Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Instant replays are not limited to a television screen. Sometimes they unfold on racetracks, including showcases like Saratoga.
When the entries were drawn for the Aug. 31 Spinaway Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Spa, Sweet Reason was listed at 8-1 in the morning line.
Though she had won her debut by 6 ¼ lengths earlier in the meet, Sweet Reason was now being asked to face three stakes winners in Brazen Persuasion, Bahnah and Designer Legs as well as impressive maiden winners Stopchargingmaria and Sweet Whiskey.
Sweet Reason was coming off an eye-opening maiden win of her own, yet hers came with a couple of reasons for concern. It was, after all, a race that had been originally scheduled for the turf but was switched to the Spa’s sloppy main track due to rain.
As good as Sweet Reason looked in rallying from 18 lengths back to win by 6 ¼ lengths, the win was somewhat suspect because of the wet track and the probability that most of her equally young and equally inexperienced rivals in that race were better suited by turf than mud.
Little was known about Sweet Reason’s speed on a dry track, making the Spinaway a more revealing test of Sweet Reason’s talents and explaining why others in the race offered more attractive wagering opportunities.
Mother Nature, though, had a different idea. A heavy rain storm turned Saratoga into a quagmire for the final three days of the meet, a stretch that included the Spinaway on the penultimate day of the meet.
Now the others, none of whom had ever raced on a wet track, were forced to play a game that Sweet Reason relished.
The Spinaway, instead of being a new challenge, was now an instant replay for Sweet Reason, allowing her an opportunity to run over the same kind of sloppy track she had been so dominant on.
To their credit, the fans who wagered on the race picked up on the edge that now belonged to Sweet Reason. They quite correctly reasoned that Sweet Reason’s ability to win one race on a wet track at the Spa made her an excellent candidate to win another race on the same type of surface at the same track.
At post time, Sweet Reason was the 5-2 second choice and after romping by 5 ¾ lengths she returned $7 to those who had faith in an instant replay taking place.
THE LESSON: Instant replays are not uncommon in racing, so when a young horse shows it can handle unusual conditions once, have faith it can happen twice.
SWEET REASON'S PAST PERFORMANCES