SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Team Valor International’s homebred Oleksandra waited until the right moment to split foes and get up in time to win Saturday’s $100,000 Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 7 under Joel Rosario as the 4/1 second choice, Oleksandra took back and watched as Too Much Tip and Morticia dueled up front through opening fractions of :21.37 and :43.29.
Off the far turn, Rosario waited as a six-wide wall of horses momentarily blocked his path. As soon as space appeared between Morticia and Fire Key in mid-stretch, Oleksandra fired through it and was quickly on the front end.
Crossing under a hand ride, Oleksandra completed the 5 1/2-furlong firm turf sprint in 1:00.40 – just 0.19 seconds off of the record that Carotari set earlier on the card.
“She ran very nice today,” Rosario said. “This was a good race. She wants someone to follow a little bit. With the 5 1/2, they went fast up front, and I was always in hand and trying to save a little ground the last turn, and then we took it from there. She just ran by everybody. I waited a little bit, just to have a little extra finish at the end. I didn’t want to let loose just to save a little bit.”
Miss Gossip ran down the middle of the track to neck out Ruby Notion for second, while 3/4 of a length back, Morticia did the same to Fire Key. Broadway Run and a spent Too Much Tip completed the order of finish.
Lady’s Island and Lezendary were main track only scratches.
Oleksandra’s win was her first at the stakes level and fourth of 2019 to improve her career record to 11-5-2-2. The lightly-raced 5-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom has now earned $241,953.
Oleksandra returned $10 to win, $5.50 to place, and $4.10 to show. Miss Gossip brought back $20.20 to place and $9.50 to show, while Ruby Notion paid $6.20 to show.