,” said assistant trainer Jamie Begg. “We’ve been pretty consistent with the graded horses hitting the board. We just needed to get one, and having it be in a stake with a horse coming back is pretty good.”
Jack and Noah returned $12 to win, $6.10 to place, and $4.10 to show. Competitive Saint brought back $6.50 to place and $4.10 to show, while Buy Land and See paid $3.30 to show.