08/20/2017 5:57PM

Verve's Tale out-duels Blue Prize in Summer Colony Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Verve's Tale (#1) battled Blue Prize through the stretch en route to a nose victory in Sunday's Summer Colony Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The scratch of morning-line favorite Going for Broke was supposed to make life a lot easier for Verve’s Tale in Sunday’s $100,000 Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga. While in the end Verve’s Tale got the job done, it was anything but easy for the odds-on favorite.

Verve’s Tale, under Jose Ortiz, confronted Blue Prize in upper stretch and the two engaged in a head-to-head battle through the lane with Verve’s Tale getting her nose on the wire to win the Summer Colony. Blue Prize finished second by 6 3/4 lengths over Fuhriously Kissed. Rachel’s Temper, winner of this race last year, finished fourth and was followed by Annie Rocks and Romantic Vision, who stumbled badly at the break.

The win was just the third from 14 career starts for Verve’s Tale, who nine months ago won the Grade 3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct by a neck at odds of 20-1.

Sunday, Verve’s Tale was sent off the 4-5 favorite after Going for Broke scratched to run in next Saturday’s Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes.

Verve’s Tale stalked the pace from third while three to four wide down the backside as Annie Rocks, under Angel Arroyo, set fractions of 24.71 seconds, 49.34 and 1:12.99 for the opening six furlongs while being stalked by Blue Prize.

Blue Prize, under James Graham, struck the front above the quarter pole, but Ortiz had Verve’s Tale right off her flank coming into the stretch. When it looked like Verve’s Tale was going to cruise on by Blue Prize battled back. It made for a stirring stretch battle that ultimately went to Verve’s Tale.

Ortiz said Blue Prize “dug in the last eighth of a mile. She was very hard to pass.”

Graham said when Verve’s Tale came to his filly “she never stopped running. The bob got us beat. The next jump I was back in front.”

Verve’s Tale, a daughter of Tale of Ekati owned and bred by Charles Fipke and trained by Barclay Tagg, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.53 and returned $3.70 to win.

Tagg said when Going for Broke scratched he thought “it was going to be easier, but it wasn’t for some reason. I thought the fractions were a little slow, maybe it was a little deeper than she likes, I’m not sure about that, but she didn’t seem to skip across the top of it quite as easily as she does other times. Anyway, she got the job done and the jockey rode her beautifully. I think he got the race won for her.”