Updated on 09/06/2011 9:39AM

Replay: Havre de Grace beats males in Saratoga's Woodward; Flat Out a closing second

Tom Keyser
Havre de Grace wins the Woodward under Ramon Dominguez, throwing her hat into the ring for Horse of the Year consideration.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Owner Rick Porter wanted to give Havre de Grace a chance to be considered for Horse of the Year, and the 4-year-old filly put herself in the conversation on Saturday with a popular victory over seven male opponents in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes before 24,430 fans at Saratoga.

After beating Suburban winner and Whitney runner-up Flat Out by 1 1/4 lengths, Havre de Grace joined Rachel Alexandra (2009) as the only fillies to win the Woodward, a race that was run for the 58th time. For the 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, the Woodward was the last of eight victories in a perfect season in which she went on to be named Horse of the Year.

For Havre de Grace, the win was her fourth in five starts this year, and helped erase the disappointment of a nose loss to Blind Luck in the Delaware Handicap seven weeks ago. The win against males put Havre de Grace ahead of Blind Luck - whom Havre de Grace defeated by 3 1/4 lengths in the Azeri at Oaklawn Park in March - in the older filly and mare division.

"We're as good right now as anybody and I think it does move us back in front in our division," trainer Larry Jones said.

Said Porter: "She made the statement that we were hoping he would make. We gave her a chance to show how good she was. She deserved a chance to show it and she showed it today."

Under Ramon Dominguez, Havre de Grace was four wide entering the first turn as Rule, under Javier Castellano, set fractions of 23.93 seconds for the quarter and 48.09 for the half. Dominguez was able to get Havre de Grace into the three path down the backside.

At the half-mile pole, Dominguez moved Havre de Grace into third, and by the three-eighths pole she was second, about a length off of Rule. Havre de Grace set sail after Rule turning for home, and she finally snatched the lead from inside the eighth pole. Dominguez said he could hear Alex Solis urging Flat Out inside the sixteenth pole, but Havre de Grace easily held that one at bay.

Flat Out finished second by 1 1/2 lengths over Rule, who was followed in the order of finish by Mission Impazible, Giant Oak, Ice Box, Mambo Meister, and Convocation.

Havre de Grace, a daughter of 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.18 and returned $6.50. She was favored by about $5,000 over Flat Out.

"Going to the first turn we were a little wide following Convocation," Dominguez said. "I didn't really want to give up my position. As soon as I got the backside and Convocation got out of that spot, she found herself in a beautiful spot. She had a great stride on her, very relaxed. As soon as I started pressing which was kind of early - at the three-eighths pole - she just kept coming for me."

Jones said he entered the race a bit concerned about the seven-week layoff and an altered training schedule because of last weekend's hurricane.

"I'm impressed with her because I know how long it's been since we ran, but I knew she came out of the Delaware Handicap very good," he said. "She was ready to move forward off that race and I think she has."

Alex Solis, the rider of Flat Out, also came away impressed with Havre de Grace.

"Yes I am, to be honest," he said. "You never know how they are going to fare with the males, and she proved today that she's a great horse."

Jones said it is likely that  Havre de Grace would make her next start in the Grade 1 Beldame at Belmont Park on Oct. 1, though he left the door open for a start in the Spinster at Keeneland the on Oct. 9.

Jones said it has not yet been decided whether Havre de Grace would run in the Breeders' Cup Classic against males or the Ladies' Classic against females.

"Believe me, we're considering it. We're looking at both," Jones said. "There's a long time between now and then, but we're not ruling [the Classic] out."