World Approval relished the stretch back out to 1 1/8 miles in Saturday’s $300,000 Saranac (G3), rallying boldly up the inside on the Saratoga Mellon turf course to edge Money Multiplier. Joel Rosario provided the heady ride aboard the Mark Casse-trained gelding.
Nonna’s Boy flashed to the front at the break and established opening splits in :22.30 and :46.29 while being chased by Sky Hero. World Approval settled near the back of the pack and was still about five lengths back rounding the far turn in seventh after three-quarters in 1:10.23.
Money Multiplier, who stalked the front-runners in fourth during the early stages, surged to the lead in upper stretch but World Approval had found his best stride leaving the far turn and was coming fast. The pair hooked up inside the eighth pole, with World Approval determinedly proving best in the final yards to score by a head.
“The race that he won when he was sitting close to the pace, there was no pace,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “Today, it looked like there was going to be a little more pace.
“(Rosario) let him relax, and then he asked him. When you ask him, he’s going to go, so you’ve got to plan it just right. Joel made all the difference today, for sure.”
World Approval just missed setting a new course record, stopping the teletimer in an excellent 1:45.39.
“They got out of there not that quick and picked it up on the backside,” Rosario said. “I just wanted to be on the inside the whole way and try to save some ground. I could see when (John Velazquez) pointed to the outside (aboard Money Multiplier), I said, ‘OK, that’s my chance to go.’ (My horse) was just skipping trying to keep on going, keep on coming. When he got there, he moved really beautiful on the inside.”
Winner of the nine-furlong American Derby (G3) at Arlington two back, World Approval perhaps found the 1 1/16-mile distance of the August 7 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga too short, running out of room as he closed fast to be fourth. The gray son of Northern Afleet was overlooked at 8-1 as a result, the fifth choice among eight three-year-olds, and returned supporters a $19.80 win mutuel.
The Casse barn came away with its third win of the meet from nearly 40 starts.
“At the sixteenth pole, I didn’t think we’d win because that’s how tough the meet’s been on us,” Norm Casse said. “Now we get to go, this was our last runner of the meet, and we get to come back next year with some optimism.”
A Live Oak Plantation homebred, World Approval nearly doubled his career earnings to $364,050 from a 9-4-0-2 record.
The Florida-bred broke his maiden in his third start at Gulfstream in mid-March and followed with a victory in the restricted Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay in early April. World Approval stepped up in company to post a late-running third in the May 2 American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs and entered the American Derby off a close fourth in the May 30 Penine Ridge at Belmont Park.
The well-bred gelding is out of the With Approval mare Win Approval, the dam of 2006 champion turf horse Miesque’s Approval. World Approval is also a half-brother to the multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Za Approval, runner-up in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1); and Grade 2 hero Revved Up, a 14-time stakes winner.
World Approval (inside) battling Money Multiplier in the Saranac stretch courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photo