Irv Naylor’s French Light, fresh off an emphatic maiden score at Colonial Downs on Aug. 10, made an explosive move under Gerard Galligan in the stretch to overtake pacesetters Tomgarrow and Brianbakescookies, and stride out to a facile 5 1/4-length victory in today’s Spa steeplechase, a $48,000 allowance contest for non-winners of two races. Naylor also captured the place spot with entrymate A Silent Player, ridden by Ross Geraghty. French Light, making only his fourth career start, nearly went down the second time around over the hurdle near the clubhouse turn, but Galligan made the recovery. French Light, a 5-year-old French-bred son of Muhtathir, showed his quality from the get-go, finishing a length behind Carrington Holdings’ Hot Springs in his debut at Middleburg in June, followed by a second, beaten a half-length, by Gill Johnston’s Emerald Rocket at Great Meadow two weeks later. A Silent Player, a 5-year-old Irish-bred, is another Naylor newcomer to watch. He broke his maiden in his first try, coming from off the pace to win going away at Colonial Downs on Aug. 2. The win by jockey Galligan propels him to the top of the standings by wins, with eight — one more than Mikey Mitchell. The win was also, remarkably, the very first at Saratoga for Galligan, who has ridden on the NSA circuit for eight years. Tod Marks has the photo recap.
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