07/22/2013 6:38PM

Saratoga: Bigger Is Bettor rallies to upset victory in Evan Shipman Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Bigger Is Bettor gets up on the inside to win the Evan Shipman.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - There is something about Saratoga that brings about the best in Bigger Is Bettor.

For the second time in two years, Bigger Is Bettor pulled off an upset in a stakes at Saratoga, this time rallying along the inside under Joe Rocco Jr. to win Monday's $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes by a head over Awesome Vision in a four-horse blanket finish. It was a neck back to Readthebyline, who was third by a neck over Groomedforvictory.

In 2011, Bigger Is Bettor upset the Albany Handicap at 26-1. Monday, in a six-horse field, he was the fifth choice at 11-1 and returned $25.20.

Overall, Bigger Is Bettor is now 4 for 26, with two wins being in 1 1/8-mile races at Saratoga.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

In between the Albany and the Evan Shipman, Bigger Is Bettor had 1 win from 16 starts, that coming last month in a second-level allowance, a one-turn mile race at Belmont Park.

"Since 2011, that was the problem, because at Belmont it was just a mile. We always wanted to run him at a mile and an eighth and even longer, but there wasn't a race like that until we came here," said Ubillo, who trains Bigger Is Bettor for Chester and Mary Broman. "He really likes it here. Since Day One when we came here he was very happy."

Ubillo was very happy with the way Joe Rocco Jr. rode Bigger Is Bettor. Subbing for Junior Alvarado _ off his mounts while nursing a sore shoulder from a gate incident on Saturday _ Rocco had Bigger Is Bettor in third position, along the rail while favored Readthebyline set fractions of 24.67 seconds, 48.97, and 1:13.49 while being prompted by Groomedforvictory.

In the stretch, Groomedforvictory took a short lead, but Readthebyline battled back. Those two were well off the rail, however, leaving plenty of room for Rocco to guide Bigger Is Bettor on through.

Bigger Is Bettor got through and was able to outfinish Awesome Vision, who was charging down the center of the track under Irad Ortiz Jr., but who had difficulty changing leads. Bigger Is Bettor, a 5-year-old son of Grand Reward, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.07.

"When they came off the fence turning for home, we had a clear path and he kicked in for me," said Rocco, who won his first stakes at Saratoga. "Once he switched leads, he gave me a pretty good kick. From the sixteenth pole on home I thought we were good."

Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I thought the 2 Awesome Vision would have won the race if not for rider consistently going to the left hand in the stretch has the horse was lugging out if he switches to right hand he would have straightened out and won a close game race by top 4. JE " In close finishes its usually the jockeys responsibility"
Don Crook More than 1 year ago
Left smack is probably the cue to switch leads and the horse just would not. If the rider knew he wouldn't switch, he may have acted differently. My guess is that if he had switched he would have blown by. He didn't drift out that much but the finish was tight.