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Carl Spackler Proves Saratoga is His Course in Saranac

Fans of comedic films might remember Carl Spackler as the groundskeeper played by Bill Murray in the 1980 movie “Caddyshack.”

Racegoers know Carl Spackler  as something else—one of the top 3-year-old grass horses in the country, one who notched his second consecutive graded stakes victory Sept. 1 when he handily defeated pacesetting Taking Candy  in the $169,750 Saranac Stakes (G3T) at Saratoga Race Course. The win followed an earlier score at Saratoga in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T) Aug. 11 for the e Five Racing Thoroughbreds-owned colt.

Though he again won by multiple lengths—Friday’s official margin of victory was 3 1/2 lengths—Carl Spackler raced differently than he did in the Hall of Fame when he rallied from seventh to win going away. On Friday, he was prominent from the start, pressing Taking Candy through splits of :23.58, :48.56, and 1:12.56 in the 1 1/16-mile turf race before asserting his superiority. Cut loose by jockey Tyler Gaffalione in the lane, Carl Spackler caught and quickly opened up on Taking Candy. He pulled clear with a mile in 1:35.99, and under confident handling from this rider, coasted over the final sixteenth to complete a final time of 1:42.23 over a “good” turf course.

The chestnut son of Lope de Vega  paid $2.50 to win as the overwhelming favorite in the short field of five.

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“He was traveling well within himself. I just wanted to try and get him to shut off,” Gaffalione said. “We have bigger things down the road, so didn’t want to do too much today.”

Trainer Chad Brown, who won the Saranac for a third time, indicated a start against older horses could follow next for Carl Sparkler, with the $1 million Turf Mile (G1T) Oct. 7 at Keeneland being a goal if the horse is healthy and doing well. He felt the timing of Friday’s race suited running his colt better than leaving him unraced with eight weeks between the Hall of Fame Stakes and the race at Keeneland.

Bass Racing’s Annapolis  won the Turf Mile last fall after winning the Saranac for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up, Lost Ark  edged Mendelssohns March  for the show. The latter was fourth and Yacowlef  a distant fifth.

For some of the winning connections, it was a family affair. Gaffalione is the son-in-law of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds co-owners Bob and Kristine Edwards, married to their daughter Casi.

Bred in Ireland by Fifth Avenue Bloodstock, Carl Spackler is the second of four foals from grade 2-winning More Than Ready mare Zindaya  and her lone winner from two to race.

“It’s very rewarding and I trained this horse’s mother for the Edwards family—it was one of our first big winners together,” Brown said. “And to see her handsome colt that she threw out here winning two stakes at the same meet at Saratoga is hard to do—I know that very well.”

Video: Saranac S. (G3T)

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