Goldy Espony, a Group 3 winner in France last season, equaled that achievement on Saturday in her fifth U.S. start, taking the $200,000 Waya (G3) at Saratoga in wire-to-wire fashion.
Under Kendrick Carmouche, the four-year-old set modest fractions of :25.03, :50.79, 1:15.54, 1:42.16, and 2:06.63 over the firm turf, and scooted clear late to win by 3 1/4 lengths in a time of 2:29.04 for 1 1/2 miles. The 9-2 third choice in a field of 11 fillies and mares, she paid $11.20.
This effort came on the heels of a victory in the $100,000 River Memories at Belmont on July 5, also won gate-to-wire over 12 furlongs. The gray by Vespone is now undefeated in three starts this year having opened her account with a Belmont allowance win in May.
Winner of the Prix Penelope (G3), a French Oaks (G1) prep at Saint-Cloud, last April, Goldy Espony made just one more start in France prior to her importation. She made only two stateside starts upon her arrival, finishing sixth in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and third in the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland.
It would be no surprise if trainer Chad Brown tries to win a higher-class event with her, but she would need to cut back to 10 furlongs for the Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont, Rodeo Drive (G1) at Santa Anita or E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine. Alternatively, there is always the Glens Falls H. (G3), Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, Dowager or Long Island H. (G3) going long later in the year.
Runner-up in the Waya was Eastern Belle, who has picked up the place check three times in a row now. Her losses were narrower in the New York (G2) and $57,000 Keertana at Churchill Downs, and she probably stays in these longer-distance races.
Danza Cavallo, the Brown-trained 5-2 favorite, tracked in second behind her stable companion but was rank much the way and faded to 10th in the stretch. She’s a much better filly than what she showed here.
Also on Saturday, Recepta made a strong rally from mid-pack to win the $100,000 De La Rose by 2 1/4 lengths under John Velazquez. Restricted to fillies and mares that had not won a graded stakes this year, the De La Rose was the first black-type tally for the four-year-old daughter of Speightstown since capturing the $100,000 Chelsea Flower at Belmont in her third career start back in October 2013.
Jimmy Toner trains the filly for Phillips Racing Partnership and Pam Gartin. Three times placed in other stakes, including two Grade 3s, she was well-backed here at 3-1 while outfinishing longshots Tittipaesi and A Little Bit Sassy. Daring Kathy, the 8-5 favorite, weakened to ninth in the field of 10.
Earlier in the card, Under Control sprung a mild upset over favorites Charming Kitten and Reload in the $98,000 Lure. Restricted to horses that had not a won a graded stakes this year, the Lure was the first stakes win of any kind for the Graham Motion trainee, who races for Live Oak Plantation.
Previously a multiple allowance winner, Under Control had placed in both the Oceanport (G3) and River City H. (G3) last year. He was making just his second start of the season following a close second-place finish to Charming Kitten in a June 20 allowance at Belmont.
In a race won last year by multiple Grade 1 winner Big Blue Kitten, this trio look no more than overnight stake or fringe Grade 3 types.
(Goldy Espony photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)