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Saginaw scores 10th win of 2012 with Gravesend victory

Saginaw lived up to his 1-2 favoritism and reaffirmed his status as the winningest horse in New York this year on Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct, outdueling Royal Currier through the stretch to take the 54th running of the $71,250 Gravesend Handicap and notch his 10th victory of 2012.

With Junior Alvarado in the irons, the six-year-old gelding tracked Royal Currier through opening fractions of :23 1/5 and :45 4/5 before drawing alongside the pacesetter and prevailing by a length after a stretch-long duel.

"He's a class horse, and when I asked him he gave it all to me," said Alvarado of Saginaw, who completed six furlongs in 1:09 2/5 on the fast inner dirt. "It was pretty much easy at the end. When we turned for home, I knew how much horse I had. (Royal Currier) was still trying, but I had plenty of horse left."

Claimed for $30,000 in March by trainer David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable, the six-year-old gelded son of Peruvian has won nine of 11 races for his current connections, including victories over fellow New York-breds in the Carr Heaven, Affirmed Success, John Morrissey, Promenade All and Fourstars Allstar Stakes.

"That was a legitimate horse he beat (in Royal Currier); Linda (Rice) always does a great job," Jacobson praised both his winner and the Rice-trained runner-up. "They ran really fast. I'm happy to see he can compete in open company now. The only other time he did was in May (sixth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap)."

With the $45,000 Gravesend winner's share, Saginaw has earned $507,650 in 2012. Overall, he is 16-6-2 from 34 lifetime starts and has bankrolled $739,190.

Royal Currier was three lengths ahead of Isn't He Perfect on the wire, with 2011 Gravesend winner Frazil completing the order of finish. Broad Rule and Hillswick were scratched.

Currently tied with Clean Jean and Winning Dubai with the highest number of wins in North America this year, Saginaw will be back to try for victory No. 11 on December 26 at the Big A when he returns to state-bred company in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb.

"We'll definitely be back for the Alex M. Robb, provided he comes back OK," Jacobson said. "He'll let us know."

One race prior to the Gravesend, Francis Paolangeli's homebred Wildcat's Smile got the best of even-money choice Morrow Cove in the $78,400 Sarcastic for three-year-old fillies.

Trained by Dominic Galluscio and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., the Forest Wildcat dark bay lass seized command from the favorite rounding the final turn and posted a 2 1/2-length victory while finishing a mile and 70 yards in 1:41 4/5 on the fast inner track.

Wildcat's Smile entered this one off a well-beaten last-of-seven in the Grade 1 Gazelle on November 24, but had previously held her own against graded competition, as evidenced by placings in last year's Grade 2 Demoiselle and this season's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan. She was also fourth in the Grade 1 Mother Goose in late June, and now boasts two stakes wins after taking the state-bred New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes as a juvenile.

Wildcat's Smile improved her scorecard to read 13-4-4-2, $420,321.

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