08/06/2016 5:11PM

Paola Queen pulls off 55-1 upset in Test

Barbara D. Livingston
Paola Queen, under Luis Saez, pays $112 for winning the Test Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y .--  The old adage “pace makes the race” certainly applied to Saturday’s $500,000 Test Stakes at Saratoga, where the 55-1 Paola Queen proved the beneficiary of a suicidal duel that helped her register an improbable three-quarter-length victory over Lightstream in the prestigious Grade 1 dash for 3-year-old fillies.

 The stage for Paola Queen’s victory was set early, when the 6-5 favorite Kareena was pushed through early splits of 21.74 and 43.50 seconds by Mother Goose winner Off the Tracks through the opening half-mile of the seven-furlong Test. Paola Queen was always within easy striking distance of the leaders, racing in the second flight with Lewis Bay, but appeared to be in trouble herself when put under a drive and angled wide by jockey Luis Saez entering the stretch.

Kareena was the first to fold turning for home, while Off the Track courageously continued to hold the lead through midstretch. Lightstream, well back early, appeared to be rallying best of all from between horses inside the eighth pole under Joel Rosario, but never switched off her left lead. Meanwhile, Paola Queen continued to persevere outside the top pair, ultimately proving best despite drifting some at the end.

Lightstream ran down a game but weary Off the Tracks by a neck to finish second. They in turn were followed by Lewis Bay, One True Kiss, Kareena, and Kinsley Kisses.

Paola Queen, a daughter of Flatter owned by Grupo Seven C Stable, gave trainer Gustavo Delgado his first Grade 1 victory in the United States. Delgado, who came to this country two years ago from his native Venezuela, stables regularly at Gulfstream Park West but did bring a modest string to Saratoga for the summer.   

Paola Queen completed the distance in 1:22.32 over a fast track and paid $112.

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Get handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

“I’m very happy,” said Delgado, who could barely contain his emotions in the winner’s circle. “It’s very important to win a race like this at Saratoga, for the horse, the owner, and the trainer.”

Saez said he had worked Paola Queen several times and had confidence she would run a big race.

“I checked behind and nobody was coming,” said Saez referring to the stretch run. “I saw Joel was coming on the inside, I asked her, and she responded.”