by Gillian French
Making her return to stakes company, Sagamore Farm's Ginger N Rye clinched her first career stakes victory in the $100,000 Smart N Fancy at 5 ½ furlongs in a sharp final time of 1:00.75, just .29 seconds off the track record, under jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
Sunday's win gives Ginger N Rye her second straight victory at the Spa this summer, following a 1 ¼-length score in an allowance-optional claiming race on July 23 for trainer Horacio DePaz.
"She ran great," said Hunter Rankin, president of Sagamore Farm. "We were bringing her back to go 5 ½ [furlongs] and then stretch her out to a mile, but she ran so well the first time, we decided to keep her at 5 ½. It's such a special place to win a stakes race. Horacio isn't here today but he's done such a great job with her."
A 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready, Ginger N Rye took advantage of a hole along the rail left open by pacesetters Paquita Coqueta and Chanteline, who set fractions of 21.21 seconds for the quarter-mile and 43.58 for the half, and increased her overall earnings to $294,973 and returned $8.80 on a $2 win bet.
"That was the trip I wanted with her," said Santana. "She was doing fine the whole way and came back great. I knew it [the pace] was going to be fast today, so I tried to sit with her and make a good trip when we turned for home. She just took off. I am really blessed to be able to ride this filly."
Jack Swain, III's Grade 3 winner Miss Ella took a similar route to Ginger N Rye and trailed by 1 ¾ lengths to register back-to-back second-place finishes in the Smart N Fancy with jockey Joel Rosario for trainer Graham Motion.
Wheatfield, Miss Katie Mae, Rumble Doll, Fair Point, Chanteline, Pretty Perfection,
Carolina Shag, Ava's Kitten, Ultimate Holiday, and Paquita Coqueta completed the order of finish.