February 26, 2024

Aspray strikes in Lake Placid

Apray wins the Lake Placid S. at Saratoga (Photo by Adam Coglianese / Credit to Joe Labozzetta)

Aspray launched the winning move off the far turn in Saturday’s $200,000 Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga, drawing off to a two-length score in the 1 1/16-mile turf event for three-year-old fillies. Winner of the Hilltop S. on the Preakness undercard, the Chad Brown-trained daughter of Quality Road notched her first graded win when stopping the teletimer in 1:42.85 on the good inner turf course.

Flavien Prat was up on the 3.35-1 second choice, and Aspray has now won four of five starts. She was exiting her lone setback, an even fourth in the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Oaks (G1) on July 8, and the bay filly increased her earnings to $226,210 for owner/breeder Jan Van de Bos Naify’s RanJan Racing.

“I trained her a little too far last time (in the Belmont Oaks), but you had to try since it was such a prestigious race we were pointing towards,” Brown said. “I thought she could do it. Flavien knows the horse so well, he came back after the race and he was adamant about the race being a little too far for her and that we should cut her back in distance to 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles and we’ll be fine. He was right.”

“We had a good draw (in post 2),” Prat said. “She broke well, I was able to get myself into the race. She was traveling well and did the rest. I was really happy and pleased where I was. I thought turning for home I was traveling really well and when I tipped her out, she really dug in.”

Brown was responsible for four of the eight runners, including 4.20-1 co-third choice Surge Capacity, who wound up a non-threatening second after a less-than-favorable trip. She held second by a head among a tight pack of runners. Soviet Excess closed from last for third at 28-1, a neck better than 3-1 favorite Tax Implications in fourth for Brown.

Belmont Oaks runner-up Prerequisite, who completed the Brown quartet, came next in fifth. Gloria’s Princess, Heavenly Sunday, and Junipermarshmallow completed the order of finish.

Aspray won her first two starts at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this year, an off-the-turf maiden special weight and entry-level allowance on turf. The Kentucky-bred is out of Irish Group 2 winner Up, a daughter of Galileo and half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Dutch Art, and Aspray counts Group 1-placed Monarch of Egypt and Group 3-placed Khartoum as half-brothers.

“Chad knew what he was doing,” Nafy said. “I was very proud of her. He has some beautiful fillies in his barn. It’s an example of the quality of workers, bloodstock and owners. It’s a joint effort.”

Brown said Aspray will target the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 14.

“It would be about as far as she would want to go (nine furlongs), said Brown, who has won the Queen Elizabeth a record five times, including the last two years. “As long as she’s got some pace to run at. Last year, Flavien and I teamed up to win it with Gina Romantica. The race had some pace and she was able to come from off it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it again with this one.”