Making his first start in the colors of Armata Stable, Rudyard K moved to the lead leaving Saratoga Race Course’s final turn, opened a clear advantage at the final fence, and drew away to a 5 1/4-length victory in a $65,000 allowance hurdle that kicked off Saratoga’s rich schedule of steeplechase races on Wednesday, July 23.
Andre Brewster’s Selection Sunday finished second, and Gil Johnston’s Syros collected third money. Both are trained by Jack Fisher. The Elkstone Group’s Albany Road, who led through the middle portions of the race, finished fourth. Favored at 2.45-to-1, Rudyard K paid $6.90 to win after running the allowance hurdle’s 2 1/16 miles in 3:46.90 on a firm inner turf course.
Ross Geraghty continued his hot riding streak with a savvy ride aboard Rudyard K, a five-year-old Ohio-bred. Beginning with the Fair Hill Races on May 24, Geraghty has won eight of the 12 races run over fences.
Rudyard K was making his first start for trainer Todd Wyatt after good second-place finishes in the Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 5 and the $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 10.
Bruce Smart’s Orchestra Leader went to the lead at the start, and Geraghty tucked Rudyard K on the hedge for the first run through Saratoga’s stretch. Albany Road tugged Robbie Walsh to the lead after a mile, and Geraghty positioned Rudyard K to challenge on the final run down the backstretch.
Selection Sunday, well back early under leading rider Willie McCarthy, advanced into a contending position as the field entered the final turn. The three leaders separated themselves from the rest of the field on the turn, and Rudyard K gained the lead from Albany Road entering the stretch. He put in a big fence at the last and steadily increased his advantage to the finish line.