07/30/2016 4:40PM

Flintshire responds when patient Castellano says go in Bowling Green

Barbara D. Livingston
Flintshire scores as the 1-10 favorite under Javier Castellano in the Bowling Green.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -  It wasn’t as close as the final margin of victory might suggest.

While horseplayers may have had their heart in their throat watching the Grade 2 Bowling Green unfold, Javier Castellano, the rider of heavily favored Flintshire, had it under control the whole time.

Waiting as long as he could to ask his mount to run, Castellano pushed the button outside of the eighth pole and Flintshire responded with an electric turn of foot that carried him to a three-quarter length victory over Grand Tito in the $250,000 Bowling Green at Saratoga.

Grand Tito, who set pedestrian fractions up front under Jose Ortiz, finished second by a length over Twilight Eclipse, who was a half-length ahead of Can’thelpbelieving. Danish Dynaformer scratched.

The victory was the second straight for Flintshire since coming to the U.S. and trainer Chad Brown and sets him for a repeat bid in the Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer Invitational on Aug. 27. Flintshire, a 6-year-old Juddmonte Farms homebred son of Dansili, won that race last year when in the barn of Andre Fabre.

Flintshire showed a similar explosive turn of foot Saturday as he did last year.

Castellano believe the key to unlocking Flintshire’s turn of foot is to keep him covered up as long as possible. He thought that could be more difficult in a four-horse field.

But Castellano had Flintshire in third and on the inside of Can’thelpbelieving while Grand Tito, under Jose Ortiz, set harness-like fractions of 26.53 seconds for the quarter-mile, 53.14 for the half, 1:19.44, and 1:44.20 for the mile. Leaving the three-furlong marker, Twilight Eclipse went around Flintshire, who was now relegated to fourth.

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Turning into the lane, Castellano was still content to wait while gradually swinging Flintshire into the clear. Once there, Castellano moved his hands ever so slightly and Flintshire took off, overtaking Grand Tito inside the sixteenth pole while remaining in hand.

Flintshire covered 1 3/8 miles over a firm inner turf course in 2:18.24

“As long as you cover up he gives you that powerful kick,” Castellano said. “I’m kind of concerned a little bit, not too many horses in the race and being in the clear all the way and then when you ask him he doesn’t kick. You could see me at the top of the stretch, I never hit him, I never do anything. When he switched leads turning for home I know he’s going to explode.”

Brown admitted to being a little bit concerned as he knew the other riders were race-riding Castellano, which he acknowledged is well within their right.

“Javier showed a lot of poise. He didn’t panic. The horse ran terrific. He’s a true champion,” Brown said. “They’re a great team.”

Flintshire, the 1-10 favorite, returned $2.20.