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Rhyme Schemes Turns Saratoga Special Into a Rout

In the very short career of 2-year-old colt Rhyme Schemes , the son of Ghostazapper has proved two things.

He likes to win. And he likes to win by a lot.

The third start of his rookie season came Aug. 12 at Saratoga Race Course when Rhyme Schemes turned the 118th running of the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) into a rousing rout.

Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Rhyme Schemes roared off the turn and blew the rest of the five juveniles away. The final margin of victory was 9 1/2 lengths; if Santana had wanted, it could have been by more. There was no need for that.

This was the second consecutive dominating performance for Rhyme Schemes. On June 15 at Ellis Park, he broke his maiden by the same 9 1/2 lengths.

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So, the question that needed to be asked was this: just what does trainer Norm Casse and owner Deuce Greathouse’s Pura Vida Investments have on their hands?

No one was about to get too far ahead of themselves after this dominating performance.

“This tells us we have a nice horse that we can really be excited about,” Casse said. “I like to let the horses to do the talking. He made a statement today and we will continue to let him make his own statement.”

The statement in the Saratoga Special would be that none of his competitors could run with him.

This race was a bit different from the tour de force maiden win at Ellis when Rhyme Schemes broke and went straight to the lead and never looked back.

The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Market Street , ridden by apprentice Jaime Torres, set the pace down the backstretch, but Rhyme Schemes was never far off after being bounced around at the start.

When Santana gave him his cue, Rhyme Schemes took off and there would be no drama in the stretch as the six and a half furlongs were covered in 1:17.12.

“He broke a step slow, but was still much the best,” Santana said. “I didn’t have to be on the lead, so I just let him break, sit and, turning for home, he was much the best.”

“There is always pressure,” Casse said about running in a stakes race after a dominating maiden score. “The problem with Saratoga is that I am never 100% confident. I knew the horse was very talented from the outset. I could tell he had multiple gears underneath him.”

Casse had to do a double take when he saw the Beyer Speed Figure of 94 from the maiden win—the highest number given to a 2-year-old this year.

“I needed some more affirmation and I think we got it today,” Casse said.

Greathouse, a third generation horseman from Central Kentucky, purchased the son of colt at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $210,000. 

He said there are 10 partners—including himself—involved with Rhyme Schemes.

“210,000 is a pretty good amount of money for a Ghostzapper,” Greathouse said. “Everything is in proportion with him. Just beautiful.”

When asked about what he just witnessed from his star juvenile, Greathouse smiled. Of course he did.

“The first time he ran at Ellis was the first time we gave him his head and let him out,” he said. “Today was the second time and you saw what he did. It’s kind of jaw dropping when he does it and sprints away like that.”

Rhyme Schemes paid $4.10 and Casse expects if all goes well, he will return to the races at the Spa Sept. 4 for the $300,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1).

Market Street, sent off at 12-1 odds, finished second, three quarters of a length in front of Haul , the 2-1 second choice. They were followed by Lasso , Edified  and Woodcourt .

Video: Herb Moelis Memorial Saratoga Special S. (G2)

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