09/03/2012 4:22PM

Finger Lakes: Aspirant, Lady Finger go to a pair of longshot maidens

Tom Cooley Photography
Tequila Hero, ridden by Jeremias Flores, scores at 24-1 in the Aspirant for New York-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings.

A pair of lightly regarded maidens, one who had shown little in two previous  starts and the other a first-time starter, swept the six-figure stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds Monday at Finger Lakes.

Tequila Hero ($50) rallied from fifth in the stretch to take the $126,825 Aspirant for colts and geldings. Matchmadein heaven ($36.80) survived an inquiry for a bumping incident in midstretch to upset the $124,888 Lady Finger for fillies.

Tequila Hero, ridden by Jeremias Flores for the first time, was fifth of seven sprinting in his career debut locally and a distant seventh of nine going two turns on turf at Saratoga. The improvement he showed third time out may have been due to the blinkers added to his equipment by owner-trainer Michael Lecasse.

Tequila Hero was ninth after the opening quarter-mile of the six-furlong Aspirant and had passed just one more horse after a half-mile in 45.83 seconds. Dark Roast, a maiden who was also racing in blinkers for the first time; second-time starter Saint Arthur, the 9-5 favorite;  and Stoneless, an easy winner of his first race while racing for a tag at Saratoga, were engaged in a three-way battle for the lead  coming into the stretch.

Dark Roast forged a half-length advantage at the eighth pole, but Tequila Hero, closing fastest of all down the center of the track, made up a 3 1/2-length deficit in the final furlong to blow past everyone. He finished three-quarters of a length in front after completing the six furlongs  in 1:13.48.  Dark Roast got second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of a tiring Saint Arthur.

In the Lady Finger, Joel Cruz rode Matchmadeinheaven to a neck victory over 3-5 favorite Shea Darby. The Tom Albertraini-trained Shea Darby, second in her debut at Saratoga, led until Matchmadeinheaven, trained by Chris Englehart, responded to Cruz’s right-handed whipping. Although Matchmadeinheaven and Shea Darby brushed against each other as Matchmadeinheaven was going past her rival, the stewards did not change the order of finish after reviewing the stretch run and observing that Shea Darby was the horse who caused the contact by drifting in.

Matchmadeinheaven ran six furlongs in 1:13.61. Shea Darby was a clear second, 4 3/4 lengths ahead of E. Schifty, who came into the Lady Finger as the lone winner in the field.