Fortify romps on debut, earns spot on New York Watch
It was only a matter of minutes after Fortify had broken his maiden on
Saturday at Saratoga that his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, stamped him as a
contender for the Grade 2 Hopeful, the featured race on closing day.
|The royally-bred Fortify stamped his ticket to the Hopeful
Making his debut in Saturday's
race, Fortify led exiting the chute in the 6 1/2-furlong race before yielding
the top spot to Boss Man Rocket. Fortify remained off the flank of the
pacesetter through an opening quarter mile in :21 3/5, regained the top spot
with three eighths to travel, led through a half in :44 2/5, and slipped clear
when set down by Joe Bravo en route to a 5 1/2-length victory.
The final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:16 1/5, with Fortify paying $10.40 as
the 4-1 fourth choice. With the win, the two-year-old son of Distorted Humor
becomes the fourth juvenile and first colt from the 2012 Saratoga meet to join
the New York Watch, which profiles promising maiden winners on The New York
Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit.
"He has trained very well and we were looking for a very good performance out
of him, but that was pretty special," McLaughlin said. "The fractions were very
fast. He was laying second, just off them. He acted up a little bit in the gate
-- we'll have to work on that -- but we were just happy to see him run so well."
Fortify, a Darley Stable homebred, is out of Kotuku, a placed daughter of
Flagbird, who was awarded highweight honors in England, Ireland, and Italy, with
her top win coming in the Group 1 Premio Presidente Della Repubblica in Italy.
Flagbird produced three stakes-placed runners, including Dubai Belle, herself
the dam of Grade 1 Ashland winner Little Belle. Little Belle, like Kotuku, is by
A.P. Indy. Another daughter of Flagbird, Scarlet Ibis, has produced this
season's impressive Group 3 Albany queen Newfangled.
Fortify also hails from the family of Ashland and Grade 1 Acorn heroine
Prospectors Delite, the dam of Horse of the Year and sire Mineshaft.
The seven-furlong Hopeful will be contested on Labor Day, September 3.
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