Jockey Michael Mitchell hit the accelerator after the next-to-last fence of Saratoga Race Course’s $48,000 allowance hurdle, and Robert V. LaPenta’s Fast Car zoomed away to a comfortable 6½-length victory on Wednesday.
Trained by Jack Fisher, who has won all three of Saratoga’s jump races so far this summer, Fast Car put away Sherry Fenwick’s pacesetter Anticipating early in the stretch, opened two lengths at the furlong pole, continued to draw away from the field, and was allowed to gallop home through the final 20 yards.
Global Freedom, last year’s three-year-old champion and the stronger half of a favored Rosbrian Farm entry, finished well to grab the place spot, three-quarters of a length ahead of Anticipating. Petticoats Loose Farm’s Gaye Breeze finished fourth, 3½ lengths farther back.
A maiden winner at the Virginia Gold Cup meet on June 27, Fast Car went off as the 4.30-to-1 second betting choice and paid $10.60 to win after running the entry-level allowance hurdle’s 2 1/16 miles in 3:49.41 on firm turf.
For the first mile and a half, Mitchell and the racy-looking Fast Car had the entire field in their view as they galloped at the back of the eight-horse field.
Anticipating, with Ross Geraghty riding for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, established position on the front end by the second of eight fences, with Whitman’s Poetry and Emerald Rocket close behind him.
Fast Car contentedly saved ground until Mitchell moved him out a bit on the final run around the clubhouse turn and gave the four-year-old Verrazano gelding a clear path between the final two fences. Fast Car pursued Anticipating through the final turn and finally won the battle to the front end early in the stretch.
From that point, the only question was the margin of victory. Global Freedom and jockey Darren Nagle, who had kept Fast Car company through the early going, battled through on the inside to take second from a tiring Anticipating.
Fast Car, a $625,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland September sale when offered as a ridgling, is a half brother to Saratoga stakes winner Copper Bullet.
Fast Car made his racing debut at age three and won a Colonial Downs maiden flat race last August. He subsequently finished third to Global Freedom in the Far Hills Races’ Gladstone Stakes, his first start over fences.
His racing pattern to date this year resembles that of Fisher-trained Snap Decision, another well-bred youngster who was last year’s novice champion and a two-time stakes winner this year.
Fast Car finished fifth in his season debut at the Middleburg Spring Races on June 13 before his maiden win two weeks later.
Owner LaPenta, a Connecticut entrepreneur, has been involved in high-level flat racing for more than two decades. In recent years, he was a partner in 2018 Travers Stakes (Gr. 1) winner Catholic Boy and Uni, the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile (Gr. 1) winner who was voted an Eclipse Award as the year’s champion turf female.