Long On Value scores big in Lucky Coin
by Jenny Kellner
Long On Value, making his first start sprinting since his juvenile campaign, circled the field at the top of the stretch and outkicked Successful Native to the wire to win Monday's $100,000 Lucky Coin at Saratoga Race Course by a length.
Leaving from post position 9, the 5-year-old son of Value Plus sat perched outside a tightly bunched pack through an opening quarter-mile in 22.71 seconds. Moving up eagerly on the outside, he fanned widest of all straightening for home and powered to the lead approaching the eighth pole.
His winning time for the 5 ½ furlongs on the Mellon turf was 1:01.76.
"He had plenty of run late," said winning jockey Joel Rosario. "He's a nice horse and Mr. [Bill] Mott had him prepared and he ran great today."
The victory was Long On Value's first since taking the Grade 3, one-mile Canadian Turf in February 2015 at Gulfstream Park, and first at the Lucky Coin distance since winning the Strike Your Colors on the dirt in July 2013 at Delaware Park.
"Sometimes I get an intuition that I need to change something up," said Mott. "He was fresh, we missed a little training, the race came up, I looked at the other spots that were available ... they were going to be tough spots, too, or maybe not the distance I want. This horse had run in a couple of these when he was a two-year-old. Mr. Adam Wachtel bought him off a couple of these types of races, and I said, 'Why not?'
"He's been a horse to go a mile, a mile-and-an-eighth, and you have to cover him up and completely switch him off. I thought, 'Why not give him a try one time?' We were at the point where he's been good to us, and we had nothing to lose. This opens up options for us down the road."
Sent off at 7-2, Long On Value returned $8.80 for a $2 win wager. Overall, he is 7-4-2 from 22 starts, with earnings of $673,118.
Finishing three-quarters of a length behind runner up Successful Native was favored Undrafted, who was followed in turn by Spring to the Sky, Cyclogenesis, Beantown Saint and Sandy'z Slew.
All Star Red, Choctaw Chuck, Doctor J Dub, Night Officer, Pool Winner and Weekend Hideaway were scratched.