Carrington Racing Stables’ Here Comes Art grabbed the lead at the start of Saratoga Race Course’s $53,000 Ninepins Hurdle, turned back challenges at the final fence, and drew clear to a 3 3/4-length victory under trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. on Thursday, Sept. 1.
Beverly Steinman’s Perfect Edge closed strongly on the outside to claim the place spot, three-quarters of a length clear of Gentry Stable’s Be Certain in third. Arcadia Stables’ Hope for Us All, half of a 1.85-1 favored entry with Mrs. Ogden Phipps Hurdle winner Opera Heroine, finished fourth in a field of ten for the final steeplechase race of Saratoga’s 2011 season. A nine-year-old Royal Anthem gelding, Here Comes Art ran the Ninepins’ 2 1/16 miles in 3:55.66 on a firm inner turf course after going off as the 3.95-1 second betting choice.
Here Comes Art was making his third start of the Saratoga season, after finishing third in the $70,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 28 and being pulled up at the last fence after setting the early pace in the $70,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes three weeks later. For the Ninepins, an optional allowance, Camden, S.C.-based Kingsley called his own number and donned Carrington’s silks for his first ride of the year over fences.
Breaking from the outside, Here Comes Art moved to the lead before crossing under Saratoga’s finish line for the first time and set a relaxed pace. Opera Heroine stalked the leader early, with Hope for Us All in striking range. Opera Heroine began to drop back on the final turn as 41.75-1 Perfect Edge and 4.10-1 Be Certain launched their attacks.
Here Comes Art jumped the last of nine fences in stride, with Perfect Edge a length back and Be Certain preparing to overtake Hope for Us All. The front-runner spurted away from his challengers a few strides after the fence and gradually increased his margin to the finish line.