SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – William and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Mitole bounced back from his first defeat in eight starts to motor home in stakes-record time in Saturday’s $600,000 Forego Stakes Presented by Encore Boston Harbor (G1) at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 3 under Ricardo Santana, Jr., as the 4/5 favorite, Mitole immediately went for the lead but was met with a challenge from the rail-breaking Promises Fulfilled. The pair raced heads apart through opening fractions of :23.05 and :45.58.
Midway through the far turn, Promises Fulfilled hit a wall while Mitole hit the accelerator, and it was all over from there. Edging clear by the top of the stretch, Mitole drew off to win the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track by 3 lengths. The Steve Asmussen trainee completed the event in a final time of 1:20.80, a record for the Forego and only 0.4 seconds off of the course mark that Darby Creek Road set in 1978.
“Today, he broke sharp and put himself in a position where he wanted to be,” said Santana, Jr. “He’s a really nice horse to ride and he does everything right. We (went) slow in the first couple of (fractions). My horse was comfortable in the position he was. He put himself in a great spot.”
After running within striking distance early, Firenze Fire was unable to keep pace with the winner but was able to outleg a stubborn Killybegs Captain for second by 3/4 of a length. Air Strike broke awkwardly at the start and was unable to recover well enough to finish better than fourth. Bon Raison and an empty Promises Fulfilled completed the order of finish.
Mitole’s win was a sharp return to form after finishing a well-beaten third last time out in the Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) here on July 27. The 4-year-old son of Eskendereya now sports a career line of 13-9-2-2 with $2,004,910 earned.
“I think the circumstances for the Vanderbilt just didn’t suit him; coming off the huge run in the Met Mile (G1) and cutting back to 3/4 (of a mile),” Asmussen said. “But he came out of the race in good shape, trained beautifully for this, and the results speak for themselves.”
Mitole returned $3.80 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.10 to show. Firenze Fire brought back $4.10 to play and $3.10 to show, while Killybegs Captain paid $6 to show.