Liam's Map rebounds from tough loss to win Woodward Stakes
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Four weeks after a tough loss in the Grade 1 Whitney in his graded stakes debut, Liam's Map returned to Saratoga Race Course with an even bigger performance Saturday.
Confidently handled by jockey Javier Castellano, front-running Liam's Map led from start to finish to win the 62nd running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Woodward by 4 3/4 lengths over his Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Coach Inge.
It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Wicked Strong in third, just a neck ahead of his Jimmy Jerkens-trained stablemate, Effinex. Mylute, Bay of Plenty, Commanding Curve and Protonico completed the order of finish.
''The Whitney was as tough a loss as you'll experience,'' Pletcher said. ''He ran an unbelievable race that day and everything he indicated to us from that time until today was that he was ready to come back over and put forth another big effort. I'm just happy to see him get that Grade 1 that he deserves so much.''
Owned by Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Liam's Map paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.60 as the 6-5 favorite in a field of eight older horses. Coach Inge returned $6.50 and $4.20, and Wicked Strong paid $3.20.
It was the second Grade 1 win of the day for Pletcher, following Rachel's Valentina ($5.50) in the $350,000 Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies. Castellano became the first jockey to win the Whitney, Alabama, Travers and Woodward - all Grade 1 races - in the same meet.
Also on the undercard, World Approval ($19.80) sneaked through an opening on the inside to edge Money Multiplier in the Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac, and White Rose ($20) set a course record of 2:11.46 for 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course to beat Eastern Belle in the Grade 3, $200,000 Glens Falls.