This is a race they’ll be talking about for a long time. And it’s proof, once again, that Yogi Berra was correct when he said, “it ain’t over til it’s over.”
With less than a sixteenth of a mile to go in the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser novice stakes at Saratoga on Wednesday, Buttonwood Farm’s The Mean Queen looked like a certain winner.
After stalking Silverton Hill’s Bodes Well and jockey Gerard Galligan in second throughout much of the 2 1/16 mile race, The Mean Queen, under Tom Garner, made her move midway on the far turn after the final jump and drew clear by 6 1/2 lengths in the stretch. With less than a sixteenth to go, Garner went to the whip and, according to trainer Keri Brion, the five-year-old mare didn’t like it one bit. She spooked and unseated Garner, allowing Bodes Well to inherit the lead and stride off to a 4 1/2-length score over Riverdee Stable’s City Dreamer, with Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Arch My Boy a nose back in third.
Here’s how Equibase’s chartcaller summarized The Mean Queen’s Kiser trip:
“The Mean Queen, just off the inside in aim of the leader, jumped well to maintain her stalking position, advanced to issue a challenge nearing the final flight, took over midway on the last turn in the flat, edged clear under a drive, came under an off sided crop just inside the furlong grounds and ducked in, the rider attempting to correct before going out of bounds across the dogs, had his charge correct herself and lost contact and balance with his mount being thrown near the sixteenth marker.”
The Mean Queen’s bad luck aside, Bodes Well is a deserving winner. The hard-knocking six-year-old Irish-bred Rock of Gibraltar gelding, trained by Leslie Young, was a two-time winner on the NSA circuit, with five additional top-three finishes in mostly handicap competition. He also finished a close third in last year’s Kiser to champion Snap Decision and Galway Kid.