Saratoga Notebook: Whatsdachances reaffirms Brown's faith
SARATOGA SPRINGS Contrary to this horse’s name, she seems more into answering questions than asking them.
Watsdachances won the $100,000 P.G. Johnson at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday for trainer Chad Brown, reassuring the Mechanicville native of his decision to enter the 2-year-old Ireland-bred in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November.
“Shortly after I started training her, we went ahead and paid the fee for the Breeders’ Cup,” Brown said. “I’m not saying I was positive then, but I had a pretty good idea. I’ve had these fillies before, and I thought she stacked up with some of the good ones I’ve had get to that race. So we went ahead and paid the money already, so we’re in. I’d like to give her one more prep before the Breeders’ Cup. I don’t know where.”
Top Tier Lass and Go Kitten Go led the field through a 23.57 first quarter-mile, slowing ever so slightly through the next two quarters in 24.22 and 24.84. As they hit the top of the stretch, Tara From the Cape started to make a move to the front, and Watsdachances wheeled wide under jockey Javier Castellano to find room to run.
Watsdachances held off Broken Spell by a neck, and Tara From the Cape was another 11⁄4 lengths back.
“A wide trip. You’re looking for cover with a horse like this and never really found it,” Brown said. “Javier was trying, and he never could get in, but she overcame it, and I think she will move forward from this race. I really do.”
It was Castellano’s first of two wins on the day, a day after his son, Brady Ryan Castellano, was born.
“I’m very blessed and thankful for this win, and for our little baby boy, and everything going well in my career and in my personal life,” Castellano said. “It was a pretty good win. She closed well. Chad Brown did a great job with the horse and put me in a good spot. I put her right in behind the other horses. Turning for home, I got her outside and loosened the reins, and she gave me a good kick today.”
Watsdachances was third in her debut over five furlongs at Cork (Ireland), 41⁄2 lengths behind Liberating. She recovered to win at Naven (Ireland) by six lengths, also at five furlongs.
The early maiden win helped Brown when picking a spot for her first North American start.
“Luckily, she broke her maiden early enough, in April, where we weren’t forced into a situation in between, running her off the plane and maybe running her shortly thereafter where she might have bounced or something,” he said. “I had just enough time with her to get her acclimated over here. She’s acted like a pro since Day 1. Got her on the track, got her into our program really well.”
Brown and Castellano also won the ninth race, completing the daily double with 9-year-old Gimme Credit. The win moved Brown within six of leading trainer Todd Pletcher (30-24) with five days of racing remaining. Pletcher had three horses in the P.G. Johnson — Tara From the Cape, Skyfall and Top Tier Lass.
Weekend Hideaway moved to 2-1-0 in three starts at Saratoga this year, winning the $100,000 David, a six-furlong run for New York-bred 2-year-olds.
The Speightstown colt let Cay to Pomeroy set the early pace, setting up just off his shoulder and waiting for the stretch. Jockey Jose Lezcano then let the 3-5 favorite loose, and she won easily by 61⁄4 lengths.
Jose Espinoza guided 4-1 Swift Warrior to a two-length victory in the $100,000 Win, a turf mile for horses 3 and older.
It was the second win of the day for the jockey, who woke up with one win in 51 starts at the meet. In the second race of the card, he was aboard Scofield, who was moved up to first after Brazilian Court and Joel Rosario were disqualified to second place for bumping Scofield three times in the stretch.
As the crowd waits with anticipation today for the Grade II With Anticipation, the much-anticipated debut of highly touted 2-year-old Archwarrior will come in the third race. The son of Arch was entered Aug. 11, but scratched out because the track was soaked and in sloppy condition.
He is the 4-5 morning-line favorite for Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez in the six-furlong maiden special weight dirt run.
In the seventh race, Rosie Napravnik rode Hedonemewrongsong to a debut victory at 21-1 for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, followed by 21-1 Coarsegold, 18-1 Sandarita and 12-1 Ruthie Blue Eyes. The exacta paid $454.50, the trifecta paid $9,686, the superfecta $48,480.50 and the dime superfecta $4,848.05.