07/26/2012 4:09PM

Saratoga: Sea Island upsets St. John’s River in allowance

Tom Keyser
Sea Island (center) holds off St. John's River (right) to win an alllowance race Thursday at Saratoga.

Thursday’s second race was supposed to be a confidence booster for the graded stakes winner St. John’s River on her way to a Grade 1 appearance later in the meet.

Instead, it turned out to be an Alabama prep for the 3-year-old Sea Island, who won the $90,000 second-level allowance race by 3 1/2 lengths over St. John’s River, who got second by a nose over Acting Happy.

After the race, trainer Shug McGaughey said he would likely point Sea Island to the Grade 1 Alabama here Aug. 18.

“I thought I might have outsmarted myself by not running in the Coaching Club, but I thought it was a little too quick after her last race,” McGaughey said, referring to a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at 6 1/2 furlongs. “I thought maybe this will set her up for the next one.”

McGaughey said the Alabama would be the next one, relying on Sea Island’s breeding to get her 1 1/4 miles.

“She’s bred to run all day: Her mother would run from here to Schenectady and back,” McGaughey said, referring to Resort.

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Meanwhile, St. John’s River couldn’t find that closing kick that she displayed as a 3-year-old in suffering her third straight loss this year.

“She hasn’t kicked quite as hard as she had done in the past,” jockey Rosie Napravnik said. “She had a throat problem, which is why she was off, but she doesn’t seem to be making any noise. I guess it’s up to [Leggio] to go back to the drawing board.”

St. John’s River was Napravnik’s first ride since she suffered a non-displaced fracture of the middle toe of her right foot on Wednesday.

Napravnik has taped the toe to an adjacent toe, and while she was walking a little gingerly, she said it doesn’t affect her riding.

“I can’t feel it in my irons, so it doesn’t affect me that way,” she said. “The doctors didn’t try to convince me not to ride. They said it’s whatever you can tolerate.”