07/30/2017 2:22PM

Paid Up Subscriber pays big dividend for owner with Shuvee

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Debra A. Roma
Paid up Subscriber took his first victory in 13 months with Sunday's Shuvee Handicap.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.  - After more than two decades out of the game, owner Peter Brant decided to get back in the Thoroughbred business last year. At last November’s Fasig-Tipton auction, he shelled out $1.1 million to buy the graded stakes-placed winner Paid Up Subscriber.

In a three-horse field in Sunday's Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap at Saratoga, that looked like a bargain purchase as Paid Up Subscriber cruised to an eye-popping 32 1/2-length victory over Terra Promessa. It was four lengths back to Apologynotaccepted in third.

“It’s a great thrill, a great sport, I couldn’t be happier,” said Brant, who owns Paid Up Subscriber with his cousin Joe Allen. “This is a really nice mare, she’s run against some nice horses.”

The win was the fifth in 15 starts for Paid Up Subscriber, a daughter of Candy Ride who hadn’t won since taking the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap 13 months ago at Churchill Downs.

Paid Up Subscriber, whom Brant gave to Chad Brown to train, was coming off a hard-fought second-place finish behind the multiple champion filly Songbird in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont on June 11.

There were no Songbirds in here, but Terra Promessa was coming in off a 7 3/4-length victory in the Allaire DuPont Distaff at Pimlico.

John Velazquez, on Paid Up Subscriber, was anticipating Apologynotaccepted and Terra Promessa to go at it on the front end. But when Luis Saez took Apologynotaccepted back around around the turn, Velazquez made an early move toward Terra Promessa after a half-mile in 46.81 seconds.

Entering the far turn, Paid Up Subscriber poked a head in front and, while in hand, she opened up at will.

In the stretch, Paid Up Subscriber continued to open up with Velazquez taking several peeks behind him. He took Paid Up Subscriber in hand late as she covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.31. Paid Up Subscriber returned $3.30 as the favorite.

“The other two horses have some speed. I wanted to be close enough where they didn’t get away from me but not put too much pressure on them,” Velazquez said. “On the backstretch, I changed my mind and said I’m going to put the pressure on and see how they do. When I got to them at the half-mile pole, it looked like they were struggling. From then on it was pretty easy for her.”

Back in 2001, Velazquez won an off-the-turf maiden race aboard Summer Colony by 32 3/4 lengths at Saratoga.

Brant said that he would leave the choice of the next race up to Brown, but mentioned the Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign here Aug. 26 as the next most likely spot.