08/10/2012 6:48PM

Saratoga: Quick Wit by a nose in Hall of Fame Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Quick Wit (left) perseveres to defeat Csaba in the Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - On paper, it looked like a sloppy track was the last thing trainer Dale Romans wanted to see for his 3-year-old Quick Wit.

On the track, it turned out to be just perfect for the son of Sharp Humor.

After hooking up with Csaba at the five-sixteenths pole, Quick Wit, a 10-1 shot under substitute jockey Rajiv Maragh, prevailed by a nose over the favored Csaba, under Julien Leparoux, to win the $200,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes Friday at saturated Saratoga. It was 4 3/4 lengths back to Daddy Nose Best in third.

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The Hall of Fame Stakes was originally scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course, but heavy rain forced the New York Racing Association to move it to the main track. Thus, the race is downgraded to a Grade 3 pending a review of the North American Graded Stakes Committee.

For Quick Wit, owned by Michael Bruder and trained by Dale Romans, it was his first stakes victory in four tries. In one of his previous stakes tries, Quick Wit was beaten 27 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 Derby Trial, which was also run over a sloppy track. Romans said the off track was not the reason for the poor performance that night.

"He had other excuses, he came out of the race a little jammed up," Romans said. "I didn't think it was the track surface at all."

Romans had named Corey Lanerie to ride, but that jockey missed his connecting flight from Atlanta to Albany, so Maragh picked up the mount.

Maragh put Quick Wit in third position early, but kept him in the space between Csaba and Skyring so that he wasn't getting slop kicked in his face.

Maragh split horses at the five-sixteenths, joined up with Csaba, and the race was on. It appeared as though Quick Wit was going to open up on Csaba in the stretch, but Csaba fought back. In the end, it was Quick Wit who put his nose on the line first.

Quick Wit covered the 1 1/8 miles in the slop in 1:51.95 and returned $23.80.

"When I first passed him I thought if my horse would sustain the run that he was making he would pull away," Maragh said. "But the other one started battling back, so it came down to a really close race. Fortunately, I got the win."

Phil Gleaves, who shipped Csaba here from south Florida, was naturally frustrated by the result, albeit pleased with his colt's gutty performance.

"I thought he ran game," Gleaves said.  "When he was headed, it looked like he was going to back up, and he came back again. I don't know how the race will shape up time-wise, but I was very proud of his effort. It's a long way to come to get beat a nose."

myjockwon More than 1 year ago
because they dont have them in france but he can ride a race horse
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Wanted to like him, just got burned too bad. Let's see if Trainer Gleavse rides him back. In France tho' they don't have city bus lines, ze Bus is one of many who run rural routes.
matthew_melton More than 1 year ago
bad luck for Lanerie, whom is deserving of this win. Romans keeps doing his thing.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
The first move out of the gate by Rosario on Skyring was to drill the horse to his inside, Csaba, not once or even twice but a good three times (watch the head-on). Leparoux did a great job to make the lead without too much damage, but then Rajiv on the winner came in on him several times in the upper stretch. Amazed that he almost re-rallied for the win. Apparently it was open season on the favorite. Surprised (not really) that someone who constantly runs his mouth wouldn't recognized a bad run when he saw one. Leparoux gained some respect in this corner.
matthew_melton More than 1 year ago
Julien is not a good rider, but a Great Rider. Anyone who tries to say otherwise is an idiot. Just like the morons who dog Ramon all the time.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Leap-a-roo can't ride a bus.
mfunicello More than 1 year ago
Explain to me how that was his fault? How about that idiot Lucas putting his horse head and head thinking it would help Optimizer. Leparoux rode a great race, by the way, where was Daddy Nose Best? He hasn't done a thing without Julien up
Frank Kulcsar More than 1 year ago
glad i cancelled my bets for this one
matthew_melton More than 1 year ago
Platano Lajara More than 1 year ago
to me julien is a great rider hes even betta then javier.....u cant blame him for losin the race maragh horse kept duggin in to csaba and csaba almost still won the race