09/02/2011 6:26PM

Saratoga: Velazquez guides Elusive Pearl to Riskaverse victory

Barbara D. Livingston
Elusive Pearl, with John Velazquez riding, wins the Riskaverse.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Things are going so well for jockey John Velazquez this summer at Saratoga that even when he's not named to ride a horse in a stakes race, he can still win it.

Velazquez, not originally named on any of the 13 horses entered in Friday's $75,000 Riskaverse, picked up the mount from Ramon Dominguez on Elusive Pearl when Dominguez's first call, Decennial, drew into the field. Velazquez then gave Elusive Pearl a stellar stalking trip, guiding her to a 1 3/4-length victory over the late-running Ruthenia. It was a length back to Divalarious, who got third by a length over favored Starformer.

The win was the 51st of the meet for Velazquez - his 11th stakes score - and gave him a three-win lead over Javier Castellano with three days remaining in the meet. Earlier on the card, Velazquez won the Gold and Roses Stakes for New York-breds with Zow. Castellano rides here only Saturday and Sunday, as he will be at Parx on Monday.

Velazquez came to trainer Michael Trombetta in the paddock with a plan of how the Riskaverse would unfold, and it went exactly that way. Velazquez had Elusive Pearl - who had never raced before on turf - stalking the pacesetter My Lost through six furlongs in 1:13.45 before taking command leaving the quarter pole and bounding home an easy winner.

"I told him I thought there were two speeds in the race and that we could sit off the other one, and he said do whatever you want," Velazquez said. "I sat and waited and waited until the quarter pole, gave her her head, and she was there."

Elusive Pearl, a 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro owned by Robert Goldsmith, covered the mile in 1:36.55 over a firm inner turf course and returned $19.80 to win.

"He said I think I'm going to sit off the other horse. He had it scripted perfectly," Trombetta said. "I think being on the outside was a blessing for her - he was able to ease her off the pace."

Trombetta said he didn't know exactly what would be next for Elusive Pearl, but it would most likely be on turf.