Joy for Nations Pride in G1 Saratoga Derby
Nations Pride avenged a narrow Belmont Derby defeat with a decisive victory in the G1 Saratoga Derby over an extended nine furlongs at Saratoga on Saturday, 6 August.
The Teofilo colt finished strongly after a slow start to go down by three-quarters of a length to Classic Causeway on his US debut at Belmont Park in July and once again had to be hustled along leaving the stalls to settle in third on the inside rail.
Classic Causeway attempted to make all, as he did in the Belmont Derby, with Nations Pride moving up to second leaving the back before being asked to chase down the leader turning into the home straight.
Nations Pride collared Classic Causeway entering the final furlong and the Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old hit the line powerfully, coming home a length and three-quarters clear of Annapolis.
Charlie Appleby said: “We were confident coming into today that Nations Pride had done very well since the Belmont Derby. The team have done a fantastic job and he looks to have come on physically since his last run.
“The key was trying to get him to jump quicker from the gates because he was slow into his stride at Belmont. He was a little bit sluggish still but William [Buick] gave him a great ride – he got down on the fence and thankfully the pace held up on the front end as well. It’s great for the team here.
“Nations Pride won at Meydan, so we knew that a nice, slick track suits him. He won on quick going at Newmarket and then he didn’t stay on slower ground in the Derby at Epsom Downs. It was always our target to come out here with him – he is a good moving son of Teofilo and we were confident that he would adapt to the style of racing.”
William Buick added: “Nations Pride was drawn 10 at Belmont, so it was very difficult for him to get across. He was a bit slow again today but the speed was on the inside and I managed to get in and follow it.
“I thought the pace was nice and even at halfway. We had a good trip and he is a horse who stays well – he was in front a long way out but kept going all the way to the line.”