by NYRA Press Office
Jimmy Riccio's 8-year-old gelding Sandy'z Slew scored a front running victory for jockey Jose Ortiz and trainer Jeremiah Englehart and earned his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
Breaking from post 7 at odds of 4-1, Sandy'z Slew led the field of eight through fractions of 22.58 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 46.22. Sandy'z Slew remained in front at the quarter pole, switched to the outside and responded gamely to hold off a late run from Blind Ambition.
He completed 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05.07 over the yielding Mellon turf course. Pulled up by Ortiz after the wire, Sandy'z Slew was vanned off for further evaluation.
"He didn't break down, [But] I could feel it when I started jogging, so I pulled him up," said Ortiz. "He took a bad step near the quarter pole; it was probably there. But he kept going in the stretch and showed a lot of heart. I didn't notice [at first], I thought it was just a bad step. He was good enough to keep running. But when I started jogging him, it [looked like] he hurt a little bit. I think he'll be OK."
Returning $10 for a $2 win wager, the victory boosted his career earnings to $684,487.
Following Blind Ambition in second was Disco Partner, Square Shooter, Holding Gold, Tombelaine, Ready for Rye and Eastwood.
In Race 10, Barclay Tagg trainee Realm powered down the stretch to post a nose victory as the longest shot on the board in the $100,000, Alydar for older horses at 1 1/8 miles.
Realm, sent off at 12-1 and ridden by Junior Alvarado, broke well and settled near the back of the pack as Outplay took the field of five through an opening quarter-mile in 24.32 and a half in 47.96. Outplay, one of two from trainer Todd Pletcher, began to pull away from the tightly bunched field on the backstretch but the Chad Brown-trained Kurilov soon gave chase and engaged the leader at the top of the stretch. Post-time favorite Timeline, Realm, and Patch followed as Outplay began to fade on the inside.
Angled out by Alvarado, Realm put in a late run to challenge Kurilov and dug in to prevail by a head under the wire. The final time was 1:50.02 over a fast track.
The 5-year-old Haynesfield gelding, who was supplemented into the Alydar by owners by Eric Dattner, Tagg, and Harry Astarita, returned $27.20 for a $2 win wager. The victory was the second straight for Realm, following a half-length optional-claiming score on June 29, and his first in a stakes. The win improved his record to 4-4-5 from 22 starts for earnings of $350,795.
"He's talented, but they kind of ran away from him a little bit, too, there," said Tagg, who also won Race 9 with Im the Captain Now. "He rode him nice and coolly and cut him to the outside when he had to. That's the only thing you can do if he's not in front; you've got to get him to the outside, but you don't want [to do it] too early and lose all that ground, either. He just rode him perfectly."
The popular, one-eyed Patch, also from the Pletcher barn, closed late for third, finishing a length behind the top two. Brown stablemate Timeline and Outplay completed the order of finish.