08/07/2013 4:12PM

Saratoga: West Hills Giant wins New York Stallion Series Stakes by DQ

Tom Keyser
West Hills Giant (No. 2) won the New York Stallion Series Stakes on Wednesday at Saratoga after Orino was disqualified.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – What appeared to be a courageous, game victory by Orino turned into a frustrating defeat after the lightly raced New York-bred was disqualified from first and placed second behind odds-on favorite West Hills Giant in Wednesday’s $100,000 New York Stallion Series Stakes at Saratoga.

Orino led throughout, then turned back a bid from the 3-5 West Hills Giant to cross the finish line 1 1/4 lengths clear in the one-mile Stallion Stakes, run on the inner turf course.

But Orino drifted in slightly under right-handed pressure from jockey Luis Saez in late stretch, putting West Hills Giant in tight quarters and briefly up against the inside rail approaching the wire, giving the stewards little recourse but to reverse the original order of finish.

West Hills Giant recovered from his brush with the inside fence to hold off Captain Gaughen by a nose for the all-important second spot, allowing him to be awarded the victory via disqualification. Old Pal of Mine finished fourth after losing considerable ground into the stretch.

The victory was the fourth in 11 career starts for West Hills Giant, a 3-year-old son of Frost Giant who also captured a restricted stakes for New York-breds over the Belmont Park turf course June 30. He paid $3.20 to win Wednesday.

“It looked tight on the pan, but as soon as you saw the head-on, he did bounce off the rail, so I thought we had a good shot [of being placed first],” said John Terranova, who trains West Hills Giant. “It looked like he broke stride a little bit when he got bounced down near the inside.

“Our horse doesn’t really care for the inside, either. He’s always tried to make that wide move. It’s gotten him beat before when he’s tried to run up inside horses, which is why we put the blinkers on him earlier this year before the Gotham. But I really didn’t see a spot where he could have gotten out today.”

Edgar Prado, who rode West Hills Giant, said he felt he would have won the race if not impeded.

“My horse tried to get through the inside,” Prado said. “He was gaining slowly. I think he would have won the race if the contact didn’t happen.”

Bond Vigilante wins Claramount Stakes

Bond Vigilante rallied to a convincing 2 1/2-length victory over the 7-10 Marriedtothemusic earlier Wednesday in the $100,000 Claramount Stakes. Chapman finished third, followed by Longfor the City in the scratched-reduced field of 3-year-olds.

Bond Vigilante is trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables and was ridden by Jose Ortiz. He paid $7.60.