Jaime Roth thought about sitting one out, still feeling the sting of losing a filly in a Saratoga stakes race less than a week before her family’s LNJ Foxwoods ran another filly in another Saratoga stakes race.
Her parents Larry and Nanci Roth also seemed convinced they couldn’t make Thursday’s $100,000 P.G. Johnson, feeling like the 2-year-old stakes on the grass carried too many similarities to Sunday’s Smart N Fancy Stakes where Bowie suffered a fatal injury.
The three made it the races, watching their homebred War Front filly Dogtag nervously in the paddock, during the preliminaries while a Chad Brown-trained stablemate ran loose on the main track for nearly five minutes and eventually cheering Dogtag home to victory. The Roths, who started in racing in 2012, watched the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes from a box along the front row, blasted down the steps after she came up the inside to win by a length and let the emotion flow when they reached the winner’s circle.
“She did it for her stablemate,” Jaime Roth said, her welled-up eyes almost shielded from her sunglasses. “She did it for Bowie. She did it for Bowie.”
Larry Roth, who made his fortune in the eyewear company Marchon, agreed with his daughter.
“Wow, things change in five days,” he said. “It’s been a very tough last few days.”
Dogtag, a gray filly out of a mare the Roths bought from Australia on the advice of their primary bloodstock agents Alex Solis and Jason Litt, provided the lift the LNJ Foxwoods team needed in her turf debut. She made only one start prior to the P.G. Johnson, finishing third via disqualification after crossing the line fourth in an off-the-turf maiden race Aug. 5.
A rival bumped Dogtag late in that race and she finished 2 lengths behind the winner as the 3-5 favorite. She bounced out of that well and breezed twice between her debut and the P.G. Johnson, including a half-mile in :49.44 the morning of last weekend’s Travers Stakes.
To read the rest of the P.G. Johnson recap, download Friday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by EasyFix Stable Solutions.