08/03/2012 5:21PM

Saratoga: Harrods Creek wins John's Call from off the pace

Barbara D. Livingston
Harrods Creek wins the John's Call Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Even if the race didn't go as expected, the connections of Harrods Creek got the desired result in Friday's $100,000 John's Call Stakes at Saratoga.

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Expected to be sitting first or second early, Harrods Creek, under Junior Alvarado, was actually fourth through the first mile of the 1 5/8-mile John's Call. Brought three wide with three furlongs to go, Harrods Creek took command inside the eighth pole and then drew clear to win the race by 3 3/4 lengths. Tahoe Lake, the 6-5 favorite, outlasted Hailstone for second by a neck. Game Ball, Inscrutable, and Ballet Boy completed the order of finish.

It was the first stakes victory for Harrods Creek, a 5-year-old son of Langfuhr owned by David Richardson and Hiram Polk Jr., and his fourth win from 21 career starts. He had been stakes placed several times, including a head loss in the Grade 3 Valedictory at Woodbine last fall and a third in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita in April.

"The horse has run in some very nice races. He's run in some real hard races," winning trainer Bill Mott said. "He's been touched off at the wire a couple of times like in Woodbine, and he ran very hard in California in the San Juan Capistrano, but today was his day, and we're happy to have the win."

In discussions early Friday morning, Mott told Alvarado that he could be laying first or second in the early stages of the John's Call. But when Ballet Boy broke sharply and was chased by Hailstone and Tahoe Lake through a quarter-mile in 23.75 seconds, a half-mile in 47.50 and six furlongs in 1:12.67, Alvarado was content to sit fourth.

"Sometimes the races don't come as you're expecting," Alvarado said. "It was a mile-and-five-eighths. I wanted to break and let him get comfortable, relaxed, and let him do his own thing. He relaxed the whole way. By the three-eighths pole, I tried to find a clear spot. At the quarter pole, I was clear on the outside, I asked him and he responded right away for me."

"Our rider made the judgment to let the horse settle where he was comfortable, and he picked up the pieces at the end," Mott said. "It worked out great."