By SARA CAVANAGH
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.--Beasie Patterson and Vicky Schowe are the breeders of Micheal Dubb's Pa-bred Call Paul, the colt that won the G2, $200,000 Saratoga Special at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 12.
In something of a Cinderella story, Patterson and Schowe acquired Avani Force, a well bred mare that had been abandoned at a training center, bred her to Friesan Fire on a free stud fee and got Call Paul, who is now an undefeated stakes winner.
"In breeding and racing, it's always a roll of the dice," said Schowe, who is the assistant executive secretary at the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.
Call Paul was foaled at Rick Abbott's Charlton in Pennsylvania and then spent time at the Patterson's in Rockland, Del., where they also board other Pa-breds wanting to be Del-bred eligible,so that Call Paul is both Pa-bred and Del-bred breeders' awards eligible.
"We sold him as a yearling for $20,000 at Timonium," said Patterson, who is married to Duncan Patterson, a longtime Delaware racing regulator.
Call Paul was resold to Dubb at the Fasig-Tipton Timonium 2-year-old in training sale for $210,000.
"THEY GOT 10 times what we got," said Patterson with a laugh, adding that she was glad in that it vindicated her belief in him.
As Call Paul's biggest win came in New York, his breeders didn't get any breeders awards, but they did get a breeders award for his race at Delaware Park, where he broke his maiden.
"We shared a check for $5,100," said Patterson.
"I don't know the exact story of how they got the papers of Avani Force," said Schowe. "They found her abandoned in a barn. We don't know who abandoned her, but her papers apparently were at Parx."
Michael Jester took the mare to Penn Ridge and then sold her to Patterson and Schowe for $5,000.
Both Patterson and Schowe said they are amazed that anyone would abandon such a mare as Avani Force.
"She won five of eight races and is by Forestry," said Patterson.
"Call Paul's full sister, Friesani, had won $87,000 by the end of her 3-year-old year, but then she was put down," said Patterson. "Avani Force's foal Aggressive, a grey filly, is still running, and her foal by El Padrino is going to be sold this fall at the Fasig-Tipton Timonium yearling sale. We have her weanling by Bullsbay, who stands at North View, Pa., and she's in foal to Uncle Lino."
"I really liked Call Paul, and for a minute we considered keeping him," said Patterson. "But Duncan and I discussed it, and it would have cost us $40,000 yo $50,000 before we even got him to the races, so we sold him."
"Our daughter Jennifer is training in Kentucky, and she's the one who suggested we breed to Bullsbay, so we're thinking about sending that one to her," said Patterson. "We'd love to support her. She learned a lot from Shug (McGaughey, the Phipps family trainer). She also said thanks a lot for not sending me Call Paul."
"We went up to Saratoga for the Round Table that Duncan attends," said Patterson. "We arrived Wednesday and stayed until Monday, so we were lucky Call Paul was entered while we were there, and we got to see him run. Vicky and her husband came up for the race, too, so we were all there."
"We knew Call Paul was a special horse before we sold him," said Schowe. "He wanted to misbehave, but he knew that wasn't the thing to do."
"We're thrilled to be a small breeding operation with such a horse," said Schowe. "I was lucky enough to have Sloane Ranger (a stakes placed sprinter). That's a once in a lifetime horse, and now to breed one that wins a graded stake in Saratoga. His sister that we're selling this fall is gorgeous."
Call Paul won the Saratoga Special despite being bumped at the start and then bumped again by second placed Tight Ten in the stretch.
That bump knocked him off stride, but despite his inexperience, Call Paul recovered and dug in to win by a length.
The Saratoga Special had four maiden winners, each moving up to stakes competition for the first time.
Tight Ten led the quartet of undefeated colts through an opening quarter-mile in 22.48 seconds before Call Paul, under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., gained command, going a half-mile in 45.98.
Call Paul stayed inside out of the turn with Tight Ten, under jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., moving up from the outside.
Once straightened, Tight Ten drifted over and bumped Call Paul, but maintained position to still complete 6 ½ furlongs in a final time of 1:16.55.
"He responded very well when I asked him," said Ortiz. "When Stage Left scratched, we had to change our plans a little and be closer than we envisioned. Initially, we wanted to sit just off the speed, but with the scratch, when we broke, we got out there and got the lead. There wasn't too much bumping in the late stretch. I don't think it affected him. When I asked him, he took off."
Trained by Jason Servis, Call Paul improved to 2-for-2, building on a 2 ¼-length debut win on July 5 at Delaware Park.
Off as the 4-5 favorite, the Friesan Fire colt paid $3.70 on a $2 win wager and more than quadrupled his career earnings to $135,000.
Servis said Call Paul's next stop could be the G1, $500,000 Champagne on Oct. 6 at Belmont Park.
"He's a nice colt. I've been breezing him behind horses and covering him up, and we were thinking if he got stuck down inside and we were laying second or third, not bad," Servis said. "He's got a great mind.
"This horse acts like he'll run further," he said. "I did the same thing with Firenze Fire; broke his maiden, shipped him the day before, and he won the Sanford. I'll probably leave him here, and we're thinking maybe the Champagne."
Tight Ten, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, finished second by 1 ¾ lengths, with the two entries for trainer Todd Pletcher, Spinoff and Meade, finishing third and fourth, respectively, while Sir Truebadour was an early scratch and Stage Left was scratched after flipping in the paddock.
