SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Rarely does a horse privately purchased out of a claiming race return next out to face stakes foe, but Shekky Shebaz did that – and then some – after he shook free from the gate to wire Friday’s $100,000 Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 6 under Jose Ortiz at 5/2 odds, Shekky Shebaz showed tremendous early speed and secured command straight away. Nobody gave early pressure as Shekky Shebaz strolled through opening fractions of :22.40 and :44.39.
Still holding a good advantage as he straightened for home, Shekky Shebaz held sway under only mild urging to win the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the firm turf course by 1 3/4 lengths. The Lucky Coin, restricted to non-winners of a stakes race in 2019, was his first start for new trainer Jason Servis and new co-owners Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables.
“I knew he was a very good horse out of the gate, and with Jason (training), I was expecting him to break a little quicker, which he did,” said Ortiz, who was also aboard Shekky Shebaz in his previous start. “He put me there very easily. From the 1/2-mile pole, I just gave him control.”
Final Frontier tracked from second throughout but could never gain on the eventual winner before settling for second. The 7/5 favorite Disco Partner trailed early and didn’t get the pace setup needed for his explosive kick to work, which left him finishing third. Square Shooter and Strike Power completed the order of finish. Fig Jelly, Fixed Point, Lonhtwist, and Mustaaqeem were scratched.
Shekky Shebaz’s win was his second straight, having taken a turf sprint here on June 27 while running unclaimed for $25,000. The 4-year-old gelded son of Cape Blanco improved his record to 15-5-4-2 with $186,375 earned.
“He came into the race good,” said Henry Argueta, assistant to Servis. “We only had him for a few weeks, but he was training well into the race and was in good shape.”
Shekky Shebaz returned $7.50 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.30 to show. Final Frontier brought back $3.20 to place and $2.20 to show, while Disco Partner paid $2.10 to show.