After a bottled-up trip, Preservationist navigated through a tight seam to win Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. Junior Alvarado delivered the deft ride aboard the Jimmy Jerkens trainee and the Centennial-owned Preservationist recorded his first Grade 1 triumph.
He also confirmed himself as a major Breeders’ Cup Classic contender.
Preservationist has now won six-of-10 career starts, rebounding from a fourth in the August 3 Whitney (G1), and the six-year-old horse left the starting gate as the 3-1 third choice among eight rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward. He stalked just off the pace as Mr. Buff sped forward to show the way (:23.98, :47.97 and 1:11.49 fractions) with Bal Harbour pressing in second.
Preservationist advanced closer rounding the far turn but was caught behind horses entering the stretch. Bal Harbour, a 16-1 outsider, dismissed the pacesetter after straightening for home and faced a challenge from Tom’s d’Etat to his outside while Preservationist continued to wait for room approaching midstretch.
A small gap finally materialized and Preservationist charged through, overhauling Bal Harbour to win going away by a half-length. The son of Arch finished in 1:48.11.
“I had a great trip; I tried to find my way through and have something turning for home, but it was hard,” Alvarado said. “Javier (Castellano on Bal Harbour) had some horse turning for home and I wanted to follow him but I know he didn’t want to move because then I would be in the clear. So, he tried to hold me there as long as he could.
“Turning for home, I had some run in between horses. They made it a little bit tight for me there, but at that point, I thought I had it.”
Jerkens wasn’t so sure .
“I didn’t think he was going to get there at first, but when one of the horses started to fade and it began to open up a little bit, I was pretty confident after that,” the trainer said.
Bal Harbour saved second by a half-length over 2-1 favorite Yoshida, who came up a little short in a title defense. It was another three parts of a length to 2-1 second choice Tom’s d’Etat. Mongolian Groom, Wooderson, Mr. Buff and Forewarned came next under the wire.
Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, Preservationist hails from Flying Dixie, a Dixieland Band half-sister to Grade 2 winner Hungry Island and Grade 3 winner Soaring Empire. Preservationist counts Grade 1 winner and successful broodmare Chic Shirine as his third dam and was purchased for $485,000 as a Keeneland September yearling sale.
He made his first start in June 2016 and after racing sparingly over the next 2 1/2 years, Preservationist has now made six starts since January. He strung together three consecutive smashing wins prior to the Whitney, including a 4 1/2-length score in his stakes bow, the July 6 Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park, and the Woodward pushed his earnings past the $1 million mark from a 10-6-1-2 ledger.
“He was a little more settled today than when he was in the Whitney,” Jerkens sad. “I thought he was much better in the post parade. He was able to stay with the pony. Last time, he wasted a lot of energy. He’s been doing well since that last race in his workouts and his whole demeanor. Physically, I thought he looked terrific.”
Connections will wait to make a decision on Preservationist’s next start.
“I’m sure we’ll take a look at the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) (at Belmont Park on September 28), but he’s run pretty close together his last three starts,” Jerkens said.” Obviously, the year-end goal you have to look at the Breeders’ Cup Classic as to where we want to be. We’ll come up with a plan to get there ready.”
Three graded stakes were offered on the undercard and Mrs. Sippy made her first U.S. start a winning one in the $250,000 Glens Falls (G2), finishing fast in the stretch to win going away by about a length. Graham Motion now conditions the four-year-old filly for owner/breeder Andrew Stone and Joel Rosario guided the late-running winner through 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.62 on the firm inner turf.
A French stakes winner and Group 3 runner-up last year, Mrs. Sippy was sent stateside following a pair of unplaced efforts this year and the Blame filly improved her overall record to 10-3-2-0. She was dismissed at 6-1 by bettors.
In the $250,000 Prioress (G2) for three-year-old fillies, Royal Charlotte rallied to overhaul 3-5 favorite Break Even and post a 1 1/2-length decision. Castellano was up for owners First Row Partners and Parkland Thoroughbreds and trainer Chad Brown, and the daughter of Cairo Prince completed six furlongs in 1:09 4/5.
Now five-for-six overall, including wins in the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont Park and Hystericalady at Monmouth Park, Kentucky-bred Royal Charlotte rebounded from her first setback, a sixth in the Test (G1) earlier in the meeting. She was off as the 9-2 third choice among five runners. Break Even, who sustained her first loss in her seventh career outing, held for second by 2 ½ lengths over 2-1 second choice Risky Mandate.
Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Global Access closed wide into the stretch and narrowly prevailed in the $200,000 Saranac (G3) for three-year-old turf runners. With John Velazquez up, Global Access was exiting a third in the August 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) and captured the Marine (G3) at Woodbine and restricted Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this season. Michael Trombetta trains the Giant’s Causeway colt.
Good Grievance, who was favored at 3-5 for Chad Brown off an August 4 debut maiden win, missed by a neck in second. It was another neck to third-placer Seismic Wave. Global Access left the starting gate at 4-1 in the five-horse field and stepped 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf in 1:41.80. The Florida-bred pushed his career earnings to more than $300,000 from a 11-4-1-4 scorecard.