Lightly raced Bay of Plenty was making just his ninth career start on Sunday in the $100,000 Alydar S. at Saratoga, but that didn’t stop the Kiaran McLaughlin pupil from schooling a group of more experienced rivals.
Just to give an indication of who Bay of Plenty was facing, the field included a past Travers S. (G1) winner in Golden Ticket (Speightstown), Grade 2 victors Noble Moon (Malibu Moon) and Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley), this year’s Carter H. (G1) third-placer Dream Saturday (Any Given Saturday) and classic-placed Mylute (Midnight Lute).
But more importantly, the field boasted Palace Malice (Curlin), hero of the 2013 Belmont S. (G1) as well as last year’s Metropolitan H. (G1) and earner of more than $2.6 million.
Someone obviously forgot to inform Bay of Plenty of his rivals’ credentials.
The dark bay colt surged to the front when the gates opened and never looked back under jockey Joel Rosario. The duo opened up a sizeable advantage over their 10 rivals and carried it all the way home.
The Darley-bred sported Godolphin’s colors as he bounded along in front through splits of :23.29 and :46.84. Palace Malice was settled into an outside spot in midpack and began his move as Bay of Plenty was entering the turn and posting the three-quarter mark in 1:10.94.
Palace Malice leveled off in the stretch as Golden Ticket on the rail and Mylute on the far outside put in game efforts in an attempt to catch Bay of Plenty, who continued powering along. It wasn’t to be, though, as Bay of Plenty swept under the wire in 1:48.92 for nine furlongs over the fast main track.
Mylute proved best-of-the-rest in his rallying effort, finishing second by 2 1/2 lengths after running in last early on. When the gates opened, Dream Saturday to his inside came over a bit and cut him off, but jockey Javier Castellano quickly steered Mylute over to the rail well behind the rest of the field, where they resided until nearing the turn.
Mylute ranged up to run with the stragglers at that point and took a right-hand turn upon hitting the stretch to get clear of the field and put in his run.
Golden Ticket finished third on the rail and Palace Malice just managed to get fourth in a photo.
Palace Malice was originally retired last fall but his connections decided to give him one more season and put him back in training. The five-year-old bay entered the Alydar off a nice third-place effort sprinting six furlongs in the Diablo S. on May 10 but ended up 7 1/2 lengths behind Bay of Plenty in this spot.
The Alydar winner got a taste of being schooled himself, thanks to his last race.
Bay of Plenty ran up a trio of easy scores before seeing his streak ended with a nice second while making his stakes bow in the Discovery H. (G3) last November. That concluded his sophomore campaign, and he opened 2015 with another front-running victory, this time against allowance/optional claiming rivals.
However, in his last race, the Kentucky-bred found himself facing top-level competition in the Metropolitan H. (G1) and was a well-beaten ninth on that occasion.
Screenshot photos of Bay of Plenty winning Alydar