SARATOGA SPRINGS – With fifty yards to go in Saturday’s $200,000 Lake Placid Stakes (G2), four 3-year-old fillies were lined up across the track, each still in with a chance. Regal Glory, third out from the rail, began edging past the two inside horses but was immediately challenged by Varenka (the 8-5 favorite) to her outside, as the two streaked under the wire together, with Blowout and Amandrea not far behind
It came down to who won the bob, and after taking at least 10 minutes to pore over the evidence, stewards ruled the race a dead-heat between Regal Glory and Varenka.
“I’m speechless, to be honest,” said Graham Motion, who conditions Varenka. “I just can’t believe she got there because they went so slow. That was a crazy performance. I thought we had it [won] before the wire and right after the wire, but I wasn’t sure on the line. All credit to [winning jockey] Javier [Castellano].
“Animal Kingdom has had three winners today, so you have to make a big deal about that,” Motion added, referring to the 2011 Kentucky winner, who he trained. The earlier winners were Nakamura in the sixth and Oleksandra in the Smart N Fancy Stakes.
“I thought we had it, but she got the dead-heat, so that’s fine with me,” said Luis Saez, who was aboard Regal Glory. “She likes to break, and when you get into the stretch with her, she’ll just run off.”
The running time for 8½ furlongs over “good” turf was 1:43,68. Blowout finished a neck behind the winning pair, with Amandrea a half-length back in fourth. Vow to Recover and Feel Glorious trailed.
Blowout got away with glacial fractions (:26.36, :51,10) and nursed a two-length lead around the turn and into the stretch. Amandrea was coming hard to her outside, however, with Regal Glory and Varenka a threat to both on the outside. Inside the sixteenth pole, the horses appeared to be lining up as if in response to a command, setting the stage for the thrilling finish.
“What a finish,” said Castellano. “You have to be lucky – those bobs can go either way. It was a very exciting race, and those two horses showed up. In the moment, I thought I had won, but after watching the replay, I thought it could go either way.”
Regal Glory, a Paul Pompa homebred, maintained her status of never having finished worse than second in seven starts. The daughter of Animal Kingdom sports a 5-2-0 record, with earnings of $411,750. Regal Glory won the Lake George (G3) last out.
Varenka, an Augustin Farm homebred daughter of Ghostzapper, improved to 3-2-2 in eight starts. Her bankroll stands at $258,100. The Lake Placid is her first graded win.