08/25/2016 5:51PM

On Leave rallies to win Riskaverse Stakes

Debra A. Roma
On Leave, ridden by Jose Ortiz, wins the Riskaverse Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths Friday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Despite a less-than-perfect trip, On Leave remained unbeaten as a 3-year-old, rallying from well off the pace to win Thursday’s $100,000 Riskaverse Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths at Saratoga.

Under Jose Ortiz, On Leave stumbled at the start, was caught wide throughout, but kicked clear in the final furlong to record her first stakes victory for owner Stuart Janney III and trainer Shug McGaughey.

“Big performance,” Ortiz said. “Like I told Shug, I didn’t think it was my best ride, and she overcome that, and she did it in good fashion, so I think she’s serious.”

On Leave stumbled at the start and was seventh of nine running into the first turn. A headstrong She Doesn’t Mind, to her inside, prompted On Leave to float very wide entering the first turn. On Leave basically stayed four wide down the backside while Marquee Miss, under Junior Alvarado, set fractions of 23.12 seconds for the quarter and 48.13 for the half-mile.

On Leave continued wide entering and around the far turn and was five wide in the stretch. But On Leave still had plenty of run when called upon by Ortiz and she kicked clear leaving the eighth pole en route to the victory.

“Down the backside, I’m four wide, they start slowing down a little bit, so I decided to move forward and keep going forward the whole backside,” Ortiz said. “When we entered the three-eighths pole, I asked her a little bit, and I got a ton of horse underneath me. I got pretty confident by the three-eighths pole, and when I made my move by the quarter pole, she exploded.”

She Doesn’t Mind finished second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Pricedtoperfection. Both of those horses are trained by Chad Brown.

On Leave, who is 3-for-3 this year after going 0 for 2 at age 2, covered the mile over a turf course labeled “firm” in 1:35.74 and returned $5.60 as the favorite.

“I was impressed by the effort, I wasn’t surprised,” McGaughey said.

On Leave is by War Front and out of the dam Meghan’s Joy, who has now produced six stakes winners. Ironicus, Norumbega, and Hunting are among the more notable siblings.

McGaughey said he would point On Leave to the Grade 3, $500,000 Sands Point at Belmont on Sept. 17.