TOYOTA SARATOGA SPECIAL STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 2 | 6 1/2 FURLONGS
Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's I Spent It surged through along the rail to best his competition as the 5-2 favorite in Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Saratoga Special Stakes for two-year-olds at the Spa.
"His second career start, so impressive," trainer Tony Dutrow said. "You've got to be a good horse to do that. Bad horses can't do that. And he's always led all of us to believe -- especially since his last race -- we really thought we were going to see something like this today. They're nice horses he ran against today."
I Spent It broke from the rail and sat in third as Nonna's Boy posted swift opening fractions of :21 ⅗ seconds and :44 ⅗ seconds while Cinco Charlie, the Bashford Manner winner, pressed the pace from the outside. I Spent It was content biding his time down on the inside as the two leaders in front wore themselves out.
I Spent It was full of run at the top of the stretch but found himself stuck in behind the leaders with nowhere to go. Mr. Z., the Sanford runner-up, had all types of room as he mounted his charge from the outside and looked to take over with a furlong to go. But I Spent It had other plans as jockey Javier Castellano guided him back to the rail, his only avenue available, and rolled to the lead. Once the son of Super Saver had room, the race was his as he drew clear to prevail by 2 ¾ lengths.
"There was nowhere to go; [along the rail] was the only way he had, so I took a shot," jockey Javier Castellano said. "The way he did it was brilliant. It was an impressive run; I think he's the real deal. He's a young horse and he's never been here before. And driving him home, he went just through and opened up. Not a lot of horses can do that."
I Spent It crossed the wire in 1:16 ⅗ for the 6 ½-furlong test over the fast main track. The bay colt paid $7.80 for the score in his stakes debut, while racking up $220,000 to boost his bankroll to $265,000 from two career starts. He was entering in here off his maiden win at Belmont on July 2.
"Obviously, you look at him right there, and he's sitting, sitting, waiting his turn," Dutrow said. "He tries to get out a couple of paths, and there's nothing there, so he stays where he's at. He needs somewhere to go, he's waiting, waiting, and when there's a little hole there, he goes for it like he's done it a million times. And he hadn't. I watched him gallop out, and it was good. Not many horses [can push the button] like that. Isn't it wonderful? That's just wonderful. I don't want to trade places with anybody.
"It's one step at a time, but, so far, so good. Obviously there's been no conversation about it, but I [am] hoping to wait for the Champagne [Grade 1 on October 4 at Belmont Park], but that's not my decision to make."
Mr. Z. took second and was five lengths clear of W V Jetsetter in third, who beat out the fourth-place finisher, Cleveland Sound by a nose. Cinco Charlie, Stanford, Nonna's Boy, Majestic Affair, Rod McLeod and Lord Tyrion completed the order under the wire. Tizcano was scratched.
"He's still figuring it out," said jockey Corie Lanerie, who was aboard runner-up Mr. Z. "He seems to run right past the leaders, and I don't know if that's all he's got or if he's waiting [on his opponents]. Both times [in the Sanford and Saratoga Special[ he's done he's kind of done it to me. I thought he was going to draw off and win, and he lets somebody come get him. I think it's greenness. We're figuring him out. Maybe we need to give him a target a little bit further down the track and give him something run at. He has the talent."
Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms LLC., I Spent It is out of the Sky Mesa mare Rateeba. The bay's third dam is She's a Talent, who produced Grade 2 winner She's Tops, who in turn produced multiple Grade 1 victor Dixie Union. His female family also includes the 2002 Saratoga Special winner, Zavata.
I Spent It sold for $65,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearlings Sale and was re-sold as a two-year-old in training for $600,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Florida Sale in March.