Special ‘Call

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Gary Young doesn’t make his way to Saratoga often. The agent and Del Mar regular of 37 years last visited the Spa eight years ago to see Life At Ten run in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, where she finished third to Persistently and Rachel Alexandra. When he traveled east to see Call Paul run in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes, one could figure the horse is special.

Call Paul proved just that when he captured the $200,000 stakes for 2-year-olds for Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stable and Bruce Irom. Call Paul won by a length over Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tight Ten with Spinoff third and Meade fourth in the 6 1/2-furlong Special.

“He’s a great horse, he looked terrific in the paddock,” Young said. “Very nice horse, I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll run further than this. He was going away at the wire today. It was obviously a good horse of Winchell’s and Asmussen’s, but we like this horse a lot. Nothing this horse has done so far surprises us.

“Two places as different as they can be, but both of them are very good racing and it feels good to come to Saratoga and win a stakes race. It’s the finest racing this country has to offer, and I don’t think anyone will argue with that.”

Young bought Call Paul at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-year-olds in training sale. He marveled at the Friesan Fire colt’s size and found his workout impressive. Although close to his limit, he brought the horse home for $210,000.

“He looked like a big-boned, big strong horse,” Young said. “I loved his work. We were talking like, ‘man, this horse looks like a 3-year-old,’ and I we were getting near the bottom of the fuel gauge when we got to two-ten on him, but we got him and we’re very thankful that we got him.”

The four runners broke evenly in the Saratoga Special, with Tight Ten and Spinoff putting their heads in front in the opening furlong. Irad Ortiz, Jr. wasn’t content to track and edged Call Paul up to the top in an opening quarter of :22.48 while Meade dropped back to trail.

Call Paul led around the turn with Tight Ten just off the pace. Meade advanced three-wide around the bend and Spinoff dropped back to last in a :45.98 half.

In the stretch, Ricardo Santana, Jr. slapped Tight Ten on his right shoulder and his mount bore in, making contact with Call Paul. Santana jerked on the right rein and went to a left-handed stick to straighten out his mount. In the meantime, Call Paul got away, taking a half-length lead at the furlong pole and drawing away to win in 1:16.55. Winning trainer Jason Servis was impressed.

“He still doesn’t know what’s going on yet; he just ran on class, but when he figures it out, he’s going to be a tough horse,” Servis said. “It’s only his second start. In the mornings, he puts out as much as he has to, but he really hasn’t figured out that he can give that punch. When he figures it out, he’s going to be a good horse.”

Call Paul, a Pennsylvania bred with Maryland and Delaware certifications, made his debut in a $34,000 maiden special at Delaware Park July 5. After stalking leader Mind Control, he won the 5 1/2-furlong race by 2 1/4 lengths. Servis thought it was an ideal prep for the Special.

Call Paul trains with Servis at his Monmouth Park base. He shipped to Delaware the day before his race and did the same for the Saratoga Special, arriving in Saratoga Saturday. The path is similar to the one Servis took last year with Firenze Fire, who broke his maiden at Monmouth before shipping north to take the Grade 3 Sanford.

“From Day 1 we liked the horse, we liked him a lot.” Servis said. “The fact that he was Delaware certified was phenomenal because you can come to Saratoga and run in special weights, but if you run second or third, you’re running back in special weights. The fact that we could go to Delaware and break his maiden was a big plus because now here we are.

“The babies, I like to keep my hands around. I’ll probably leave that horse here and point for the Champagne like did last year. I did the same thing with Firenze Fire just because I want to keep my hands on them and it all worked out.”

Servis commended the job breeders Beasie Patterson and Vicky Schowe did in raising the colt. He came to Servis with a great attitude; his intelligence was apparent from an early age, according to Schowe.

“He was always the kind of horse, he knew he was smart, but he had the look in his eye that he wanted to be bad, but he knew better,” she said. “He’s very professional and the way he behaves, he’s what we thought he would be. He just had a lot of restraint. He didn’t do silly things and a lot of babies do silly things. He was just very professional.”

Schowe and Patterson run a small breeding operation in Pennsylvania. The pair matched sire Friesan Fire with their Forestry mare Avani Force. Call Paul has a full sibling Friesani who went 2-for-16 in claiming races at Laurel and Parx and a half sibling by Monba who is 1-for-14.

“Friesan Fire we had bred several times and we wanted to try Friesan Fire with this particular mare and that was the result,” Schowe said of Call Paul. “That’s wonderful. Friesan Fire is just a gorgeous stallion, I think he’s a little bit underrated. I think he’s a wonderful stallion.”

Schowe was elated to be in attendance to see the horse she bred, raised and sold compete in the Saratoga Special.

“We were thrilled when he was entered,” she said. “It’s one of those things where whatever happens, happens because it’s out of your hands, but they did a really wonderful job taking care of him. We sold him as a yearling and they did a wonderful job prepping him as a 2-year-old and Jason Servis did a fabulous job.”