Trainer Christophe Clement got a rare treat on Sunday.
The native of France had the privilege of sending out his Penny’s Gold with Jerry Bailey aboard in the Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup Handicap.
The result was a stunning victory for Penny’s Gold in the Grade III, $200,000-added event for fillies and mares before an announced crowd of 65,221 on umbrella giveaway day at Saratoga Race Course.
The score was Bailey’s eighth stakes win of the meeting and his fourth on the turf. Usually, Bailey is competing against Clement’s entries, so this was the rider’s first stakes triumph of the Spa meet riding for Clement.
“I always enjoy riding for him (Clement) and try and get together with him,” Bailey said. “But riding for Bill (Mott), there’s always a conflict.
“He’s very gracious and always uses me when he can,” Bailey continued. “With Jose (Santos) being down, I get a chance to ride a few more for him.”
Clement was sure glad Bailey rode Penny’s Gold.
“Since Santos got hurt, I’ve had to use a lot of different jockeys,’’ Clement said. “When I can use Jerry Bailey, it’s great.’’
Previously in the Spa meet, Bailey has won on the turf with Hap (in the Bernard Baruch Handicap), Baptize (National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame) and with Voodoo Dancer (in the second division of the Lake George).
Bailey and Penny’s Gold rated along early, waiting patiently behind a solid pace set by Gaviola and rider Jorge Chavez, who set early fractions of 23.8 seconds and: 46.10.
“I was smiling turning up the backside when there were about eight in front of me,’’ a confident Bailey said. “The pace went pretty quick and on paper, I figured it could be.’’
The after Gaviola and Chilean-import Babae engaged in speed duel on the stretch, Bailey rallied Penny’s Gold on the outside for the victory.
“When Velazquez’s horse (Babae) went out there running, I thought Gaviola would be going head-to-head with her,’’ Bailey said. “Any time you have a come-from-behind horse, this helps.”
Owned by Overbrook Farm, Penny’s Gold covered the mile and an eighth on the Mellon Turf Course in 1:40.69.
“It looked like she didn’t,” Bailey said of Penny’s Gold showing early speed. “But she (Penny’s Gold) did. They were going at such a good rate, you didn’t see the acceleration.”
Penny’s Gold previously raced four months ago when she won the Grade III Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. The 4-year-old filly is now perfect in her last four starts.
If all goes well, Penny’s Gold may make a return to the Spa this season.
“As long as she trains well, we will consider the Diana (Handicap on Sept. 3),” Clement said.
Edgar Prado rallied Chaste to a third-place finish, only a half-length behind Babae.
Gaviola faded to finish fourth, only 23/4 lengths off the pace.
...Spa Spy: Gary West’s Dollar Bill, bound for the Grade 1, $1-million Travers on Aug. 25, breezed six furlongs over the main track in 1:14 under jockey Jorge Chavez. Chavez will ride the colt for the first time in the Travers, taking over from Hall of Famer Pat Day.
...A P Valentine breezed an easy five furlongs over the main track in 1:02 under John Velazquez. The jockey will pilot the Grade 1 winning son of A.P. Indy for the first time in the Travers.
”¦Jockey Jorge Chavez missed two days with a bruised knee then returned to ride Max O Max to a 4Â½-length win in a claiming race over 7 furlongs. ...Delay Of Game has been retired after cracking a bone. What caught my eye was the naming of this eight-year-old. He is by Summer Squall out of Wimbledon; get it???