SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Amy Dunne’s Leinster took advantage of a missing world-beater to pull off an 11/2 upset in record-setting time in Saturday’s $200,000 Troy Stakes (G3) at Saratoga.
Breaking from the far outside post under Tyler Gaffalione as the fourth choice in the stout field of five, Leinster rode in third early. Rocket Heat burned up the track up front early, posting fractions of :20.82 and :43.01. Off the turn, Leinster charged after the leader alongside the Christophe Clement-trained duo of Pure Sensation and Disco Partner.
Rocket Heat gave way halfway home and Disco Partner initially grabbed the lead along the inside, but Leinster dug deep and fought past him in deep stretch. The Rusty Arnold trainee crossed with a 3/4-length advantage to complete the 5 1/2-furlong firm outer turf sprint. His final time of 1:00.23 bested the 1:00.46 that Lady Shipman posted while winning the 2015 edition of the Smart N Fancy Stakes.
“It set up perfect,” Gaffalione said. “The speed went on and we were able to track them in a nice stalking position. When I asked him for run coming into the stretch, he kicked on and finished the job nicely. He galloped out well. He seems to keep improving every time he runs. Rusty and his team have done a great job with him.”
Disco Partner, the 2016 champion, could not hold off the eventual winner but crossed a length ahead of Pure Sensation, who became the 8/5 bettors’ choice after the 3/5 morning line favorite World of Trouble scratched with a hoof bruise. A non-threatening Wet Your Whistle nosed out a fading Rocket Heat to complete the order of finish.
Leinster’s win was third straight following victories over the same turf distance at Keeneland (where he broke his maiden against allowance company) and Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old son of Majestic Warrior, purchased for $85,000 as a yearling, increased his career earnings mark to $300,111 to match a record of 16-3-4-3.
“This weekend has been good,” Arnold said. “This horse just got good when we started sprinting him on the grass. He’s 3-for-3. I guess it took a long time for us to figure out what he wanted to do, but he figured it out. It’s obviously a fast course and he seemed to like it.”
Leinster returned $13 to win and $5.50 to place, while Disco Partner brought back $3.30 to place. There was no show betting.