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Estrechada earns first graded stakes win with stretch-drive surge in G3 Fasig-Tipton Waya

by Brian Bohl for NYRA Publicity

Slugo Racing’s Estrechada aggressively overtook four competitors in the stretch, completing an impressive rally for a half-length win in the 14th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Carded as Race 3, the Waya was the first of five stakes on an outstanding card that is highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, and also features the Grade 1, $500,000 Test, the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose and the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure.

Apple Betty and 4-5 favorite Suffused were the early front-runners, with the former setting the early fractions of 24.36 seconds for a quarter-mile and holding the edge with a half-mile in 49.60, three-quarters in 1:14.34 and a mile in 1:38.41.

Under newly minted Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, Estrechada rallied from the outside on the far turn, took the lead in the final furlong and outkicked Lottie, completing 1 ½ miles on the firm inner turf course in 2:27.49.

“Everything went well. I had a great position in the race with the way it unfolded,” said Castellano, who was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame Friday and earned his second win of the day. “It’s a mile and a half race and the way she did it, I was impressed. He can run all day. I’m just thankful to ride that kind of horse.”

Trained by Mike Puype, Estrechada won her first career graded stakes race in her 20th start. The 6-year-old Argentinean bred returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in almost 17 months. Her previous best finish in a graded stakes was a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Santa Barbara on April 30 at Santa Anita Park.

“She likes the distance, I just couldn’t find the distance on the West Coast. It’s just not there,” said Ral Ayers, assistant to Puype. “Last time she ran a great race, just a troubled trip. Javier did a great job. She got a great trip.”

Making her Saratoga debut, Estretchada, off at 9-1, paid $20 on a $2 win bet and increased her career earnings to $227,842.

Lottie, a 4-year-old Arch filly ridden by jockey Joel Rosario, earned runner-up honors in her graded stakes debut for trainer Graham Motion.

“I was really pleased. I told Joel that at the top of the stretch I was worried she wouldn’t get a piece of it,” Motion said. “She really grinds it out. This filly wants to go a mile and a half or further, so I think we have found her niche. And look, to be competitive in this race today, that speaks a lot.

“The fact that she was competitive today, I think it really opens up a lot of choices, and I think the mile and a half really suits her.”

Summersault, for trainer Mark Hennig, was third, finishing on the board for the seventh time in eight starts.

Apple Betty, Suffused, Evidently and Guilty Twelve completed the order of finish. Gone Away was scratched.

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