By Gene Kershner
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Opening day at Saratoga endured some blazing hot temperatures, some long shot winners and a dead heat in the 95th running of the $150,000 Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The dead heat capped off a day of racing that saw temperatures in the 90s for the most of the afternoon.
Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah hit the wire together in the six-furlong juvenile race that was run in 1:12.12. Brazen Persuasion with rider Rosie Napranik aboard paid $2.80 to win, $3.30 to place and $2.30 to show. Bahnah paid $2.40 to win, $2.70 for the place and $2.20 to show. Bahnah was ridden by Kentucky-based jockey Corey Lanerie.
Bahnah's win was the first for trainer Bret Calhoun at Saratoga. "It was a good way to get a first win, I've started a few here and it was the right way to break my maiden," said Calhoun.
Calhoun thought both fillies deserved credit for the win and had a feeling the dead heat was a possibility. "Steve's [Asmussen] horse was taken a lot of pressure out there and hat's off to that horse who ran a game, game race. I thought and one point when we inched up to her that we would get on by, and then right there at the wire I thought I might have got to her, but when I saw the replay over and over the first thing I thought was it might be a heater," said Calhoun.
For Asmussen his filly Brazen Persuasion broke her maiden at Churchill Downs going six furlongs three weeks ago on June 29. He was happy with Napravnik's ride and thought his filly gritted out the win after setting torrid early fractions of 21.75, 44.68 and 57.72.
"She broke sharp, and was away real cleanly. The entry [Yes Liz] tackled her immediately coming into the stretch I thought she got a little separation and then you saw the other filly coming, but they fought really well to the wire," said Asmussen.
Overall it was a terrific day of racing at the Spa. The two other non-graded stakes were won by Hessonite in the On the Bus Stakes and Sage Valley in the James Marvin Stakes. Tomorrow has an 11-race card on tap highlighted by the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.