08/15/2013 4:56PM

Saratoga: Hangover Kid comes on strong to win West Point

Tom Keyser
Hangover Kid, with Irad Ortiz Jr. riding, powers home in the West Point Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y - Hangover Kid wasn’t feeling too well earlier in the week. But, he was just fine Thursday afternoon, uncorking a powerful rally down the center of Saratoga’s inner turf course under Irad Ortiz Jr. to win the $100,000 West Point Stakes for New York-breds by one length.

Hear the Footsteps, who split horses in midstretch to battle for the lead, finished second by a nose over Kharafa. Lubash, last year’s West Point winner and 2-1 favorite Thursday, finished fourth.

Hangover Kid was stepping back into New York-bred company following a third-place finish in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.

But earlier in the week, Hangover Kid was coughing and had some mucus that put into question his start in the West Point. But owner/breeder Steve Taglienti wanted to run, though trainer Jason Servis was a little apprehensive.

“I let him open-gallop this morning and I didn’t hear any coughing and I said I’m not going to scope him because even if he is a little dirty we’re probably going to run anyway,” Servis said. “I got to give Steve credit because he wanted to run.”

Hangover Kid wanted to run as well.

Under Ortiz, Hangover Kid was last in the field of 10 and a bit wide entering the first turn. Ortiz tucked Hangover Kid in a little bit, before having to go six wide turning for home.

Despite being so wide, Hangover Kid closed powerfully and surged past Hear the Footsteps in deep stretch to get the win, his sixth from 18 career starts and first stakes victory.

Hangover Kid, a 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.34 and returned $13.80 to win.

“I was a little aggravated. Irad was wide on the first turn, but he said ‘I didn’t want to strangle him and wrestle him back,’ and once he got down the backside he was fine,” Servis said.

Servis wasn’t sure where Hangover Kid would run next, but he didn’t rule out trying something as ambitious as the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 28.

“We might look at some big stuff,” Servis said.