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Stronach Stables Homebred Green Light Go Still Unbeaten After 'Special' Romp

08.10.2019 -

T here was no stopping Stronach Stables Green Light Go on his way to winning the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite (G2) Aug. 10 at Saratoga Race Course. Under wraps by jockey Junior Alvarado, the Hard Spun  juvenile ran his short record to 2-for-2.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens unveiled Green Light Go July 4 at Belmont Park. The bay colt led every step of the 5 1/2-furlong race and drew off by 3 1/4 lengths after dueling through the first half. That effort earned him to 3-2 favoritism Saturday at the Spa, when he came from fifth for a dominant 3 3/4-length victory.

"He ran well without having to be on the lead, and that was good to see," Jerkens said. "The track has been so speed-favoring initially. I told Junior to take him out of there and don't discourage him from running, but if someone really wants the lead, that it'd be fine. It turned out he didn't break quite as fast as his first start, but it worked out well."

Alvarado settled Green Light Go off the pace as Long Weekend led the first quarter-mile in :21.71 before Tuggle, by the Adena Springs stallion Point of Entry,  stuck his head in front through a :44.16 half-mile. Green Light Go was set down for the drive turning for home, and despite drifting in and brushing with a fading Tuggle, continued on strong to the wire. 

After running six furlongs in 1:09.07, Alvarado was able to ease his mount near the finish line before a final time of 1:15.68.

"We knew coming into the race it was going to be a test for him to see what he could handle," said Alvarado, who has been aboard for both starts. "I told Jimmy, 'Let's leave the gate running and if he takes the lead on his own, that's fine; and if not, I'm not going to rush him off his feet.' But I knew I had to get him out of there.

"I put him in the race and he handled everything very professionally. I was just a pilot on top of him. I knew how much horse I had the whole way, and I was very excited at the way he was handling the kickback, and just rating behind horses very kindly. We knew how good he was and I trusted him there.

"He's got a body like a 4-year-old and his mind is like an old horse's mind. He's very focused. There's nothing like a 2-year-old about him."

The performance has Jerkens considering a grade 1 spot next out for Green Light Go.

"He sat in the pocket just nice up against the bridle. He didn't care about taking dirt which was really nice to see," Jerkens said. "He leaned a little in the stretch; maybe a little green, but I guess he's still learning, too. He had good purposeful works between races and has handled it. He was also composed in the paddock, so we might really have a nice one here."

The conditioner said he would speak with owner Frank Stronach first, but said the Oct. 5 Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont "seems a little more appealing" than the Sept. 2 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes (G1) during the Saratoga meet.

The Champagne, a "Win and You're In" challenge race for the Nov. 2 TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita Park, is run at a mile, an eighth longer than the Hopeful.

Bred in Kentucky by Stronach's Adena Springs, Green Light Go is out of the Virginia-bred mare Light Green. The Pleasantly Perfect daughter is a stakes winner at Belmont and was a close runner-up in the Prioress Stakes (G1) there. Light Green was bred to Shaman Ghost  for the 2020 foaling season.

Green Light Go has run without Lasix in both of his races, in which he's earned $154,000.

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com

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