Irad Ortiz Jr. jumped off Bon Raison after a wide-trip second to He Hate Me in an optional claimer the second Friday of the Saratoga meet and delivered a message any trainer would die to hear from last season’s leading jockey and the reigning Eclipse Award winner.

“I want to ride this horse no matter where you run him again,” Ortiz said, after the 4-year-old Raison d’Etat colt finished 2 1/4 lengths back after going seven-wide in the lane.

Martin didn’t need to book any travel plans for Ortiz and brought Bon Raison back to Saratoga for his 13th start of the year in Friday’s $100,000 Tale Of The Cat Stakes. Ortiz kept the call and they turned the tables on He Hate Me, running him down in deep stretch to give owner Peter Tournas his first win at Saratoga.

Dismissed as the outsider in the field of six at 8-1, Bon Raison won by three-quarters of a length in 1:09.34 for the 6 furlongs. He Hate Me, the slight 2-1 favorite, held second by 2 3/4 lengths over second choice Pat On The Back.

“He was really excited about the horse so that made us feel good,” Martin said of Irad Ortiz, three back and second in the rider standings behind his brother Jose after a pair of wins Friday.

Martin and Tournas, who races in the name Empire State Thoroughbreds, were happy to run Bon Raison in the race restricted to non-winners of a graded stakes in 2019. They’re not shy about sending the ex-claimer out. He’s made 18 starts since being claimed by Tournas and former trainer Gary Contessa at last year’s Saratoga meet.

To read the rest of the Tale Of The Cat recap, download Saturday's digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.