September 26, 2023

Technical Analysis keeps it simple in Ballston Spa

Technical Analysis wins the Ballston Spa Stakes (Photo by Janet Garaguso/Coglianese Photos)

As the 0.35-1 favorite and controlling speed, Technical Analysis didn’t need to overthink it in Saturday’s $388,000 Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga. Regular rider Jose Ortiz let the Klaravich Stables runner stride forward early, and she had enough left to hold off stablemate Fluffy Socks in the Chad Brown exacta.

Technical Analysis, who turned the Lake George (G3)/Lake Placid (G2) double last summer, was most recently runner-up to course record-setting stablemate In Italian in the Diana (G1). The Kingman filly padded her Spa resume here.

After establishing herself in an opening quarter in :24.47, Technical Analysis was attended by Our Flash Drive through splits of :48.97 and 1:12.87 on a good Mellon course. But Our Flash Drive couldn’t stick with her when Technical Analysis kicked for home and opened up by daylight.

The only challenge came from Fluffy Socks, who had been anchored at the rear of the quintet. Picking up strongly even as the favorite was quickening, Fluffy Socks did well to erase most of her deficit. Technical Analysis still had a half-length to spare at the wire. Ortiz just showed her the riding crop as she beat Fluffy Socks, piloted by his brother Irad.

The top two pulled well clear of the rest, with a seven-length gap back to High Opinion in third. The Tony Dutrow trainee was placing in this race for the second straight year, after just missing in a photo in the 2021 running. High Opinion thwarted a Brown trifecta by edging his other runner, Lemista, by a neck. Our Flash Drive retreated to last.

“I knew she was the lone speed,” Ortiz observed, “so I just broke there and got a good jump out of the gate. She was very nervous prior to the race, so I tried to keep her quiet in the post parade and she broke good, put me there and handled the soft going nicely. She gave me a great run home, but the other filly was coming, too.

“I think my filly was the best. I rode her like the best and she was ready. Chad had her ready like always, and I appreciate the opportunity he and Mr. Klarman gave me.”

Brown is the Ballston Spa record-holder with seven trophies, including the past three in a row.

“Clearly, Technical Analysis was able to carve out fractions that were comfortable,” the trainer recapped, “and I knew she’d be pretty tough down the lane, but Fluffy Socks was really sitting on a good race. She’s been so consistent. When she tipped out and Irad (Ortiz Jr.) was coming down the lane, I thought it’d be pretty close based on the way she was training.

“That’s why I put multiple horses in these races, to let them settle it out on the track rather than hypotheticals (like) ‘I could have won if I had got to run.’ When the horses are ready to run and they’re all eligible for the same race that fits them the best, they’ll run against each other. It was a great horse race down to the wire.”

By completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.90, Technical Analysis improved her scorecard to 11-6-3-1, $828,200. The bay also landed the May 21 Gallorette (G3) on Preakness Day, ending a short-lived bout of seconditis in last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and the April 16 Plenty of Grace S. at Aqueduct.

Seth Klarman, whose nom de course is Klaravich Stables, noted that Technical Analysis is not just a Saratoga horse.

“I think she likes everywhere. She’s won at Pimlico, she’s won at Aqueduct. I think she’s just good,” Klarman said. “I think the tight turns – she’s a small filly, maybe she handles the tight turns nicely and she accelerates on them. It’s very hard for horses to accelerate on these kind of turns and she’s able to do it.”

Her possible candidacy for the Breeders’ Cup is up to her trainer, Klarman said.

“That’s really Chad’s call and Chad has a lot of turf fillies. He’ll figure out where she fits. I think under the right set-up, she certainly could be. But I don’t push Chad on that. Let’s see how she comes out, who else is around, and we have lots of options.”

“It’s going to be tricky now,” Brown said of potential targets for Technical Analysis. “The distances are going to change, and we’re either going to have to cut her back or move her forward. The First Lady ([G1] on Oct. 8) at Keeneland cutting back to a mile would be an obvious spot for Technical Analysis. With Fluffy Socks, I’d like to venture out a little further if we can. We’ll see what’s available.”

Bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd. in Ireland, Technical Analysis was purchased for $257,355 as a Tattersalls October yearling. Her dam, the Sea the Stars mare Sealife, hails from the immediate family of 2017 Melbourne Cup (G1) hero Rekindling and Group 3 scorer Golden Sword, the runner-up in the 2009 Irish Derby (G1).