10/25/2014 5:51PM

Savvy Hester by a head in River Memories


ETOBICOKE, Ontario—Savvy Hester battled back along the inside after giving up the lead early in the stretch to notch her first stakes Saturday at Woodbine in the $111,200 River Memories.

Savvy Hester ($10.50) vied with Blessed One through soft fractions in the one-mile turf route, with Joy in close proximity. The favored Surtsey came wide from the pack of the pack exiting the turn to hit the front early in the lane before sagging in the final furlong, as Savvy Hester outfinished Dance Again to prevail by a head, in 1:36.69 over the firm ground.

Silent Star rallied wide to secure third over a tiring Joy, while Surtsey faded to fifth in the six-horse field of fillies and mares.

Justin Stein got a leg up from trainer Ricky Griffith on Savvy Hester, who banked $60,000 for Debmar Stable. She was a well-beaten seventh in her previous outing in the Grade 2 Canadian.

“The turf was a little soft [in the Canadian], and she prefers a firm, fast course,” Griffith said. “We’ll throw that one out, and she ran her race today. She has good tactical speed. She’s won on the lead before. I was happy to see her on the front end in an opening quarter in 24 and change. That worked out good for us.”