January 28, 2023

Green Light Go exceptional in Saratoga Special

Green Light Go winning the Saratoga Special (G2) (c) Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography

Green Light Go looks poised to be a major player in the two-year-old division following a superb win in Saturday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2) at Saratoga, drawing off powerfully to a 3 3/4-length decision. The Stronach Stables homebred son of Hard Spun remained perfect in his second career start and Junior Alvarado was up for Jimmy Jerkens.

After a smashing wire-to-wire maiden win at Belmont Park July 4, Green Light Go switched to stalking tactics and settled a couple lengths behind the early leaders through an opening quarter-mile in :21.71. The well-built youngster edged closer on the far turn and swung three wide for clear sailing while straightening for home.

“I put him in the race and he handled everything very professionally,” Alvarado said. “I was just a pilot on top of him. I knew how much horse I had the whole way, and I was very excited at the way he was handling the kick back, and just rating behind horses very kindly. We knew how good he was and I trusted him there.”

Green Light Go rallied fast to overhaul front-running Tuggle in midstretch and passed the three-quarters point in a sizzling 1:09.07 with a one-length advantage. He won under wraps in the end, completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.68, and was favored at 3-2 odds among seven runners.

“He ran well without having to be on the lead and that was good to see,” Jerkens said. “The track has been so speed-favoring initially. I told Junior (Alvarado) to take him out of there and don’t discourage him from running, but if someone really wants the lead, that it’d be fine. It turned out he didn’t break quite as fast as his first start, but it worked out well. He sat in the pocket just nice up against the bridle.

“He didn’t care about taking dirt which was really nice to see. He leaned a little in the stretch; maybe a little green, but I guess he’s still learning, too. He had good purposeful works between races and has handled it. He was also composed in the paddock, so we might really have a nice one here.”

Noose, the 2-1 second choice, closed from last to be a non-threatening second, 1 ¾ lengths better than 8-1 Tuggle in third. Peruvian Boy, Zyramid, Long Weekend and Iberico completed the order of finish.

The Kentucky-bred Green Light Go hails from the stakes-winning Pleasantly Perfect dam Light Green and this is the extended female family of Grade 1 Jade Hunter, best known for siring 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri.

Jerkens said the $500,000 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park on October 5 could be next for the exciting two-year-old.