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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – StarLadies Racing and Glen Hill Farm’s Miss Interpret overtook Sail By and Let’s Be Clear from the outside in the final furlong to post a 1 1/2-length victory in Thursday’s $120,000 P.G. Johnson for 2-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
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The 17th edition of the P.G. Johnson, moved off the inner turf to the main track and from its original distance of 1 1/16 miles to 7 furlongs, saw Sail By under jockey Junior Alvarado lead the pared-down four-horse field through an opening 1/4-mile in 24.43 seconds and the 1/2 in 47.86 on a track labeled fast.
Sail By kept to the inside out of the turn and maintained her slight edge on Let’s Be Clear. Miss Interpret, a Main Track Only entrant who went off as the 3/5 favorite, sat in third position when entering the final 1/8 of a mile. The Street Sense filly, trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, thrived with a clear path in front, running down Let’s Be Clear to her immediate inside before collaring Sail By in the final 1/16, hitting the wire in 1:24.80.
“She takes a little bit of riding,” Ortiz said. “I knew entering the stretch that she would keep me in touch with them and I could beat them turning for home. She can stretch out in distance just fine. I think the longer they go, the better it will be for her.”
Miss Interpret, who broke her maiden at third asking last out on July 25 at the Spa, improved to 2-1-0 in 4 starts.
“It’s a good win for her,” Pletcher said. “I wasn’t sure (if the race would come off the turf). We had a bunch of rain yesterday, but I thought with it being later in the day, it might stay on.”
The $100,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale returned $3.50 on a $2 win wager and improved her career earnings to $141,375.
“We needed to stay close,” Pletcher said. “We anticipated the 8 (Let’s Be Clear) would be on the lead, but I think she stumbled leaving there and that changed the complexion of the first 1/8 (of a mile) a little bit. Jose was able to get her in the position we wanted and she was able to keep wearing them down.”
Let’s Be Clear rallied for second by a nose, edging Sail By under rider Manny Franco. Trained by Brad Cox, Let’s Be Clear has finished first or second in all 3 of her career starts following her maiden-breaking score on July 21 at Saratoga.
“I was in a good spot,” Franco said. “I was just trying to make it a little more difficult for the winner (Miss Interpret). That’s what we did, but she was much the best.”
Sail By, trained by Leah Gyarmati, earned black type for a second consecutive start after finishing second in the Colleen on August 1 at Monmouth Park. Runaway Breeze completed the order of finish.
Expand the Map, Philly Eagles, Silvery Rill, Take the Backroads, and Mystic Eyes scratched.
Live racing resumes Friday at Saratoga with a 10-race card highlighted by the $120,000 Lucky Coin for 4-year-olds and up who have not won a stakes this year in race 9 at 5:39 PM. Eastern. First post is 1:05 PM.
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