Laughing leads every step to win Grade 2 Ketel One Ballston Spa
By Jim Mulvihill | 08/24/2013 06:12 PM ET
Just as she did in the Grade 1 Diana on opening weekend, Laughing led every step to remain undefeated in 2013 while winning the 25th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Ketel One Ballston Spa for fillies and mares on the turf at Saratoga Race Course.
Pianist closely tracked the winner from her outside for the entire 1 1/6 miles but could get no closer than a neck at the wire.
With Jose Lezcano aboard, Laughing set reasonable fractions of 23.89 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.41 for a half-mile. Pianist battled hard through the stretch, but Laughing held gamely, stopping the timer in 1:40.37 over a firm inner turf course.
"She's real healthy now and I think she'll be a force in the filly and mare division," said winning trainer Alan Goldberg. "The other filly hung in there pretty good."
Laughing, owned by Richard Santulli, increased her career earnings to $818,855 with her seventh win from 14 lifetime starts. A 5-year-old mare by the British stallion Dansili, the winner started her season with a victory in Monmouth's Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap before taking the $500,000 Diana Handicap on July 27.
"She jumped a little in the bit but when I asked at the quarter-pole she took off," Lezcano said. "It was kind of the same trip as the Diana. She felt comfortable and I let her do whatever she wanted."
Laughing returned $7.30 for a $2 win wager. Pianist was 2 3/4 lengths ahead of longshot Hard Not to Like in third. The order of finish was completed by favored Hungry Island, Somali Lemonade, Miz Ida, Embarr and Centre Court.