by Brian Bohl
Trainer Brian Lynch said last week that he was excited to see if Tobys Heart could build on her impressive debut win in June at Churchill Downs when she stepped up to face stakes company. She rewarded that optimism on Wednesday, running down pacesetter Joy’s Rocket in deep stretch to post a 1 1/4-length victory in the $85,000 Bolton Landing for juvenile fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Terry Hamilton and Lynch, Tobys Heart was a 6 ¾-length victor going 5 ½ furlongs over firm turf on June 4 in Kentucky. Kept at the same distance, the Jack Milton filly broke slow and cruised under jockey Jose Ortiz through the early going, tracking in sixth position as Joy’s Rocket led the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 22.21 seconds on the Mellon turf course labeled good after earlier rainfall.
Approaching the turn, Ortiz angled Tobys Heart out, gaining ground into the stretch as the half-mile went in 45.51. Tobys Heart picked off rivals to her inside before dueling Joy’s Rocket in the final furlong, gaining command nearing the final sixteenth and pressed on, hitting the wire in 1:02.31.
“I tried to ride her pretty much like she ran first time out. She broke a bit slow that day and she didn’t break any faster today,” Ortiz said. “She broke a little slow out of the gate, but I think it’s okay for her, she’s a come-from-behind sprinter.
“Sometimes with these kind of horses on the turf, you would rather break a little slow. I was good with the way she broke today,” he continued. “I thought it was perfect. I just sat and rode her like the best horse.”