August 24, 2018: by David Grening.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – English Soul overcame post 11, a gritty pace-setting favorite in Take Charge Aubrey, and a speed-favoring surface to win Friday’s $200,000 Fleet Indian Stakes at Saratoga.
Racing three to four wide throughout under Manny Franco, English Soul was able to run down Take Charge Aubrey and win the Fleet Indian by a nose. Take Charge Aubrey was second by a head over Split Time, who got third by a neck over Indy’s Lady, who was last after six furlongs.
The win validated trainer Ray Handal’s confidence in English Soul. In Friday’s Daily Racing Form, Handal said “If she’s the horse that I think she is, she’s going to win the race.”
After the race, a relieved Handal said, “I thought she was going to win today, but I didn’t think it was going to be so dramatic.”
There isn’t a long run from the gate into the first turn going 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga. Franco hustled English Soul away from her outside post in the 11-horse field, but she was still hung three to four wide entering the first turn outside of Take Charge Aubrey and Cause We Are Loyal.
“I was happy with the position that I had because I know we had an outside post and it’s going to be hard to get over quick,” Franco said.
Turning up the backside, Franco had English Soul four wide, only about 1 1/2 lengths off of Take Charge Aubrey and Cause We Are Loyal, who ran a quarter in 23.67 seconds and a half-mile in 48.66 and six furlongs in 1:12.51.
Turning for home, it was nearly three in a line, but Take Charge Aubrey, under Jose Ortiz, was still going strong while Cause We Are Loyal began to fade. Franco cracked English Soul a couple of times with his right-handed whip, and she was able to outfinish Take Charge Aubrey late.
“I was waiting for the horses in the back, but the horse in front she kept going,” Franco said. “I had to ride her to get there, but she did it, she helped me.”
English Soul, a daughter of English Channel owned by Zilla Racing Stables, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.49 and returned $10 as the third choice.
“She might be the only horse that’s come from a little bit off of it, they’ve been going merry-go-round all day,” Handal said. “I think rating and getting her to switch off down the backside like that definitely played a role into her finishing stronger, being able to catch those [horses] up front and hold off the closers coming at the end.”
Bruce Levine, the trainer of runner-up Take Charge Aubrey, the 5-2 favorite, said he was confident his filly could handle the 1 1/8 miles and two turns despite the fact she had finished seventh in the New York Oaks last month.
“I was very disappointed at the race at Finger Lakes, it was either cross it out or you were going to believe it and either I run today or run in the two-other-than [sprint] against older fillies,” Levine said. “I’d rather run against the 3-year-olds. Got to take a shot for $200,000. Tough loss.”
The original article can be found here. https://www.drf.com/news/english-soul-overcomes-outside-post-fleet-indian