Winless for over a year now and fourth in last year’s National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes (II), Long On Value shortened up to the sprint distance of 5 1/2 furlongs for his first victory at Saratoga Race Course in Monday’s $100,000 Lucky Coin Stakes for four-year-olds and older, a long time coming for the son of Value Plus who missed the last summer meet here.
The five-year-old Virginia-bred broke alertly under jockey Joel Rosario to a good stalking position to the outside of the duo of Cyclogenesis and last year’s Lucky Coin winner Spring to the Sky as 12-1 Beantown Saint was sent off to an early lead. Tracked closely by Successful Native as well as 6-5 favorite Undrafted, Beantown Saint carved the opening quarter in :22.71 before being headed on the far turn by his closest foes. With five horses sweeping side-by-side into the homestretch, it looked to be anyone’s race as Beantown Saint put up a courageous fight to hold down the lead and Long On Value began his run on the far outside, closing ferociously in the final furlong to pass longshot Successful Native, who finished 3/4 length ahead of Undrafted.
Long On Value, previously a Grade 2 and Grade 3 winner on the turf, connected for his first Saratoga win for trainer Bill Mott and owner Wachtel Stable, capturing the Lucky Coin Stakes by a length in 1:01.76.
“He had plenty of run late,” said winning jockey Joel Rosario. “He’s a nice horse and Mr. [Bill] Mott had him prepared and he ran great today.”
After a series of consistent starts on the turf with no trips to the winners’ circle, Mott placed Long On Value in the outer-turf Lucky Coin hoping the cutback in distance was right up the horse’s alley as opposed to some of the later, longer turf stakes at the Spa.
“Sometimes I get an intuition that I need to change something up,” said Mott. “He was fresh, we missed a little training, the race came up, I looked at the other spots that were available … they were going to be tough spots, too, or maybe not the distance I want. This horse had run in a couple of these when he was a two-year-old. Mr. Adam Wachtel bought him off a couple of these types of races, and I said, ‘Why not?’
“He’s been a horse to go a mile, a mile-and-an-eighth, and you have to cover him up and completely switch him off. I thought, ‘Why not give him a try one time?’ We were at the point where he’s been good to us, and we had nothing to lose. This opens up options for us down the road.”
Sent off at 7-2 odds, Long On Value paid his backers $8.80 for the win and was part of a handsome $100 exact payout despite the race suffering multiple scratches again this year. 16-1 Successful Native was a length back in second, besting third-place Undrafted. Following in order were Spring to the Sky, Cyclogenesis, Beantown Saint, and Sandy’z Slew.
Top photo of Long On Value courtesy of NYRA/Chelsea Durand
Raised among horses in western Massachusetts, it wasn’t until reading a first edition copy of “Man o’ War” that 12-year-old Dawna Wood figured out that horse racing was pretty cool.
A fixture at NYRA racetrack rails and a self-described pony paparazzo, she is the owner and administrator of New York Racehorse.
A communications media graduate at Fitchburg State University, Dawna’s documentary short on retired stakes winner-turned-eventer Stud Muffin is, by her own account, “the bee’s knees.”