SARATOGA SPRINGS, N. Y. - Significant Form prevailed in a five-horse charge to the wire on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course to win the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa by a hard-fought neck and earn her second graded stakes of the year.
Under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who notched his second straight stakes win on Travers Day, Significant Form enjoyed a close-up ground-saving trip as longshot Conquest Hardcandy towed the field of nine turf fillies and mares through tepid fractions of 24.22 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, with the half-mile going in 48.47.
Coming out of the turn, with Conquest Hardcandy clinging to the lead, Velazquez gave the 4-year-old gray filly her cue and she responded with a determined late run that carried her between horses and to the wire in 1:41.39 for 1 1/16 miles over the firm Mellon turf course.
"She's very good," said Velazquez, aboard for the first time. "It was special to be on her. They told me she was a nice horse, and they were right about it. The way she ran down the lane, she responded right away and showed great fight."
Indian Blessing was second. It was another neck back to Starship Jubilee, who nosed out Peter Brant's Fifty Five for third, with pacesetting Conquest Hardcandy yet another neck back in fifth. Following them under the wire were Hogans Holiday, Scottish Jig, Secret Message, and beaten favorite Mascha.
Owned by Stephanie Seymour Brant, Significant Form added the Ballston Spa to her victory in the Grade 3 Intercontinental in June at Belmont Park, after which she finished fifth in the Caress on July 21. Overall, she is 4-1-0 from 11 starts, including stakes wins in the 2018 Memories of SIlver and 2017's Grade 3 Miss Grillo.
"We gave her some time off during the winter just to put some weight on," said winning trainer Chad Brown. "No physical problems, really. After her seven-eighths race at Belmont [Intercontinental], I screwed up running her too short, five and a half furlongs [July 21]. It was poor judgment, but Peter and Stephanie [Brant] really wanted to take a look at this race with both of their horses [in] Fifty Five [fourth] and Significant Form."
The winner's purse of $220,000 lifted Significant Form's earnings to $694,865, and she returned $16.60 for a $2 win bet.