08/30/2013 6:12PM

Saratoga: Midnight Watch wires in Riskaverse

Barbara D. Livingston
Midnight Watch, with Irad Ortiz Jr. riding, takes the Riskaverse by a length.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Put the fastest horse in the race on a speed-favoring turf course for one of the hottest barns on the grounds, and the outcome should be fairly obvious. And sure enough, so it was in Friday’s $100,000 Riskaverse with the 2-1 favorite Midnight Watch leading throughout to post a one-length victory over Teen Pauline in the feature event on the lone twilight card of the 2013 Saratoga meeting.

Midnight Watch, who had set the pace before fading to finish fourth in the Grade 2 Lake George five weeks earlier, sprinted right to the lead under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., who then was able to slow her down to a 23.80-second opening quarter-mile. Teen Pauline chased the leader from the outset, continued on gamely to the end, but proved second-best, three-quarters of a length in front of Unbelievable Dream.

The victory was the third in the last four starts for Midnight Watch, a homebred daughter of Stormy Atlantic, who is owned by Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. The win was the 15th of the meet for McLaughlin, who trails only Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown in the trainer standings.

Midnight Watch paid $6.20.

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

“I think they all figured we were going to go to the lead and go too fast, so I told Irad not to rush her too much, just ease into it, and we got a nice 23-and-four quarter, so he did a great job riding her,” said McLaughlin.

“We’re happy to get a stakes win behind her name," said the trainer, "and we’ll go from there. Obviously the Garden City comes back too quick, but we’ll find something for her later. It’s been a great meet. A lot of the horses who were second early in the meet came back to win. And having live horses helps.”