Bill and Riley Mott leapt to their feet, hugged and sprinted along the top row of the clubhouse box seats. Father leading son, both carried by the moment.
“It was going to get a little tight wasn’t it?” Bill Mott said, seconds after watching the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap live. Then Mott stopped and knelt toward a TV four boxes from the aisle way at the top of the clubhouse stairs. The replay showed the final moments of the Fourstardave, as Seek Again and jockey Joel Rosario went inside, then between, then inside, then gone.
“Did he have to come around?” Mott said, still deciphering the final moments of the 1 mile turf race. “How did he get up? I don’t know how he got up.”
Mott vaulted down the steps and into the winner’s circle where he met Rosario’s agent Ron Anderson and received congratulations from Grand Arch’s trainer Brian Lynch.
“I thought we were going to get stopped, he went to go in between, then he went back in, we’ve got to see the head-on to see what happened,” Mott said. “He had his head cocked, he was on his left lead. I thought he’s not going to get running…”
He got running, flashing to a widening neck score over Canadian shipper Grand Arch. Jack Milton closed to finish third with Grand Arch’s stablemate Dorsett fourth, beaten a length and a quarter for everything.
Favorite Silver Max broke sharply from the inside and established his customary spot on the lead as Sayaad, riding a three-race win streak, settled in second and Grand Arch loped along in third. Rosario allowed Seek Again to get comfortable in fourth. Dorsett and Jack Milton followed.
Silver Max posted an uncontested first quarter mile in :23.33. That was the first and last uncontested fraction. Jose Ortiz cued Sayaad to amp up the pressure on the 12-time winner, easing to his outside through a half in :46.18. Woodbine-based David Moran kept Grand Arch within range, tracking in third as Rosario held an inside path. Spinning around the temporary rail, 18 feet from the hedge on the inner turf, Silver Max began to sputter midway on the turn as Sayaad reached the lead and Grand Arch began to rev up from the outside. Rosario didn’t have much choice, waiting behind Sayaad.
“Turning for home, I was waiting, thinking, ‘Maybe this is a bad spot,’ ” Rosario said. “But I didn’t have a choice.”
To read the rest of the Fourstardave recap, download Sunday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland Sales.