08/05/2010 6:39PM

Bridgetown wins Latham in return to races

Barbara D. Livingston
Bridgetown, with Julien Leparoux up, wins the Latham Stakes in his first race since November.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Bridgetown made a successful return from a 250-day layoff, rallying wide on the far turn under Julien Leparoux before overpowering pacesetting Red Rally in upper stretch en route to a one-length victory in Thursday’s $70,000 Latham Stakes at Saratoga.

Flamin’ Hot rallied wide under Alan Garcia to get second by 1 1/4 lengths over Red Rally. It was Flamin’ Hot’s first loss in five turf starts.

Bridgetown, who won a maiden race going 5 1/2 furlongs over this course last August in his second career start, had not run since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes last Nov. 28 at Hollywood Park. Before that, he won the Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.

Under Julien Leparoux, Bridgetown raced in fifth position early, but was three or four wide down the backstretch. He launched a four-wide rally around the far turn, came three wide into the stretch before overtaking Red Rally, who had run fractions of 22.40 seconds and 45.47 seconds for the opening half-mile.

Bridgetown opened up a sizeable advantage in midstretch and had more than enough to hold off Flamin’ Hot, who had an extremely wide trip. Bridgetown, a 3-year-old son of Speightstown owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk, covered the 5 1/2 furlongs over yielding turf in 1:03.65 and returned $6.60 as the favorite.

“I told Julien to be patient with him,” said trainer Ken McPeek, who won two races on Thursday’s card. “He’s definitely better when he can sit outside horses and then punch.”

McPeek said Bridgetown would remain in turf sprints for the foreseeable future, though he did not have a next start picked in mind.