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Carl Spackler Hunts Down Hall of Fame Win at Saratoga

Going back to where he started was a rewarding experience for Bob Edwards.

It was back in 2016 that Edwards launched his e Five Racing Thoroughbreds stable when his first horse, a filly named Zindaya , ran second in the License Fee Stakes and then won the Intercontinental Stakes in her very next start.

That initial taste of success encouraged Edwards to become more involved in racing and success quickly followed in bunches. Before two years passed, he would win three Breeders’ Cup races and be named TOBA’s 2017 Owner of the Year.

Now fast forward to Aug. 11 when Edwards stood in the winner’s circle at Saratoga Race Course. Wearing a jazzy purple suit and Cuban hat, he was in a celebratory mood after his homebred Carl Spackler  won the rescheduled $500,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T) for 3-year-olds by 2 1/4 lengths while carrying the name of an iconic “Caddyshack” character and a pedigree that brought the owner back to his roots in racing.

As a son of Zindaya, Carl Spackler the highly talented 3-year-old colt—not the comedic gopher hunter—gave the highly successful owner the sweet experience of registering a graded stakes win as a breeder with his very first winner by out-finishing Appraise  in a 1-2 finish for trainer Chad Brown.

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“To have my daughter take a picture with her husband riding a horse who is out of the mare that won my very first race, it’s super special,” said Edwards, whose daughter Casi is married to winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione son in law of eFive Racing’s owner Bob Edwards, left after gets a hug after riding Carl Spackler to the win in  the 39th running of The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame stake at the Saratoga Race Course Friday Aug. 11, 2023 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Photo  by Skip Dickstein
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione and owner Bob Edwards embrace after Carl Spackler’s win in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Race Course

A big fan of the classic comedy flick “Caddyshack,” Edwards had long wanted to name a horse after the Carl Spackler character and found a fitting choice in the Lope de Vega  colt bred in Ireland by his Fifth Avenue Bloodstock. The 3-year-old missed by a head earlier this year in his Jan. 21 debut on turf at Gulfstream Park. He returned a little more than a month later and registered an eye-opening maiden win for Brown by nearly nine lengths at 1-5 odds. 

Next stop was Churchill Downs, where Carl Spackler was the 2-1 favorite in the American Turf Stakes (G2T) but he didn’t fire on a hard track. When he arrived at Belmont Park after the race, Brown said the colt was ill. 

“He benefited from the break,” Brown said. “After the race at Churchill he was shipped home to Belmont and he was not looking well. He got sick on the trip. E Five Racing is very patient with its horses, so I sent him to Saratoga and the horse really blossomed. I couldn’t believe what I saw the last few weeks. His coat was shining. He had his energy back. His last two works were excellent and even though there was a layoff and it was a big race, I felt he was ready to fire a big one.”

Carl Spackler and the other eight starters all received an extra week to prepare for the rich mile test as heavy rain Aug. 4 forced the New York Racing Association to cancel the race and move it to Friday. 

“It didn’t hurt,” Brown said about the impact of the week delay on the race winner.

As he did earlier in the week, Brown thanked NYRA for postponing the race instead of shifting it to the sloppy main track at the last minute.

“I want to credit NYRA for doing the right thing and rescheduling the race,” said Brown, who also had a sixth from Mischievous Angel . “When you put up a half-million dollars, you never want to just get it over with. You want to treat it the best you can and that’s the approach they took by canceling the race.”

Run on the inner turf course that was listed as “good,” the Hall of Fame was contested under conditions as different as night and day from the previous week.

Beneath picture-perfect blue skies and sunshine, Appraise set the early pace, but yielded to Godolphin’s Mysterious Night , who led by a length after a half-mile in :47.45. As that one tired leaving the quarter pole, Appraise and Flavien Prat regained the lead in the stretch, only to be joined by Carl Spackler and Gaffalione leaving the eighth pole.

As More Than Looks  and Ocean Vision  rallied belatedly, Carl Spackler ($6.70), the 2-1 favorite, drew clear and crossed the finish in 1:36.29.

“He’s back where we envisioned he’d be at Churchill. This was a great day in a lot of ways,” said Edwards, who also bred two other horses in the race (Bat Flip , eighth, and General Jim , ninth).

Klaravich Stables’ Appraise, a son of Kodiac , held off 3-1 second choice More Than Looks by a diminishing nose for second.

“Appraise ran unbelievable,” said Brown, who won four races on the card to take a four-win lead in the meet’s trainer standings over Linda Rice. “He got attacked early down the backside and then had to take back after using so much energy to make the front. The fact he came back and made multiple moves in the race shows he ran outstanding.”

Victory Racing Partners’ More Than Looks, a More Than Ready colt trained by Cherie DeVaux, was two lengths ahead of JR Ranch’s Ocean Vision, a European shipper who was taken up at the start and will be moving into the barn of Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Gustavo Delgado.

Carl Spackler is the second of four foals from Zindaya and her lone winner from two to race. She also has a 2-year-old Frankel  filly, which was bought by Godolphin for $541,171 from the Ballylinch Stud consignment at the 2022 Tattersalls October Sale, and a yearling full sister to the newly minted grade 2 winner.

Video: National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2T)

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