02/18/2013 2:52PM

Aqueduct: Saginaw starts year with Hollie Hughes victory

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Saginaw is now 10 for 13 since trainer David Jacobson claimed him for $30,000 last March.

After giving his many backers some anxious moments, Saginaw kicked into overdrive in deep stretch to run down Readytodefer in Monday’s 35th running of the Hollie Hughes Stakes for New York-breds.

Readytodefer, coming off a pair of front-running allowance wins, sped right to the lead on the rail in his stakes debut, and got away with a modest opening quarter-mile in 23.12 seconds as Saginaw gave chase outside.

Around the turn, Readytodefer ripped through a second quarter in 22.65 seconds, and followed that with a fifth furlong in 11.93 seconds to maintain a clear advantage in midstretch.

But those fast internal fractions took their toll on the leader, and Saginaw, who is at his best as a long sprinter/miler, was just getting warmed up. The veteran has a nose for the wire, and he was along in the final yards under Junior Alvarado to win by a head while giving six pounds to the runner-up.

“Turning for home, I just asked him to go and he started giving me the kick,” said Alvarado.
“He’s a game, good horse and he knows what he’s doing. He just got there right at the wire.”

Saginaw, whose 10 wins from 14 starts last year included six stakes victories on all four New York Racing Association dirt tracks, ran six furlongs in 1:10.51 on a fast inner track in his seasonal debut, and paid $3.20 to win.

Saginaw, a 7-year-old gelding, improved to 17 for 36 overall, including a 10-for-13 record since trainer David Jacobson claimed him for $30,000 last March.

The $45,000 winner’s share boosted Saginaw’s career earnings to $791,690.

“He still has it, and I think, hopefully, this is the beginning of a long campaign for him in 2013,” said Jacobson. “He might need another two months off, or we might get him back in next week, but that’s totally up to him. You always wonder if you give them a layoff how they’re going to come back. Today, he showed a lot of heart. He’s not the fastest horse I’ve ever had, but he has the biggest heart.”

Readytodefer, the 2-1 second choice, saved the place by a length over Be Bullish, who was also third in last year’s Hollie Hughes.

Uncle T Seven and Sportswriter completed the order of finish, as the field of five crossed the line in parimutuel order.