Green Light Go, backed down to favoritism off a 3 1/4-length debut score downstate July 4 that earned him a field's best 84 Beyer Speed Figure, proved best of a promising group in Saturday's GII Saratoga Special S. as he sat the trip and drew off emphatically. Racing without Lasix, the Stronach homebred was away second last and moved up to sit in fifth early as a hot pace developed in front of him. Saving all the ground tucked just behind the speed through :21.71 and :44.16 splits, he swung out heading for home and wore down pacesetter Tuggle en route to running up the score. Second choice Noose rallied from far back to take place honors from Tuggle.
“I put him in the race and he handled everything very professionally,” said winning pilot Junior Alvarado. “I was just a pilot on top of him. I knew how much horse I had the whole way, and I was very excited at the way he was handling the kick back, and just rating behind horses very kindly. We knew how good he was and I trusted him there.”
Green Light Go had been further flattered entering this event when the runner-up from his unveiling, Another Miracle (American Pharoah), came back to score here July 24. He prepped for this with a pair of bullets at the Spa, including a :46 1/5 (1/26) move over the main track Aug. 6.
“He ran well without having to be on the lead and that was good to see,” winning conditioner Jimmy Jerkens said. “The track has been so speed-favoring initially. I told Junior to take him out of there and don't discourage him from running, but if someone really wants the lead, that it'd be fine. It turned out he didn't break quite as fast as his first start, but it worked out well. He sat in the pocket just nice up against the bridle. He didn't care about taking dirt which was really nice to see. He leaned a little in the stretch; maybe a little green, but I guess he's still learning, too. He had good purposeful works between races and has handled it. He was also composed in the paddock, so we might really have a nice one here.”
As for what could be next: “We'll talk to Frank [Stronach] and maybe we'll skip the [Sept. 2 GI Runhappy] Hopeful. The [GI] Champagne [S. at Belmont Oct. 5] seems a little more appealing than the Hopeful at the moment, but we'll see.”
Homebred Green Light Go is a product of Saratoga's 2007 GI King's Bishop S. winner Hard Spun, whose 73 career stakes winners include champion Questing and other GI winners like Wicked Strong, Hard Aces, and Hard Not to Like, as well as last week's $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational S. victor A Thread of Blue. Green Light Go's dam, 2008 GI Prioress S. runner-up Light Green, brought $350,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November sale while carrying her second foal. Her most recent reported offspring is a yearling colt by Creative Cause. Her granddam was an unplaced full-sister to MGISW and sire Jade Hunter. Green Light Go is the 10th black-type winner for broodmare sire Pleasantly Perfect, whose other stakes performers this year include GI Madison S. winner Spiced Perfection (Smiling Tiger).
SARATOGA SPECIAL S.-GII, $200,000, Saratoga, 8-10, 2yo, 6 1/2f, 1:15.68, ft.
1–GREEN LIGHT GO, 120, c, 2, by Hard Spun
1st Dam: Light Green (SW/GISP, $167,690), by Pleasantly Perfect
2nd Dam: Green Light, by Sheikh Albadou (GB)
3rd Dam: Jade Jewel, by Mr. Prospector
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O/B-Adena
Springs (KY); T-James A. Jerkens; J-Junior Alvarado. $110,000.
Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $154,000. Werk Nick Rating: F. Click
for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Noose, 120, c, 2, More Than Ready–Cowgirl Mally, by Gone
West. ($190,000 RNA Ylg '18 KEESEP). O/B-Joseph W. Sutton
(KY); T-Eddie Kenneally. $40,000.
3–Tuggle, 120, c, 2, Point of Entry–Satisfaction, by Awesome
Again. ($160,000 Ylg '18 FTSAUG). O-August Dawn Farm; B-R.
Keith Long (KY); T-Jeremiah C. Englehart. $24,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 1 3/4, 4. Odds: 1.55, 2.35, 8.20.
Also Ran: Peruvian Boy, Zyramid, Long Weekend, Iberico. Scratched: King Snake.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.