On a Saratoga opening day that saw projected rain hold off for the first half only for the skies to open in its second half, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Comical (Into Mischief) led home a one-two finish for her sire in the GIII Schuylerville S. as a trio of quality fillies who could rematch in the GI Spinaway S. at the end of the meet hit the wire in close order.
After the main track remained dry despite storms in the area for the card’s first three dirt races, the deluge came midday and left the oval on the sloppier side of muddy for the juvenile-filly feature. Comical, a six-length debut winner May 26 at Santa Anita to earn her ‘Rising Star’ badge, was made the public’s second choice as late money poured in on her stablemate Shippy (Midshipman).
Away in good order, the $100,000 KEESEP grad was scrubbed on early by Javier Castellano to track longshot leader Integral (Algorithms) from second through a :22.54 quarter. Kiss the Girl, a clear third favorite, was one spot further back while Shippy was being driven to keep up along the rail. Integral briefly looked as though she’d get away from her pursuers at around the five-sixteenths pole, but was collared by Comical soon after straightening for home. Shippy, who appeared to be in deep water on the turn, found her best stride along the rail and moved into contention a furlong from home. Comical turned her barnmate back inside the sixteenth marker and held gamely as Kiss the Girl took one final dive at her on the wire, prevailing by a neck and denying the latter’s trainer Todd Pletcher his seventh Schuylerville score.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to win at Saratoga, and we’re blessed. To get a win here means a lot,” said winning co-owner Erik Johnson, who is a defenseman for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. “They’re special animals and they’re a part of your family when they run at a racetrack. Hopefully, I can win the Stanley Cup later next year and get a daily double. Hats off to the whole team that got her here. I don’t take for granted how difficult it is. People spend a lot of time and money to win a race like this at Saratoga. The team put in a ton of tough hours to get her here. We’re excited to see what her future holds.”
Of runner-up Kiss the Girl, jockey John Velazquez said, “She was just green today. When she won [her debut June 12] at Belmont, she was right next to the other horse the whole way around. She was more focused than she was today.”
Comical, the 51st stakes winner and 24th graded stakes winner for her star sire, is the third foal to race out of Kayce Ace, who was stakes placed and won three times in 15 starts for Susan Casner’s Casner Racing. She is a full-sister to 2008 GI Travers S. hero Colonel John whose unraced sophomore Candy Ride (Arg) filly hammered for $500,000 to Peter Brant at KEESEP in 2017. She returned to Candy Ride two more times after her mating with Into Mischief and produced two more fillies, a yearling and a foal born Mar. 9.
SCHUYLERVILLE S.-GIII, $150,000, Saratoga, 7-11, 2yo, f, 6f, 1:11.66, my.
1–COMICAL, 120, f, 2, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Kayce Ace (SP, $151,190), by Tiznow
2nd Dam: Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman
3rd Dam: Grande Dame, by Zen
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($100,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-ERJ Racing, LLC, Gary Barber, Dave Kenney & Madaket Stables LLC; B-Susan Casner (KY); T-Doug F O’Neill; J-Javier Castellano. $82,500. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $121,500. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Kiss the Girl, 120, f, 2, Into Mischief–Spin the Bottle, by Hard Spun. ($210,000 Ylg ’18 EASOCT). O-Three Diamonds Farm; B-Classic Thoroughbred XII (MD); T-Todd A Pletcher. $30,000.
3–Shippy, 120, f, 2, Midshipman–Lead Me Not, by Speightstown. ($40,000 Ylg ’18 FTKJUL; $77,000 2yo ’19 OBSMAR). O-Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R A Hill Stable & Joseph E Besecker; B-Morris B Floyd & Chuck Givens (KY); T-Doug F O’Neill. $18,000.
Margins: NK, HF, 7 1/4. Odds: 3.10, 3.80, 1.10.
Also Ran: Buxom Beast, Integral, Lula’s Roadrunner, His Glory, Lady Fatima. Scratched: Aurelia Garland.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.