The Spa Spot: Park City takes long route to victory
Park City proved he was the fastest in the field of seven that competed in Friday's fourth race, winning by one length. That speed was critical because the 2-year-old was pretty green in his racing debut and ran farther than the others in the maiden special weight event.
The son of Harlan's Holiday owned by Starlight Racing, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Hall of Fame-bound John Velazquez had an eventful trip, but got his act together in deep stretch and won by one length. He paid $15.20, a large mutuel for a Pletcher-Velazquez runner. The principals in Starlight are Jack Wolf, a summer resident of Saratoga Springs, and Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg, Schenectady County.
The Equibase chart caller noted that the colt twice dragged Velazquez toward the middle of the course away from the others: " ... came out just past the half mile pole, resulting in the rider taking a good hold on the reins, settled down and had just made it back into the three path when he shied away from the jumping antics being displayed by the runner up at that juncture ... "
The wild ride continued in the Equibase notes: " ... closed ground readily on the front runners, despite taking a long zig zag course from the three-sixteenths pole to the furlong marker, continued onward, grabbed away the lead a few strides before the end and kicked clear, crossing the wire under hand urging."
Starlight Racing has a group of 13 2-year-olds in training this summer. Two of them - Shanghai Bobby and Park City - are sired by Harlan's Holiday, who Wolf owned during his racing career. Shanghai Bobby is 2-for-2 and headed to a stake at Saratoga. Park City stepped out with an erratic but ultimately successful first race.