SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Golconda Stables’ March X Press became the latest 2-year-old star in trainer Todd Pletcher’s ever-impressive barn when she exploded late to take Wednesday’s $100,000 Bolton Landing Stakes.
Fairyland broke to the lead with Buy Sell Hold to her immediate outside and set fractions of :21.79 and :44.15 while March X Press sat comfortably in sixth, 7 lengths off of the pace.
It took every bit of effort from jockey Jose Ortiz to get March X Press through the traffic jam at the top of the stretch, especially with a very green Sly Beauty unsteady just ahead of her. Once March X Press stuck her nose through the jam, the daughter of Shanghai Bobby took off, beating Fairyland and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., to the wire by 1/2 a length. The final time for the 5 1/2-furlong turf race was 1:01.69.
“There was a moment there where things got a little crowded and she showed a lot of bravery on her second start to push her way through there,” Pletcher said. “She has an explosive turn of foot in that last part. She had to push her way through a little bit, and for a lightly raced filly to do that, it is impressive.”
March X Press entered off of her maiden-breaking debut just 14 days earlier, when she overcame a poor start and used a similar late charge to take that 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint by a neck.
“I was a little worried about (her coming back in two weeks), but she was ready to run,” Ortiz said. “She broke much better today, I was happy to see that. I went through a tight hole around the 3/16 pole, but she’s got a lot of heart, she made it through, and I think that’s the point where we won the race. When I made it through the hole, I knew I was going to win. There wasn’t a lot of race left, and I saw the horse in front of me was getting tired.”
Fairyland held on for second, finishing a 1/2-length ahead of Sugar Queen. Life Time Citizen, Buy Sell Hold, Sly Beauty, and Madame X completed the order of finish. Mentality was scratched because she is also entered and will compete in Friday’s $100,000 Skidmore, another 5 1/2-furlong turf race for 2-year-olds featuring seven males as her foes.
Pletcher said that the state-bred March X Press could be seen next in the Grade 1 Natalma on September 17 at Woodbine.
March X Press returned $6.80 to win, $3.90 to place, and $2.80 to show. Fairyland brought back $4.60 to place and $3.30 to show, while Sugar Queen paid $3.10 to show.