SARATOGA SPRINGS — Sunday’s chess match was cancelled for a game of solitaire.
With just three horses entered, the Grade III $200,000 Shuvee had the makings of an interesting mental exercise for the jockeys, for what the race lacked in quantity of entries. Three good riders on three good horses, eyeballing each other, reading and reacting.
And the pieces appeared to be on the board a half-mile into the race, until Paid Up Subscriber left her two rivals behind on the second turn and waltzed home to win under John Velazquez by 32 1/2 lengths.
For a little perspective, the margin of victory was wider than Secretariat’s in winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes
Velazquez said he simply took what was dealt to him, and by the time the mile-and-an-eighth race was over, runner-up Terra Promessa and jockey Jose Ortiz were just about the length of the stretch behind.
For the record, Apologynotaccepted and Luis Saez finished third, another four lengths behind Terra Promessa.
“It was great. It was a three-horse field, so sometimes you have to do things different, and that’s how it happened today,” Velazquez said. “I knew the other two horses had some speed. I wanted to keep it close enough to where they didn’t get away from me and not put too much pressure on them.”
In the early stage, the race played out as promised to on paper.
Apologynotaccepted had the rail and a record of gunning to the lead, winning three straight allowance races in that fashion before failing to hold off Forever Unbridled by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade II Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs in her last…
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