Five Iron tees off in G3 Saranac
By Jenny Kellner | 09/01/2013 06:50 PM ET
Five Iron took the lead coming out of the gate and was never threatened as he rolled to a 2 ½-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Saranac for 3-year-old turf horses on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
With Luis Saez in the irons, the Sharp Humor colt cruised through a quick opening quarter-mile in 22.97 seconds and a half in 46.76 as Joha and Frac Daddy gave chase through the early going. Sweeping three-wide into the stretch, Five Iron began drifting out but had plenty left to fend off the late challenge from favored Notacatbutallama, hitting the wire in 1:48.21 for 1 1/8 miles over a turf course rated "good."
"The trainer [Brian Lynch] told me the horse has a lot of speed and to try to take the lead," said Saez, aboard Five Iron for the first time. "The lead came easy to my horse so I let him run. Coming for home, I still had a lot of horse. When I saw Notacatbutallama coming, I knew we could hold him off. He gave me everything he had to win this race."
The victory was the third straight and first in a graded stake for the Canadian-based colt, winner of the Victoria Park and Toronto Cup stakes in his two most recent starts at Woodbine. Owned by Fred Allor, he is now 4-2-1 from 11 career starts with earnings of $381,060.
"I knew if he could get the lead and get left alone, he'd be very dangerous," said Lynch. "He's a very determined horse. I've never had a horse prick his ears when he makes the lead like that and run into the bridle like he does. He's a fun horse, and as he's gotten older, he's found his niche and become effective at it."
Sent off at 5-1, Five Iron returned $12.80 for a $2 win bet.
Notacatbutallama, whose three-race win streak came to an end, was 2 ½ lengths in front of third-place finisher Joha.
"I thought he ran well, like he always does," said Todd Pletcher, who trains the beaten favorite for Repole Stable. "He tried hard. The winner set solid fractions on a turf course that's not that firm and just kept going. I think we were second best today."
Completing the order of finish were Tattenham, Front, Favor Factor, and Frac Daddy. Main Track Only entrants Battier, Micromanage and Saint Vigeur were scratched.