According to Dictionary.com, spurious is defined as not genuine, authentic or true. That was far from the case in the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Sunday when Florida-bred Spurious Precision validated himself by winning the Grade 2 stake by five lengths with jockey Alan Garcia aboard.
Sent off as the odds-on favorite in the field of six with 3-4 odds after the scratch of morning line favorite Shanghai Bobby, Spurious Precision shot from the starting gate like a cannon ball from a nearby revolutionary war cannon and immediately took the lead in the six and one-half furlong race. Before Garcia could get the son of Ocala Stud stallion High Cotton in check, Spurious Precision rattled off a breakneck first quarter-mile in :21.35 with Parx Racing invader Southern Honor just to his outside in second and Drum Roll also applying pressure from third. Drum Roll made a move around the far turn while racing three-wide as Southern Honor fell back. Then came He’s So Fine to challenge as Spurious Precision kept rolling along in a blistering pace of :44.02 for the first half-mile. At the eighth pole, Drum Roll tired and drifted out while He’s So Fine rallied from last to give chase but to no avail. Spurious Precision drew clear in the stretch to win in a time of 1:16.53.
“He’s the real deal,” trainer Rick Violette said. “He put [jockey] Alan [Garcia] in an impossible spot. He broke so good, it’s not like you can take back at that point. There was serious pressure every jump of the way. Just watching horses come at him, and they did, he had a lot left.”
He’s So Fine kept second by three-quarters of a length over In Harm’s Way in third with Drum Roll missing the show spot by just a head in fourth. Southern Honor was fifth and Dan the Tin Man was never a factor late and finished sixth.
“[Spurious Precision] broke sharp and he was in the game,” Garcia said. “So after that he was going along very strong. [Trainer Rick Violette] said if he breaks, leave him alone because the speed is holding very well. When he broke very sharp, I said, ‘I don’t want to take anything easy, so let’s go on. If he’s good enough, he’s going to beat this group,’ and he showed it.”
It was the second win from just two starts for Spurious Precision, who became the first Florida-bred to win the Saratoga Special since D’ Funnybone in 2009. In his career debut at Saratoga on July 21, Spurious Precision defeated a group of special weight maidens after racing second for most of the early going. Although he was very near the lead in that race as well, Violette contends the dark bay or brown colt can rate and should have no problems with races at longer distances.
“I don’t think we have a horse that has to be on the lead; circumstances kind of dictated it today,” Violette continued. “I was hoping Tony Dutrow’s horse [Southern Honor] was a 21 and 44 horse and he might break well and we could follow him around there. [Spurious Precision has] got a serious pump and he’ll go a long way. I think two turns is well within his scope. He’s obviously got plenty of tactical speed and he’s a pretty good horse to have in the barn.”
Spurious Precision increased his career bankroll to $168,000 for owners Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables of Brookline, Mass., and William Lawrence of New York City. He was bred in Florida by Michael Chamberlain of Dunnellon, who was hesitant to take too much credit for the mating.
“I’m only half the equation,” Chamberlain said Monday morning. “The other half is [stallion] High Cotton. As Florida breeders, we can hold our heads high when we walk into a room – any room. With the quality stallions we have here, the climate and everything else, Florida is just a great place to breed thoroughbreds.” Chamberlain also said he still owns the dam of Spurious Precision, Scarlet Combo, who is by Scarlet Ibis.
Spurious Precision paid $3.50 for a $2 win ticket, $2.70 to place and $2.10 to show. He’s So Fine returned $10.60 and $4.20 while those with $2 show tickets on In Harm’s Way cashed for $4.00.
Spurious Precision is also a graduate of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company April Sale of Two Year Olds in Training where he was purchased by Klaravich Stables for $105,000 from the consignment of Nick and Jaqui de Meric’s de Meric Sales of Ocala, Fla.
– Photo of Florida-bred Spurious Precision by Courtney Stafford