Updated on 09/17/2011 10:01PM

Santana Strings prevails in Amsterdam

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Santana Strings (right) defeats Social Probation (left) by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga on Sunday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Steve Asmussen believes he made some bad decisions as it pertained to Santana Strings. It is obvious that he has corrected those mistakes.

Santana Strings, under an aggressive ride from Eibar Coa, put away the early pace-setter, Storm Surge in midstretch, then held off a late run from longshot Social Probation to win Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 by three-quarters of a length at sun-splashed Saratoga. A crowd of 61,707 was announced on T-Shirt Day, where many fans spun through the turnstyles multiple times.

Asmussen believes he made "a horrible call" removing the blinkers from Santana Strings equipment prior to the Swale in March. Another error was attempting to stretch him out to a mile in the Derby Trial after a couple of ships. That turned out disastrous after Santana Strings scoped with mucus in his lungs.

After a freshening, partly precipitated by a quarantine situation in Asmussen's Churchill Downs barn, Santana Strings won the Alysheba Stakes at Lone Star and now the Amsterdam. In both stakes, his rider put him into the race early.

Coa hustled Santana Strings out of the gate and he contested the pace outside of Storm Surge and Gamblers Slew. After a half-mile run in 45.08 seconds, Santana Strings and Storm Surge came into the stretch together before Santana Strings edged clear inside the sixteenth pole. Social Probation, under Calvin Borel, finished strongly to get second by one-half length over 6-5 favorite Silver Train.

Storm Surge, Middle Earth, Vicarage, Going Wild, Maddy's Lion and Gamblers Slew completed the order of finish.

Santana Strings, a son of Wheaton owned by Millennium Farms, covered six furlongs in 1:10.18 and returned $21.20 to win.

"This is who he's always been," Asmussen said, "I just really made some wrong moves with him early. His last two races were actually races he was prepared for and belonged in."

Richard Dutrow Jr., the trainer of Silver Train, figures his horse may have just regressed off his near track-record setting victory at Belmont Park on July 2.

"It looks like he just ran an even race to me; he didn't fire," Dutrow said.

Santana Strings will most likely return in the Grade 1, $250,000 King's Bishop at seven furlongs here on Aug. 27.