Sweet Reason passes with flying colors in G1 Test
By Sean Morris | 08/02/2014 07:10 PM ET
Sweet Reason emerged victorious from a four-horse scramble to the wire in the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, giving the Leah Gyarmati-trained filly her second consecutive Grade 1 victory and third overall.
Owned by Treadway Racing Stable, Sweet Reason burst onto the sprint scene as a 2-year-old at Saratoga when she won the Grade 1 Spinaway, run at the same seven-furlong distance as the Test, by 5 ¾ widening lengths. The talented filly's sophomore season hadn't been living up to the hype generated by her juvenile campaign until she returned to one-turn racing in the Grade 1 TVG Acorn at Belmont, which she won by a half-length.
Back at the scene of her first Grade 1 victory, the daughter of Street Sense left little doubt that she has recaptured, and is maintaining, the form she displayed at 2.
Under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who won four races on the Whitney Day card, Sweet Reason broke well and settled near the back of the pack as Fiftyshadesofgold and Southern Honey dueled through an opening quarter-mile in 22.66 seconds and a half in 45.44.
Fiftyshadesofgold garnered a narrow lead at the top of the stretch, but was quickly met by Miss Behaviour on the outside and Sweet Whiskey along the rail. With a furlong to go, Sweet Reason emerged widest of all to storm past the leaders, and had enough left in reserve to hold off Miss Behaviour and a surging Little Alexis to prevail by a length.
"This seemed like the perfect spot for her - she loves Saratoga, she's shown she likes seven-eighths, her one-turn mile [in the Grade 1 Acorn] at Belmont was great, she came out of that race great - so this was the logical spot," said Gyarmati. "I was very excited about running her here. It came up a very salty field with some really nice fillies in the race, so this was probably her biggest test yet, in my opinion. She was doing really well, though, so win, lose, or draw, I felt I'd done everything I could and she was as good as I could get her. I went in feeling good about the race."
Sweet Reason returned $6.20 on a $2 win bet as the 2-1 favorite, and completed the distance in 1:22.31. The winner's purse of $300,000 enhanced her bankroll to $1,229,000.
Miss Behaviour emerged victorious from a three-way photo for second, leaving her trainer, Phil Schoenthal, overcome with emotion.
"My first Grade 1 try, at Saratoga, it was just kind of a dream [come] true day," said Schoenthal. "I thought she'd run big and I trained her trying to get the extra distance. At the eighth pole, I thought she might get home, but I'm proud of her. She ran a great race. I'm fighting back tears. It was a great race."
The oncoming Little Alexis finished a nose behind Miss Behaviour in third, while it was another nose back to pacesetter Fiftyshadesofgold in fourth.
Sweet Whiskey, Thank You Marylou, Tea Time, Bird Maker, Southern Honey and Street Story completed the order of finish.
Princess Violet and Red Velvet were scratched.