Apparently there’s no want for an umbrella if you win a Grade 1 stakes.
As a gentle rain fell down on the winner’s circle at Saratoga Race Course, proprietor Mike Repole bounced backwards and forwards from the observe to the gathering of his buddies whereas sporting a short-sleeved blue shirt.
No jacket. No hat.
He was impervious to the situations, performing as if it was a sunny, sweltering day.
“Was it raining on the market?” he mentioned.
Oh, it was raining, however Mom Nature couldn’t dampen the enjoyment Repole and his accomplice, Vinnie Viola of St. Elias Secure, have been experiencing as a sloppy, sealed racetrack proved no impediment for his or her juvenile colt Forte who splashed to a three-length victory over favored Gulfport within the $300,000, Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes for 2-year-olds Sept. 5 on the ultimate day of a memorable 2022 season on the Spa.
“This was a particular win with a particular horse,” Repole mentioned in regards to the son of Violence, who rebounded for coach Todd Pletcher after ending fourth because the 1.45-1 favourite within the Sanford Stakes earlier within the meet. “He appeared actually good on the market. Profitable with Vinnie, and Todd, and (jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.), it’s attending to be a enjoyable staff.”
For Viola, the raindrops didn’t matter within the least when matched towards the sunshine of getting a 2-year-old colt with a vibrant future forward of him.
“You have a look at the time right now and the way he carried himself and it was a brilliant, skilled efficiency,” Viola mentioned. “I’m actually enthusiastic about this horse. It’s an ideal day for Mike and I.”
It was absolutely a significantly better day than July 16 when Forte was seventh early and rallied to complete fourth, 5 ¾ lengths behind Mo Strike, who was fourth in Monday’s stakes.
“(Forte) by no means had any room final time, however then he acquired outdoors and galloped out properly in a 12-horse subject. Perhaps if he had the ten submit final time, he wins. However, hey, he acquired expertise, and that helped him right here and it will assist him the following time,” mentioned Repole, who races underneath the Repole Secure banner.
That “subsequent time” might come within the Oct. 1 Champagne Stakes, a one-turn mile stakes at Aqueduct, although another choice may very well be the Oct. 8 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, a two-turn 1 1/16-mile take a look at at Keeneland, host website for the Breeders’ Cup.
“We are going to speak with Vinnie and Mike and give you a sport plan. The Champagne is all the time a race we expect extremely of and that will be first on the radar,” mentioned Pletcher, who has a report six Champagne wins, together with one with Repole’s 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo in 2010.
Whereas the rain and sloppy observe gave the opposite 5 starters a built-in excuse for his or her loss, Pletcher mentioned he wasn’t nervous about Forte’s capability to deal with the moist going.
“I believed he would deal with it nicely,” Pletcher mentioned. “I’ve seen him gallop over it and pedigree-wise, I believed he would deal with it.”
Gulfport splashed out to the lead within the Hopeful, setting fractions of :22.74 and :45.57 whereas main by a half-length with Mo Strike, Bourbon Bash, and Western Ghent chasing.
Racing about 5 paths huge underneath Flavien Prat, the Steve Asmussen-trained Gulfport put these pursuers away however then floated out about seven huge leaving the flip. That allowed Ortiz to swing four-wide from fifth aboard Forte and nonetheless transfer within the chief.
Approaching the eighth pole, Forte grabbed the lead after which pulled away to cowl the seven furlongs in 1:22.58 because the 6.90-1 fourth betting alternative.
“To finish the meet with this win is nice,” mentioned Ortiz, who gained his fourth Saratoga using title this 12 months with 55 victories. “Everyone is pleased.”
Gulfport, a son of Uncle Mo, was second by 9 lengths over Rodeo Creek Racing’s Blazing Sevens, a Good Magic colt who rallied from final for coach Chad Brown.