09/01/2013 7:53PM

Saratoga: Five Iron leads all the way in Saranac Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Five Iron, with Luis Saez aboard, wins the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths at Saratoga on Sunday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Five Iron shipped across the border from Woodbine and ran the locals off their feet, leading from start to finish to register a 2 1/2-length victory over 2-1 favorite Notacatbutallama in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Saranac Stakes at Saratoga.

With Luis Saez standing in for regular rider Luis Contreras, Five Iron took advantage of his inside post to sprint right to the lead, setting very honest fractions of 22.97 seconds and 46.76 over a turf course officially rated “good.” Five Iron disposed of his early pursuers approaching the stretch, at which point Notacatbutallama, who angled off the rail at the quarter pole, picked up the chase.

But Notacatbutallama proved no match for Five Iron, who pulled clear despite drifting out a bit near the wire.

Five Iron’s victory was his third in a row, all at 1 1/8 miles, while Notacatbutallama had a three-race winning streak that included two Grade 3 tallies snapped.

Five Iron is trained by Brian Lynch for owner Fred Allor. He paid $12.80.

“He’d been a mile and one-eighth a couple of times, and I knew if he could get the lead and get left alone, he’d be very dangerous,” Lynch said. “One thing I was confident in is that his fitness level was there. I never had a horse who pricks his ears like he does. He just runs into the bridle. As he’s gotten older, he’s found his niche. I thought the early fractions were a little scary, but he just seemed to be doing it so easy. He’s got such a big, high cruising speed, and he just does everything so easily.”

Lynch said he likely would give Five Iron one more start this year, then put him away to have a fresh horse for his 4-year-old campaign.