CALL PAUL suffered a bumpy stretch run in Sunday’s $180,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) but that didn’t stop the bay juvenile from pulling off the one-length victory under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
Sent off the 4-5 favorite against three rivals, the Friesan Fire colt headed straight for the front when the gates opened. Gaining control of the race on the inside, Call Paul proceeded through splits of :22.48, :45.98 and 1:10.22 over the fast Saratoga dirt.
Tight Ten, who had tracked in second throughout, ranged up to Call Paul’s outside and challenged for the win. The pair exchanged bumps in the lane, but Call Paul refused to yield to his opponent. Digging in, the Jason Servis trainee inched clear to stop the clock in 1:16.55 and return $3.70 for the victory.
It was another 1 3/4 lengths behind Tight Ten to Spinoff in third, while Meade brought up the rear another 4 3/4 lengths behind.
Call Paul is now two-for-two in his career, breaking his maiden debut by 2 1/4 lengths on July 5 at Delaware Park, and has banked $135,500 in earnings. Campaigned by Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Bruce Irom, he was bred in Pennsylvania by Beatrice Patterson and Vicky Schowe.
Call Paul is the first registered stakes winner out of the Forestry mare Avani Force. His third dam, the unraced Seattle Slew mare Royal Strait Flush, is a full sister to the great undefeated champion Landaluce. Royal Strait Flush’s descendants include Grade 1 scorers Harmonious and Startac.
SARATOGA SPECIAL QUOTES
Jason Servis, trainer Call Paul, winner
“He’s a nice colt. I’ve been breezing him behind horses and covering him up, and we were thinking if he got stuck down inside and we were laying second or third, not bad. He’s got a great mind.
“This horse acts like he’ll run further. I did the same thing with Firenze Fire; broke his maiden, shipped him the day before, and he won the Sanford. I’ll probably leave him here, and we’re thinking maybe the (October 6) Champagne (Stakes [G1] at Belmont Park).”
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey Call Paul, winner
“He responded very well when I asked him. When (Stage Left) scratched, we had to change our plans a little and be closer than we envisioned. Initially, we wanted to sit just off the speed, but with the scratch, when we broke, we got out there and got the lead. There wasn’t too much bumping in the late stretch. I don’t think it affected him. When I asked him, he took off.”
One race after the Saratoga Special, trainer Lynn Ashby saddled Jon Marshall’s TRICKY ESCAPE to wire the rescheduled Waya Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths. The race was originally a Grade 3 set for 1 1/2 miles on the turf, but it was downgraded when moved to the fast main track and run at 1 1/4 miles.
Tricky Escape stopped the clock in 2:04.08 under jockey Chris DeCarlo to record a second straight stakes victory. The dark bay Hat Trick mare captured the Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (G3) last out on July 7 and now boasts an 18-6-5-3, $558,460 career record.
The win also gave Ashby her first career win at the Spa.
“This is my first win (at Saratoga),” said Ashby, who saddled her first winner in 1995. “I just really love being here. I started crying because I thought ‘I’m going to win this race.’ I was quite teary-eyed coming down.”