SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Rolling thunderstorms darkened the track as Varenka and Regal Glory crossed the wire in tandem, making the photo finish too difficult to see clearly and resulting in a dead-heat to decide Saturday’s $200,000 Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
Blowout shot out of the gate the sharpest and posted uncontested easy fractions of :26.36, :51.10, and 1:15.39. Behind her, Varenka and Regal Glory settled comfortably in fifth and fourth, respectively.
Heading into the far turn, the two began advancing toward the front, and as they straightened for home, both were all-out to catch the leader. Along with Amandrea, it was a four-horse battle in deep stretch, with each filly refusing to yield. At the wire, it was too close to call a winner between the bobs, and the photo finish agreed, as Varenka and Regal Glory were ruled to have cross at the same time.
“You have to be lucky,” said Javier Castellano, rider aboard the Graham Motion-trained Varenka. “Those ‘bobs’ can go either way. It was a very exciting race and those two horses showed up and I rode to win. In the moment, I thought I had won the race, but after watching the replay, I thought it could go either way.”
Blowout was just a neck back in third, with another 1/2-length to Amandrea in fourth. Vow to Recover and Feel Glorious completed the order of finish, though all six runners were within 2 1/4 lengths of each other in the end.
Wildlife was scratched, while Team Win was a main track only entry.
Varenka’s win was her second straight and first at the stakes level, though she had hit the board in three prior attempts against stakes foes. The 3-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper now carries a mark of 8-3-2-2 with $278,100 earned for owner Augustin Stable.
Regal Glory’s win was her third straight following scores in the Penn Oaks and the Lake George Stakes (G3). The 3-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom, ridden by Luis Saez, improved her career record to 7-5-2-0 with $431,750 earned for owner/breeder Paul Pompa, Jr.
“Both horses finished great to run into a slow pace like that,” said Chad Brown, trainer of both Regal Glory and Blowout. “I thought Luis did a great job.”
Varenka returned $2.90 to win, $3.10 to place, and $2.60 to show. Regal Glory brought back $3.10 to win, $3.10 to place, and $2.50 to show. Blowout paid $2.60 to show.