Clorevia Farm’s Dr. Skip hooked Top Striker at the top of Saratoga Race Course’s stretch, and the two battled for the length of the stretch, with Dr. Skip prevailing on a head bob at the finish line to win Wednesday’s $70,000 Ratings Handicap by a nose.
Sue Sensor’s Top Striker had taken the lead at the last of eight fences in the 2 1/16-mile race, and jockey Willie McCarthy moved Dr. Skip into a contending position on the final turn before engaging Top Striker with approximately three-sixteenths of a mile to run.
Dr. Skip and Top Striker, ridden by Bernie Dalton, matched strides through the stretch and gamely battled to the finish, with Top Striker gaining a very slight margin in the final strides.
Trained by Ed Graham, Dr. Skip shared the Ratings Handicap’s 156-pound topweight with Andi’amu. The eight-year-old Eddington gelding went off at 6.10-to-1 in a field of nine and paid $14.20 to win after running the distance in 3:40.20 on turf rated as good.
Arch Kingsley Jr.-trained Top Striker finished 8 1/4 lengths clear of Special Skills in third, and pacesetter Andi-amu was fourth, 2 3/4 lengths farther back.