Saturday’s $465,000 Flower Bowl (G2) at Saratoga was a four-horse affair without much in the way of pace, which were the perfect circumstances for Parnac to register an 8-1 upset on the front end.
Hustled out of the gate by jockey Dylan Davis, Parnac proceeded to crawl throughout the 1 3/8-mile journey for fillies and mares, recording fractions of :25.19, :51.33, 1:18.82, and 1:43.95. Neither 2-5 favorite McKulick nor second choice Amazing Grace could kick on fast enough in the final three furlongs to catch Parnac, who crossed the wire 1 1/4 lengths ahead of McKulick. The final time over the firm inner turf was 2:18.60.
Owned by the partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds and Dream With Me Stable, Parnac returned $18.40. McKulick held off Amazing Grace for second by a neck, with Tamarama another length behind in fourth.
“Our plan was to come out running,” Davis said. “I knew [Tamarama] was the other speed. She was able to break – inside post really helped us here get dominance for the lead. [Tamarama] came up to me, but didn’t really want to continue on, and I was able to take control from there.
“After that, she got real comfortable with easy fractions with no pressure and she’s kind of a grinder type…I was able to pick her up into the last turn, get her running going before they got too close to her, and then she was able to hold them off.”
The Flower Bowl, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the 10-furlong Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita in November, was the third victory and first in a stakes for Parnac since her importation from Europe. She entered the Flower Bowl off of a third-place effort in the Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) at Delaware Park in early July.
Saratoga officials scratched Parnac from an allowance at the track several weeks ago after the first two finishers from the Dick Memorial subsequently suffered fatal injuries in their next starts. Given the medical all-clear, Parnac was allowed to target another race.
“E.P. Taylor (G1), Breeders’ Cup, Long Island (G3); we have a quite a few choices,” trainer Christophe Clement said regarding upcoming goals for Parnac.
Bred in France by Jean-Pierre Dubois and previously a minor stakes winner in Germany, Parnac is a four-year-old by Zarak and out of the Group 2-placed Passing Burg, by Sageburg. She has now won five of 11 starts and earned more than $467,000.
Making his fourth start of the Saratoga meet, turf sprinter Thin White Duke made a last-to-first rally to win the $145,500 Harvey Pack S., a race known as the Lucky Coin when Thin White Duke won it in 2022.
The Harvey Pack, named in honor of the late NYRA analyst and broadcaster, was the the fourth career stakes win for Thin White Duke, who is owned in a four-man partnership that includes retired turf writer Steve Crist, who was a friend of Pack’s, and former trainer Phil Gleaves, who bred the five-year-old in New York.
Thin White Duke won by a neck from Big Invasion, the 1.25-1 favorite. A head behind in third was second choice Our Shot. Trained by David Donk and ridden by Jose Lezcano, Thin White Duke covered 5 1/2 furlongs over the Mellon turf in 1:02.18 and paid $20.40.