Free N Clear Prevails in Statue of Liberty
by Najja Thompson NYRA.com
Making her fifth career start on the turf and first at Saratoga Race Course, Paradise Farms’ Free N Clear by Bluegrass Cat, ushered past 5-2 post-time favorite Louisville First in the final yards to win the $100,000 New York Stallion Series Statue of Liberty Division for 3-year-old fillies on Thursday.
Leaving the gate from post position 8 with Junior Alvarado aboard, Free N Clear was sent forward and closely stalked Louisville First and Ametrine as the pair led the field of nine through fractions of 24.74 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, with a half going in 49.07.
At the quarter pole, Free N Clear was given her cue and racing three-wide engaged the leader in the upper stretch. Hooking up at the eighth pole, the pair battled to the wire with Free N Clear prevailing to secure the victory by a neck. She completed the one mile in 1:36.94.
“She broke very good. Coming into the first turn, I couldn’t ask for any better position,” said Alvarado. “On the backside, I wanted to apply some pressure so they wouldn’t slow it down any more, and then I eased off by the half-mile pole. At the quarter-pole, I asked her, and she gave me a nice kick. I knew I had enough horse, and by the eighth pole I knew I was going to go by. The other horse made my job a little tougher, but I knew what kind of horse I had.”
Returning $19.60 for a $2 win wager, Free N Clear earned her first career stakes win and boosted her career earnings to $146,930 for her winning owners and trainer Pat Quick.
“I think this is my first stakes in in Saratoga,” said Quick. “I might have won one before here, but I’m not sure. I’m getting old. This was a great experience – it was wonderful. Anytime you can win a race here, it’s great. And if you win a stakes race, it’s just really, really, great.”
“She’s a beautiful-looking horse,” he added “She came in second the time before we claimed her in a maiden New York-bred $25,000 race. She’s better on the grass. And she’s matured a little bit. As they get older, they get a little stronger.”
Following Ametrine in third were Highway Star, Frosty Margarita, Lady Luck and Naked Empress.