Heavy rain early Thursday afternoon made conditions unpleasant for people in Saratoga's backyard and delayed the second race. About four hours later, a gooey track suited the 4-year-old gelding Sinistra just fine.
The 27-1 shot surged late from just off the pace for jockey Rosie Napravnik to win the $100,000, 11/8-mile Evan Shipman Stakes for New York-breds in the mud.
Sinistra got past 8-5 favorite Big Business two jumps from the wire and beat him by a head. Escapefromreality, the pacesetter and 3-1 second choice, was a neck farther back.
"We sat pretty close to the pace," Napravnik said, "and I think he's the type of horse that doesn't have a huge kick but keeps grinding away. He has a lot of heart."
Sinistra paid $56 for only his fourth win in 22 starts for trainer Karl Grusmark and the Chevalier Stable.
"We weren't considered a good choice by the public," Grusmark said, "but we knew this horse loved the mud and loved the distance. I've won races here since the '70s, and this is the first stake I've won at this track. It's exciting and very satisfying."
Filly euthanized after fall
Lavender Road, a 3-year-old filly, was euthanized Thursday afternoon after being diagnosed with a neck fracture. She was taken to Rood & Riddle Hospital adjacent to the racetrack after she fell on the horse path Wednesday afternoon. The accident occurred as she was being led back from the track after being scratched before Wednesday's seventh race.
Veterinarian Scott Palmer, the New York State equine director, said there "is no successful medical treatment" for such an injury.
Lavender Road had one win in six starts for trainer Abigail Adsil and Kellenberg Stable.