Jonathan Sheppard added to his unprecedented Saratoga Race Course winning streak on Wednesday when Tamara McSorley’s Lune de Caro powered through the stretch to take a $65,000 optional allowance hurdle. The Racing Hall of Fame trainer now has won at least one Saratoga race in 47 consecutive years dating to 1969.
Bruce Johnston Jr.’s Orchestra Leader turned back a late challenge from Gil Johnston’s Fantastic Song to preserve second money by a neck. Forgotten Man finished fourth.
Ridden by reigning champion jockey Willie McCarthy, Lune de Caro extended his unbeaten streak to three with the 2 1/2-length score. The six-year-old Cozzene gelding won his maiden victory over fences at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Ky., on May 17 and defeated Orchestra Leader in a $35,000 Ratings Handicap at Parx Racing on July 14.
Sent to the starting gate as the 4-to-5 favorite in a field of six, Texas-bred Lune de Caro ran the optional allowance’s 2 3/8 mile distance in 4:58.15 on firm turf.
At the start, Orchestra Leader popped out to an early lead under Sean McDermott, but B More Hopeful Racing’s So Outspoken went to the front passing the finish line the first time and laid down the pace through nine of ten fences.
So Outspoken began to tire over that fence, and Betsy Mead’s Forgotten Man briefly took the lead, with Orchestra Leader close behind him. Lune de Caro, unruly in the early going, began to close on the leaders around the far turn the final time.
He rolled into the stretch and jumped the last fence with a half-length advantage over Orchestra Leader before drawing clear in the stretch. Fantastic Song, third over the last, made up some ground in the stretch but was unable to overtake Orchestra Leader.