Old battle axe Vasari scores again at Saratoga, extending good trot for ex Lincoln Farms team
Former Lincoln Farms pacer Vasari has won his second race in the United States, showing plenty of grit to get off the canvas at Saratoga in New York.
Vasari, who won 16 races from 86 starts in New Zealand and Australia for trainers Ray Green, Sonya Smith and Al Barnes before his sale in August, lined up a short-priced favourite in a US$11,700 mile on Saturday night.
And while burned for early speed by Warrawee Nonsuch, driver Jim Devaux quickly took up the running.
Attacked hard a long way from home by Blaise Mm Hanover, Vasari looked vulnerable at the top of the stretch but fought back gamely to score in a close photo finish.
The win took his American record to two wins and three placings from 10 starts for US$27,000 in stakes for owner Kevin Quinn and trainer Paul Zabielski.
And while he clocked only 1:55.8, Barnes says that was considered good time in the cold conditions on a sloppy track.
The Art Major six-year-old took a lifetime mark of 1:52 for Barnes at Albion Park in May.
Vasari joins other Lincoln Farms’ graduates to win recently in Trojan Banner and Lincoln’s Girl.
Trojan Banner, who scored on his US debut, ran again at Dover Downs and while only fifth in 1:52.2, trainer Jim King was pleased with the run which reportedly saw him run a half in 53 after starting from seven on the gate.
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Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”