Grupo Siete C Stable’s Paola Queen was the 55-1 upset winner of Saturday’s Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga, powering down the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length. The sophomore daughter of Flatter covered seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:22.32 under Luis Saez for trainer Gustavo Delgado, capturing her first graded stakes victory in the process.
“I’m a grown man, and I cry,” said Delgado in the winner’s circle. “Thank you very much, I love all of Venezuela. This is a very important race for me. I’m very happy. The [fast] pace was very important for us. I’m happy, everybody is happy. This is my first Grade 1 [in the United States].”
The two favorites Off the Tracks and Kareena broke out of the gate quickly, streaking through the opening fractions together. Kareena held a half-length advantage to mark the quarter in :21.74, but Off the Tracks narrowed that gap to just a nose by the half-mile point in :43.50. Paola Queen was just behind those two in third, tracking the pace, while Lewis Bay and Kinsley Kisses were vying for fourth.
At the head of the lane Lewis Bay challenged Off the Tracks on the outside just as Kareena dropped out, but Lewis Bay would be unable to sustain her bid. Lightstream came from very far back to make her challenge after weaving through traffic, but Saez aboard Paola Queen had timed his ride perfectly and had the filly storming up the center of the track to nail the leaders right on the wire, crossing it three-quarters of a length in front of Lightstream. Off the Tracks was just a neck behind Lightstream in third.
“She [Paola Queen] ran very good,” said Saez. “I worked her a couple of times and she was doing awesome. Today she proved that she is a good filly. As the race was unfolding I checked behind and no one was coming. I saw Joel [Rosario, aboard Lightstream] coming inside and I started to ride her harder and she responded to me.”
Bred in Kentucky by CFP Thoroughbreds, Paola Queen brought $ 180,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She finished second in the Gulfstream Park Oaks to earn her way into the Kentucky Oaks, where she wound up ninth. The filly came back to finish fifth in the Acorn Stakes, but the Test is the first graded victory of her career. Paola Queen’s overall record stands at 2-2-1 from eight starts, with earnings of over $ 420,000.
Watch the race replay here:
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2016 Paulick Report.