The week before, the G1 Whitney was delayed for 45 minutes as a thunderstorm swept through Saratoga.
Because there was lightning in the area, the stewards elected to keep the horses, already in the paddock and saddled, in the paddock where they could be sheltered in the shed row.
All these horses were stars," said Rick Violette, trainer of the sinner, Diversify. "They had their tack on for an hour in the paddock and they behaved remarkably well and they ran a great race, we happen to be best today.
Lauren Evans and Ralph M. Evans' New York-bred Diversify, proved to be uncatchable as the afternoon rain subsided, easily registering a 3 ½-length victory over Mind Your Biscuits in the 91st running of the G1, $1.2 million Whitney over a sloppy and sealed track on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Diversify, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., broke well and took up his customary position at the head of the eight-horse field in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Classic this fall at Churchill Downs.
"I wanted to be on the lead. He did everything right for me. He was ready," said Ortiz.
With some early pressure from California import Dalmore, the 5-year-old Bellamy Road gelding carried his speed through a swift opening quarter-mile in 23.22 seconds.
Diversify began to separate himself from the field up the backstretch, opening up a three- or four-length lead over Dalmore, with Tapwrit and Backyard Heaven in close pursuit as the half went in 46.50 and three-quarters in 1:10.70.
Reigning New York-bred Horse of the Year Mind Your Biscuits, after a close second in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap and stretching out to two turns for the first time, began to pick off rivals in the far turn as Diversify turned for home.
Mind Your Biscuits, a 5-year-old chestnut by Posse, used his late-charging style to move into second on the outside and appeared poised to challenge the lead at the top the lane, but Diversify found another gear and powered down the stretch to complete the route in 1:49.62.
"I knew somebody was going to be coming, no matter what," he added. "It's a Grade 1, and there's nice horses who want to win the race. He proved he could keep going. Only nice horses can do that. He was steady; he wasn't dying at the end, he'd keep trying. He did it the right way."
"He is such a cool horse," said Violette. "Irad really threw down the gauntlet at the half-mile pole. Diversify didn't quite drag him down there, but Irad said 'Let's go' and dared anybody to catch up."
"I felt a little bit better after they sealed the track, although I didn't want it," said Violette. "I was hoping they would run the race five minutes earlier to just get it over with, but I felt the outside of the track was playing better than the inside, and I thought maybe sealing the track in the rain might have even it out a little bit, and I felt better about that. We planned on being very aggressive, period, and see what would happen. If it were to be a mistake, so be it.
Mind Your Biscuits finished second, a half-length ahead of Discreet Lover, who rallied in the stretch to hit the board at odds of 38-1.
Tapwrit was fourth, followed by Good Samaritan, McCraken, Backyard Heaven, and Dalmore to complete the order of finish.
Sent off as the 8-5 favorite, Diversify returned $5.20 for a $2 win wager.
Saturday's victory was the third straight for Diversify, following a nose win against state-breds in the Commentator and a 6 ½-length score in the G2 Suburban on July 7, both at Belmont Park.
Following the Suburban, Violette originally pointed Diversify to the G1, $750,000 Woodward on Sept. 2 at Saratoga, but rerouted the gelding to the Whitney following a sharp breeze over the weekend.
"He did too well not to run here," Violette said of the decision. "Everything he did said run. He ate well, he shipped up here well, he breezed well last Sunday and came out of it good, his blood work came back well, so [I said], 'OK, stupid, stop being a chicken and run him.'"
Overall, Diversify has 10 wins and two seconds from 15 starts for career earnings of $1,959,425.
Last year, the characteristic frontrunner won four of eight races, including an 11 ½-length score in the 1 1/8-mile Evan Shipman against New York-breds, his only previous start at Saratoga and the second of three straight wins in the summer and fall.
He capped that win streak with a gutsy one-length victory in the G1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, a title Diversify will likely try to defend on Sept. 29 at Belmont.
"I will talk to the owners and enjoy this race but the Jockey Gold Cup will certainly be part of the plan," said Violette.
Chad Summers, trainer of Mind Your Biscuits, said the current plan is to continue to prepare the multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter to stretch out in the 1 ¼-mile Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 3, a potential Round 2 of a New York-bred rivalry.
Mind Your Biscuits, the richest New York-bred in history with $4,159,286 in lifetime earnings, has finished in the top three in 20 of 23 starts with seven wins, including thrilling back-to-back victories in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai.
"Diversify has good cruising speed, and once he goes that 46 and change, and he's in front by three or four he's a tough horse to run down," said Summers. "He's a good New York-bred, but we look forward to seeing him down the road. He struggled at Churchill. We think we're going to love Churchill.
"At this point we'll see how he comes out of it. I thought he galloped out of it really good. We'll talk to Joel and the connections, but I see no reason not to go on, to kind of move on," he added. "Obviously, you have to get one more win and you're in, to qualify and get in, but I think he showed up with another big effort here today, so I see no reason not to move forward."
IN OTHER races at Saratoga, Unionizer, by Union Rags out of an Unbridled's Song mare trained by Bill Mott, owned by Peter Vegso and ridden by Junior Alvarado, won a $85,000 Maidne Special Weight by 1/2 length on Aug. 11.
Although it was just a $28,000 Claiming race for 3 year olds and up that haven't won three races, two colts by Union Rags finished first and second, with Starlight Racing's Sumner, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Ara Aprahamian's Filllet of Sole, trained by Jason Servis and ridden by Iraf Ortiz, Jr.