SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Barry K. Schwartz’s Voodoo Song capped off one heck of a Saratoga summer, winning for a meet-best fourth time in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac.
Beginning the meet by winning an 8 1/2-furlong, $40,000 claiming race on July 22, trainer Linda Rice entered him back only four days later, where he was again victorious, this time in an 11-furlong, $75,000 allowance race. Rice gave the 3-year-old son of English Channel a four-week respite before taking an 8 1/2-furlong, $78,000 optional claimer race on August 23.
“The reason I’ve run him back so many times is he likes this course, he likes the configuration,” Rice said. “I really wanted to get into the allowance race earlier in the card because I thought that was a logical spot. When I could see where were going to be five or six deep on the also-eligibles, I thought we’d be better off putting him in the Saranac.”
As they’d done in the previous three races, Voodoo Song and regular rider Jose Lezcano took an immediately commanding lead. The 8-5 favorite Bricks and Mortar made an early move heading into the far turn to challenge the leader, but as he pulled up alongside, Voodoo Song repelled him and kicked away by 2 lengths off of the turn. Yoshida made his bid in mid-stretch, but it was too little, too late, as Voodoo Song crossed the line first by a neck in a final hand-time of 1:46.18 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“He broke to the lead and that was it,” Lezcano said. “That was the only strategy going in; let him go and let him break lose. I know we were going fast, but that is how he likes it, running free. If you make him hang around, he throws his head, so we let him go. He’s happier that way, and you saw the rest.”
Bricks and Mortar re-rallied enough to cross 3/4 of a length behind the winner in third. Rocketry was up late by a nose for fourth over Mr Havercamp, with Makarios, Caviar Czar, and Master Plan completing the order of finish. Mo Maverick was scratched.
The victory improved Voodoo Song’s record to 9-5-1-0. The $180,000 winner’s shared doubled his career earnings to $360,485.
Voodoo Song paid $14.40 to win, $7.20 to place, and $4.30 to show. Yoshida paid $4.20 to place and $3 to show, while Bricks and Mortar paid $2.60 to show.