Viadera Outlasts High Opinion In Ballston Spa

Chad Brown continued his winning ways with the first graded stakes on the Travers Day card at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. With three horses entered in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa, Brown claimed two of the top three spots, with Viadera taking the stakes for 4-year-olds and up by a nose while Kalifornia Queen finished third.

With a rain shower putting a brief damper on the day’s festivities, the field of six broke evenly, with Tamahere, Brown’s third starter, taking the lead over Platinum Paynter and Viadera. Tamahere and Platinum Paynter were several lengths ahead early, setting fractions of :22.60 for the first quarter and :47.55 for the first half-mile. As they approached the final turn, Tamahere’s lead began to shrink, the field catching up to her as Platinum Paynter dropped back on the turn. Joel Rosario moved Viadera from the rail to the outside of Tamahere, positioning her for her closing run at the leader.

In the stretch, Tamahere looked like she could wire the field, Irad Ortiz, Jr. urging her to keep up the pace. To her inside, High Opinion and Luis Saez were riding the rail, taking advantage of the open lane there, while Rosario had Viadera in a drive on Tamahere’s outside. The two passed Tamahere and then hooked up inside the last sixteenth of a mile, with Viadera nosing out High Opinion at the wire. Kalifornia Queen, closing fast on Viadera’s outside, rounded out the top three with Tamahere, New York Girl, and Platinum Paynter completing the field of six.

The final time for the 1 1/16-mile G2 Ballston Spa was 1:41.82.

Viadera paid $3.60, $2.90, and $2.30. High Opinion paid $5.00 and $3.30. Kalifornia Queen paid $3.00.

Bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, Viadera (GB) is a 5-year-old mare by Bated Breath (GB) out of the Beat Hollow (GB) mare, Sacred Shield (GB). The Ballston Spa is her first win of 2021, following a fourth-place finish in the De La Rose at Saratoga on Aug. 8. Her lifetime record is seven wins in 15 starts.

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