Hangover Kid Glows in West Point Presented by Trustco Bank
By Jenny Kellner | 08/15/2013 06:23 PM ET
Hangover Kid scored the first stakes victory of his career Thursday at Saratoga Race Course with a last-to-first rally through the stretch to take the 34th running of the $150,000 West Point Presented by Trustco Bank by a length over Hear the Footsteps.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., the 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid went wide on the first turn as Mr. Vegas led the field of nine New York-breds through an opening quarter-mile in 24.23 seconds, with Kharafa taking over as the half went in 48.96. Swung widest of all to avoid traffic heading into the lane, Hangover Kid hit his best stride in mid-stretch and rolled past the front-runners with a sixteenth of a mile to go.
His winning time for 1 1/16 miles on the turf was 1:43.34.
"I took a little chance and went wide on the first turn, and then I sat," said Ortiz, whose younger brother Jose was aboard Hear the Footsteps. "I got relaxed on the backstretch and saved some ground. When I came on the turn, I had a lot of horse. There was a lot of traffic on the inside, so I came outside, and he went by."
Bred by owner Steve Taglienti, Hangover Kid entered the West Point off a third-place finish at 47-1 in his first graded stakes race, the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park. In his only other stakes appearance, he was sixth in the Ashley T. Cole for New York-breds last September at Belmont Park.
"It's really gratifying to have a homebred like that," said winning trainer Jason Servis. "I had some problems with him coughing, but we decided to go with it, and I'm glad we did. I let him open gallop a little bit this morning and I didn't hear any coughing."
Sent off as the 5-1 third choice, Hangover Kid returned $13.80 for a $2 win bet and earned $90,000. With a record of 6-4-3 from 18 starts, he has amassed $404,678.
"He's Grade 1-placed, and he's won a stake - we might look at some big stuff," said Servis when asked what might be next for Hangover Kid.
Hear the Footsteps, whose three-race win streak came to an end in his stakes debut, nosed out Kharafa for place, with 2-1 favorite Lubash finishing a traffic-troubled fourth.
"Hear the Footsteps is an improved horse this year over the previous years, and he's really in great form," said Linda Rice, trainer of the runner-up. "We might consider the Mohawk at Belmont [October 19], which is another New York-bred stake, around one turn."
Completing the order of finish behind Lubash were Jonrah, Abilio, Mr. Vegas, Street Game, and Barrel of Love. Mia Poppy and Main Track Only entrants Bigger Is Bettor, Awesome Vision, Groomedforvictory, So Scott and Most Happy Fella were scratched.