A hockey player referred to a football field at a racetrack.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson stood in the winner’s circle after Comical, a 2-year-old filly he owns in partnership, won the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes. The win, the moment, the history wasn’t lost on the 6’ 4” Minnesota native.
“To win here, it’s like winning at Lambeau,” Johnson said.
Saratoga Race Course. Lambeau Field. Yeah, Johnson gets it.
Johnson was drafted No. 1 in the 2006 NHL draft, won a silver medal in the Olympics and has played in the NHF playoffs but this was a stakes win at Saratoga.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to win at Saratoga,” Johnson said. “These horses are amazing animals, they’re part of your family, to get a win here…hopefully I can win the Stanley Cup later next year and win the daily double.”
Comical did her part. Owned by Johnson’s ERJ Racing, Gary Barber, Dave Kenney and Madaket Stable and trained by California-based Doug O’Neill, Comical wrestled a neck decision over a fast-closing Kiss The Girl and favorite Shippy, finishing 6 furlongs over a muddy track in 1:11.66.
The bay daughter of Into Mischief broke sharply from post 5 but was out-gunned for the lead by 17-1 Integral. Javier Castellano, aboard Comical for the first time, nudged her to keep close through the first quarter-mile in :22.54 while stablemate Shippy navigated choppy waters on the rail. Integral zipped through a half-mile in :46.24 as Comical loomed to her outside, swinging into the stretch six wide. Even-money favorite Shippy, fresh off a win at Laurel, slogged through on the rail as third-choice Kiss The Girl tried to swing around all of them. Straightening into the stretch, Comical reached even terms with Integral, brushed slightly before putting away the frontrunner and staving off the closers.
To read the rest of the Schuylerville recap, download Friday's digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.