Nancy Favreau, Kathy Psoinos and Michael B. Tabor's Competitive Edge justified his 3-5 favoritism as he drew clear in the stretch to win by 5 3/4 lengths in Monday's Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, giving him a combined winning margin of 15 3/4 lengths for the first two starts of his career.
The two-year-old son of Super Saver was entering in here off a 10-length romp over the track in his racing debut on July 26 and now has a bankroll of $259,800.
"The thing that's really cool for us is he's a son of Super Saver, and he's our Derby winner," said trainer Todd Pletcher, who also saddled Super Saver during his racing career. "To see him (Super Saver) getting off to such a great start at stud, to have a Hopeful winner in his first crop, it's kind of extra special for us having a son of Super Saver do that. I think I Spent It is a very good horse as well, as he showed in the Saratoga Special. I've had a close eye on him, being a son of Super Saver also, and it's kind of cool that Super Savers ran 1-2 in the Hopeful."
"The question is, since the Breeders' Cup is in California -- again -- do we want to get some two-turn experience before we go?" Pletcher contemplated. "The Champagne (Grade 1, October 4, Belmont Park) will be our first option, but we'll talk with the connections and make sure we're all on the same page."
Competitive Edge vied for the lead three wide as Signature Cat posted an opening quarter in :22 3/5 with I Spent It, the Saratoga Special victor, sandwiched in the middle. Those three continued to go at each other approaching the far turn.
"I'll tell you what, I was worried about one horse and one horse only" jockey John Velazquez said. "It was the horse (jockey) Javier (Castellano) was on (I Spent It). He ended up being close to the lead, so that was my chance to put the pressure on him and engage him and let him use his horse early on. Between horses, he had to get in there. Between me and the other horse inside (Signature Cat) he had to ride, ride, ride to stay in there. It took him a lot."
Signature Cat started to bow out as Competitive Edge came away with the lead to put up a half mile in :44 4/5 as I Spent It tried to keep pace. Competitive Edge was too much for his competition though, as he slowly drew away in the stretch to cross the wire in 1:24 for the seven-furlong test over the good main track. The bay colt returned $3.30 to his loyal backers for his first stakes score.
"This one has a great talent," Velazquez added. "The only thing about this one -- nothing bothers him. This colt, nothing tears his hair out, scares him or anything. He's so laid back, his future can be much better than the other ones. Like everything else, he has to stay sound. A great mind."
I Spent It settled for second and was 9 lengths clear of Sharm in third. Requite made a sweeping move around the far turn but faded in the stretch to take fourth. Dekabrist, Signature Cat and Maratik brought up the rear.
"He has always had behavior problems," trainer Tony Dutrow said of runner-up I Spent It. "You could see in the paddock (when he was being saddled) he was a lot different than he was in his two previous races. He, obviously, got himself out of sorts today. I knew that wasn't what I wanted to see, but I didn't know how he'd react to it. So, today wasn't his day for a number of reasons. We'll work with him and hope for a better day this fall."
Competitive Edge was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, which also bred, raced, and now stands Super Saver. The promising juvenile is the first registered foal from the multiple stakes-placed Magdalena's Chase, a daughter of Cape Town from the family of Grade 1 scorer All Fired Up and Grade 2 victor Wild Syn.
Further afield in the female line, one finds Grade 1 winners Awesome Humor, Emcee and Constitution, last seen landing the March 29 Florida Derby for Pletcher and the partnership of WinStar and Twin Creeks Racing Stables.
"I thought we had a really good start to the meet, I thought we had some really big disappointments at the meet; way too many seconds (25 through race 5 on Monday) for my liking," Pletcher said on having clinched his 11th training title at Saratoga. "At the same time you cannot not be grateful anytime you come to Saratoga and win 26, 27 races, win the Hopeful, Coaching Cub, Alabama and Schuylerville. No matter how good you do, it could always be better, no matter how bad you're doing it could always be worse."
Competitive Edge sold as a two-year-old in training for $750,000 at the Fasig-Tipton The Florida Sale.