by Bill Heller
There was intrigue surrounding the 35th running of the mile-and-a-sixteenth $150,000 Yaddo Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. Was Chad Brown, the trainer of Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradly Thoroughbreds’ Grade I stakes winner Dayatthespa, going to race the five-year-old mare in Saturday’s Grade II Ballston Spa Stakes in open company or in Sunday’s Yaddo? He nominated Dayatthespa for both, but scratched her Saturday.
“I think the race set up better for her today,” Brown said Sunday. “I’m sure the ground was firmer today, although it was listed as good. With all the warm weather, I’m sure it had less give in it today.”
Conventional wisdom said the Yaddo would be an easier spot than a Grade II stakes, but that might not have been the case. Only six fillies and mares contested the Ballston Spa, and the odds-on favorite Filimbi, finished last. In a tight finish, Abaco won the Ballston Spa.
But the Yaddo featured Discreet Marq, a Grade I stakes winner who beat Abaco by a length when she finished third in the Grade I Diana Stakes.
Only four other fillies and mares entered the Yaddo and the betting public correctly made it a two-horse race, Dayatthespa and Discreet Marq, sending both of them off at 6-5, with Discreet Marq the slightest of favorites. Effie Trinket would go off the 5-1 third choice on the rail.
Dayatthespa was making just her second start of the year following a front-running second by a length and three-quarters to Filimbi in a $100,000 ungraded stakes at one mile. That was the first time Dayatthespa lost a race at Saratoga. She had won a race there as a two, three and four-year-old. Her career record heading into the Yaddo was eight wins and four seconds in 15 starts, all on turf. Patricia Generazio’s home-bred Discreet Marq, who had one unsuccessful dirt start, had six wins, four seconds and three thirds from her 15 turf races before the Yaddo.
Dayatthespa would depart from the four post with Saratoga’s leading jockey, Javier Castellano. Discreet Marq was right next to her in the five post with Irad Ortiz Jr., Saratoga’s second leading jockey.
Dayatthespa, who can race on the lead or from mid-pack, shot to the lead immediately as Discreet Marq took a stalking position on her outside. They would remain 1-2 the entire race.
Dayatthespa hit the quarter in :24.80, the half-mile in :50.0 and three-quarters in a dawdling 1:15.62 with Discreet Marq shadowing her in second every step.
Around the far turn and into the top of the stretch, Discreet Marq kept the pressure on, but Dayatthespa was up to the challenge and began to draw clear. Dayatthespa hit the wire 2 ½ lengths clear of Discreet Marq, who saved second by a length and a half over Effie Trinket.
“It was a great race,” Castellano said. “I wanted to see how far she could go, you know? I had to be careful for the last sixteenth. It was a little bit of a question mark, but she did it so easy. I give her all the credit.”
Brown shared his praise: “Javier rode a beautiful race. The second quarter-mile concerned me the most because it looked like Discreet Marq drew alongside, and Javier, for a moment there, might have his hands full. But our filly was dead game today and proved best. For a horse to win four straight years up here at Saratoga, it’s so hard. For a horse to be consistent enough to win four straight years is remarkable.”
Dayatthespa’s Saratoga streak points out how incredible another Saratoga lover performed. Richard Bomze’s Fourstardave won a race at Saratoga eight consecutive years. Dayatthespa is highly unlikely to be given an opportunity to match that. Brown knows one thing: “We’re going to hate to see her go some day when she leaves us.”
Dayatthespa, a daughter of City Zip out of M’Lady Doc by Doc’s Leader, was bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo and Goldsher. She has now earned just under $950,000 in her outstanding career.
To read more go to: New York Thoroughbred Breeders Website