Saratoga Bob is the latest 2018 headliner for Country Life Farm’s Friesan Fire after capturing his first stakes win in the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic, the featured event on the Maryland Million Day card on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Laurel Park.
Owned by Wayne Harrison, Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss, the 4-year-old gelding trained by Voss was guided to a half-length victory by Edgar Prado, who took over the top spot of Maryland Million’s all-time leading rider with his 18th career score.
Sent off as the 7-2 third betting choice, Saratoga Bob broke alertly to press the pace set by Pal Cal for the first half-mile. Prado sent the bay to the lead turning for home, put away a challenge by Clubman at the top of the stretch and was all-out to hold off the late challenge by Dothat Dance to complete the mile and an eighth in 1:51.28.
“He broke good. The first couple of jumps I thought he might be a little too keen, but he settled nice on the backside. Every time someone came to me, he picked it up,” Prado said. “At the top of the stretch he responded. When the horse came with a big run on the outside, I thought I was going to finish second, but he gave me more. I give all the credit to him.”
Saratoga Bob pushed his record to 9-3-3-2 for earnings of $177,215. In six starts with Prado aboard he has won three and never been worse than third.
“He ran so game. They kept coming at him and he just kept trying,” Voss said of the 18-hand bay gelding. “I told Edgar, ‘You figure this one out.’ He can ride them a lot better than I can. Nobody’s done it better than him. It was exciting.”
Voss and Manfuso bred Saratoga Bob out of the winning Kafwain mare Lucky Dance, whose four foals to start are all winners. Lucky Dance is also the dam of multiple stakes-placed $229,413-earner Kaitain. The mare has an unraced 2-year-old filly by Girolamo named Tips and produced an El Padrino colt in April. She is currently in foal to Great Notion.
Saratoga Bob is the fourth stakes winner of the year for Friesan Fire, who is also the sire of Grade 1 winner Army Mule, Grade 2-winning and Grade 1-placed juvenile Call Paul, and multiple stakes winner Fire Key. A son of A.P. Indy with four crops to race, Friesan Fire has stood his entire career at the Pons family’s farm in Bel Air.