SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Starlight Racing’s Sombeyay battled the length of the stretch to nip Strike Silver at the wire and take the gold in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking from the rail under Javier Castellano as the slight 5-2 favorite, Sombeyay settled in mid-pack early while Bano Solo and Strike Silver dueled heads apart through opening splits of :22.26 and :45.49. Nearing the exit of the far turn, Sombeyay tipped out into the three-path and began chasing after the lead duo. While Bano Solo began weakening in the final 1/16, Sombeyay came roaring along Strike Silver’s outside. In the final jumps, Sombeyay surged past Strike Silver to win by a neck in a final time of 1:10.35 for the 6-furlong main track event.
“It was perfect,” Castellano said. “He broke good out of the gate and put me in the right position. Today, I didn’t want to be too far back. It worked out the way we wanted today. He’s a good come-from-behind horse. It was very satisfying.”
Whiskey Echo overtook a fading Bano Solo for third by a 1/2-length, while Knicks Go, Lexitonian, and Chase Greatness completed the order of finish behind them. Dream Maker was scratched.
Sombeyay’s win was his second in three career starts, with the Sanford and a debut score bookending a near-miss in the $150,000 Tremont Stakes last month. The Todd Pletcher-trained juvenile son of Into Mischief has now earned $136,500 in his young career.
“I thought he ran really well,” Pletcher said after winning his seventh Sanford, a record. “Showed a little more speed than I thought he would. Javier had to take a bit of a hold of him at one point, but when he took him out, he finished up nicely. I think in these early 2-year-old races, experience is huge. Having two starts compared to others with only one, I think that helped today. I think it hurt him a little the last time when he stumbled, you could argue that it helped him today. ”
Sombeyay returned $7.70 to win, $4 to place, and $2.70 to show. Strike Silver brought back $4.30 to place and $3.20 to show, while Whiskey Echo paid $3.60 to show.