SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – In a spirited duel that lasted the length of the stretch, Charles Fipke’s homebred Verve’s Tale prevailed by a nose over Blue Prize to win Sunday’s $100,000 Summer Colony Stakes.
Away in good order from the rail, jockey Jose Ortiz put Verve’s Tale in a stalking position behind Blue Prize and the early leader Annie Rocks, who set fractions of :24.71, :49.34, and 1:12.99. Exiting the far turn, Annie Rocks dropped off, allowing Verve’s Tale to engage Blue Prize for a battle to the wire. The pair fought gamely through to the end, with Verve’s Tale ultimately getting the winning head-bob in a final time of 1:50.53 for the 1 1/8-mile dirt event.
“I was in second for a little at the top of the stretch, and she had the blinkers on, so I didn’t want to go with her too early because of the blinkers,” Ortiz said. “She broke good and she won, making it a little easier for me, I thought. She dug in at the half mile making her very hard to pass.”
Nearly 7 lengths farther back, Fuhriously Kissed was no match for the top two but was the best of the rest, crossing in third. Annie Rocks and Romantic Vision completed the order of finish. Going for Broke was scratched.
“The jockey rode her beautifully, you can’t complain about that,” said winning trainer Barclay Tagg. “She didn’t seem to skip across the top of it as easily as she does other times, but I think he (Ortiz) got the race won for her. She tries hard and she’s probably a step away from being a really, really good horse. You can’t be mad if they try hard.”
The win was the first of 2017 for Verve’s Tale, who last took home top honors in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on November 26. Her record now stands at 14-3-6-2 with $420,500 in career earnings.
Verve’s Tale returned $3.70 to win, $2.70 to place, and $2.10 to show. Blue Prize brought back $4.80 place and $3.10 to show, while Fuhriously Kissed paid $2.80 to show.