07/27/2012 6:41PM

Saratoga: Street Life rallies wide to win Curlin

Barbara D. Livingston
Street Lifa and rider Jose Lezcano are muddied but victorious in the Curlin.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Chad Brown chose to run Street Life in Friday’s $100,000 Curlin Stakes over more prestigious races because he felt it was his best chance to go into next month’s Travers Stakes on a winning note.

Even when several prominent horses dropped out of the Jim Dandy and Haskell Invitational, Brown stuck to his original guns.

Brown will enter the $1 million Travers on Aug. 25 loaded for bear after Street Life, under Jose Lezcano, rallied six wide in the sloppy Saratoga stretch to win the Curlin by 1 3/4 lengths over Five Sixteen. It was 2 1/2 lengths back to Ever So Lucky in third.

[Complete coverage of racing at Saratoga: News, PPs, and video]

Easter Gift, Reload, and Love to Run completed the order of finish. Politicallycorrect and Morgan’s Guerrilla scratched.

Those two scratches actually concerned Brown, because they were the primary speed of the race and Street Life, who usually comes from last, needs pace to run at.

But Love to Run and Easter Gift set a strong early pace and Lezcano kept Street Life within six lengths of the lead before making his move around the far turn.

In making that move, Street Life was forced to go six wide, and he did brush with Ever So Lucky inside the quarter pole, but it didn’t stop him from getting to the wire first.

Street Life, a son of 2007 Travers winner Street Sense, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.68 and returned $6.30 as the second choice.

“He’s the kind of horse who wants to be in the back, and you have to use him the whole way to keep him in the game,” Lezcano said. “When I asked him at the quarter pole to swing out he gave me a good kick.”

Brown said he talked with Lezcano about keeping Street Life a little closer than he had been in his previous races. Brown said he had a moment for pause when Street Life had to go so wide on the turn.

“I thought it might take away from his punch in case somebody else had a late threat,” Brown said. “He had so much horse on the turn it was clear to me at the quarter pole he was the best horse in the race.”