Grade I winner Dayatthespa, making a rare appearance against New York-breds, took control in the stretch and held steady for a 1 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Yaddo Stakes Aug. 16 at Saratoga Race Course.
The 1-4 favorite in the field of six fillies and mares, the 4-year-old daughter of City Zip registered her third win in as many tries on the Saratoga turf. She was clocked in 1:42.57 for for 1 1/16 miles over a firm inner course.
Trainer Chad Brown, who scratched Dayatthespa from the July 27 Diana Stakes (gr. IT) because he felt she needed more time, said her third start of the year “served a purpose.” Dayatthespa was coming off a tough second in the Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) June 29 at Monmouth Park.
“She had a lot of problems in the Matriarch (gr. IT) last fall, and we weren’t even sure if she was going to run again,” Brown said. “She came back and ran great in New York-bred company down at Belmont (in the You Go West). She got beat down at Monmouth, and I just felt I like I needed to get her back on track and run her in an easier race she could handle.”
Dayatthespa settled into the second spot for jockey Javier Castellano while sitting just off the flanks of early leader Sally’s Dream, who took the spread out field through quarter mile fractions of :25.37, :49.35, and 11:13.15. Castellano called on Dayatthespa approaching the five-sixteenths pole to strike the lead coming into the stretch. Dayatthespa cleared off for a two-length advantage at the furlong mark and she stayed in control while Castellano kept her busy to the wire.
Castellano said he was pleased by the favorite’s effort.
“She relaxed today,” he said. “She doesn’t have to be on the lead. The first jump, I let somebody else go to the lead and just stayed tracking. Tough fractions, 25 and 49, so she was pulling me because she wanted to go. But I like how she relaxed into the first turn behind the front-runner. From there she did the rest.”
Wholelottashakin took second under Jose Lezcano, with Inimitable Romanee and Edgar Prado a half-length farther back in third.
Dayatthespa, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (gr. IT) last October at Keeneland, posted her eighth win from 12 lifetime starts and boosted her earnings to $743,892 for owners Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon, and Bradley Thoroughbreds.
Out of the Doc’s Leader mare M’Lady Doc, the chestnut filly was bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo, and Goldsher.
Brown said Dayatthespa laid off Sally’s Dream by design.
“Not that we took it for granted we’d definitely win,” he said, “but if we’re going to rate her more, we’d rather do it in some easier competition, and if she fires the way we think she will, use it as a bit of a training exercise.
“She’s going to have to run against much tougher horses in the fall. The idea was to rate her; it was beautiful, the other horse went out there and gave us a target. Then Javier rated her on the outside and experimented with her a little bit there and it worked out. All and all I thought she ran great.”
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