08/11/2013 5:51PM

Saratoga Special: Corfu sets blistering pace, wins by a nose

Barbara D. Livingston
Corfu (right) wins the Grade 2 Saratoga Special by a nose over Wired Bryan on Sunday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Corfu has shown in a very short span that he’s got two qualities any trainer loves to see in a racehorse: blazing speed and a ton of heart.

Racing for the second time in 17 days, Corfu set a lively pace, then withstood a stretch-long duel to register a game nose decision over the previously undefeated Wired Bryan in Sunday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special.

The win was the fourth on the card for trainer Todd Pletcher, whose Danza also finished a fast-closing third in the Special, and the fifth for jockey John Velazquez.

Corfu, a son of Malibu Moon, had debuted with a similarly resilient half-length decision over Pure Sensation in a five-furlong maiden special weight dash July 25. And as was the case in his first start, Corfu sped right to the lead and set lively fractions, posting splits of 21.62 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.02 for the half, with Sanford winner Wired Bryan forcing the issue from the outset.

Wired Bryan gradually inched closer while leaving the furlong grounds but could not get past the leader, narrowly missing his third straight win and his second graded stakes score in three weeks. Danza finished full of run along the inside to be third, a half-length back.

Corfu completed 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.57 over a fast track and paid a surprising $15.

“I thought Wired Bryan would be one of the horses to beat,” Pletcher said. “He ran a courageous race. We just happened to be on the fortunate side of the head bob.

“We’ve liked this horse all along. We felt he was a precocious 2-year-old, and we’re happy to have him win first time out. We monitored pretty closely how he bounced out of his maiden race to decide if we could turn him back on very short rest. He came back with a very good breeze, and I thought like that was the answer we were looking for. Luckily, he had enough to hold on today in a pretty fast race.”

Pletcher said he would consider running Corfu back again in the Grade 1 Hopeful here on closing day, Sept. 2.

Wired Bryan is trained by Michael Dilger, who served as an assistant to Pletcher before striking out on his own this year.

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Harry Strongosky More than 1 year ago
Wired Bryon will win the Hopeful if he runs.
Phil Rynn More than 1 year ago
What? He won on ONLY 17 days of rest? That's animal abuse!......I never thought that I'd see the day where 17 days of rest was considered draconian to run a horse back. There is something seriously wrong with the thoroughbred breed if a horse cannot give you his best 17 days apart. "Racing for the second time in 17 days"...that's laughable. What are trainers doing?
Robert Johnson More than 1 year ago
Very unPletcher-like. He rested Verrazano right out of the Kentucky Derby.
Tim More than 1 year ago
Lmao funny all these people talk about ther beats and I woulda had or I did cash a huge ticket,, how come u only post after the fact the race is over? Where's your post with your bet before the race.. Don't cry over spilled milk when mommy didn't buy any milk this week
Jason Sikorski More than 1 year ago
I thought bridghmohan thought he had it.... Couple more taps with the stick and he goes right by...the best horse lose
Michael Jacob More than 1 year ago
Velazquez's horse brushed with Brian nearing the wire and it cost Brian the win. Velazquez knows how to intimidate another horse to win a big race and get away with it. Look what happened the race before with his pal Rosario. He almost put a horse over the rail.
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
They all get like this when deep in the stretch and in front but being challenged. But I saw the contact too near the wire. Usually they'll bear out and take the challenging horse wider. I had a big bet on Wired Brian, and that cost me by the smallest nose I ever lost by. Fortunately I had a ten dollar box on the exacta. Never bet against Johnny in a big race. Note that Shawn did not claim foul, I guess he figured he would not prevail against Johnny.
Bob More than 1 year ago
It is incidental contact not interference my thoughts
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
When it always happens near the wire, it's not so incidental. You have to think it cost the 7 at least an inch, which was the distance he lost by.
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
Rosario was dq'd for that and should be suspended. He can claim "accident" but it was lucky the horses didn't go down -- both of them. Definitely warrants a suspension. Mike Smith, to his credit, did not do that on "Paynter" in last year's Belmont.
P More than 1 year ago
With a WIn on Brian I would have had the Pick #4,and 4 win Grand Slam and Daily Double with D. Legs from the previous race, at least I had a Pick#3 and and 3 or 4 Grand Slam....but I figured the Head Bob cost me maybe $4000.00.................................An OK win day could have been huge another story of a HorsePlayer...it is what it is I guess
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Would have won with a better/stronger rider finishing Sorry happens to the best of us No more JERRY BAILEYS
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
I fee ur pain bro. I had a pick4 going. I went Race 8: 6, 10 Race 9 I went 4, 5 . Race 10 I went 5, 6, 7. Race11 I singled the 9. I made a mistake and thought Johnny v was the 5. I had it for $1. The $2 pick4 paid $5, 663. I'm so pissed right now.
Frank Kulcsar More than 1 year ago
Lucky Valezquz rides for Pletcher-- lousy ride5 1/2 turf--speed of race and he,s holding horse back thinking race was marathon
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
You noticed that ride also I didn't understand what the choking down was going to do isn't it better to let him run Wasn't rating Pletcher horses for sure
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
He looked pretty bad following the race was Tyeing up and not moving well. Hope everythings OK SNEAKY PLETCHR 6-1 LOL
Vicki Dwight More than 1 year ago
Run him back in the Hopeful!! Run him back into the ground! Grind him up baby, plenty more where he came from!!
chembites More than 1 year ago
Zip it. Dummy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She's right. It's a numbers game to Pletcher and others.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago