Edited NYRA Release — Saturday, July 24, 2021 —Elizabeth Merryman, winning co-owner and trainer of Caravel (No. 1, $4.00*):
“I don’t know if she’s improved, but I think people understand how she needs to be ridden, and the trip is better now. I said to [Irad Ortiz, Jr.] just be as quiet as you can leaving the gate because the least twitch of the reins and she’s going.
“It’s pretty amazing. You watch Saratoga and just think it’s the place to be. To come up here with a filly like that, it’s amazing.”
On transferring the training duties after this race to Graham Motion; Merryman will remain a co-owner: “We’ve talked for weeks about her. He’s watched her train pretty much every day. He’s just been so nice and classy and sweet about her. He was very much laying low today but we talked a lot about her and we’ll continue to talk about her.
“Bobby Flay now owns a majority interest in her and we made a plan when he was interested in buying to make that change. That was something I was in agreement with from the time of the sale of the majority of her. Graham is in the next barn to me at Fair Hill [in Maryland]. It’ll all be good.
“Hopefully, the goal is the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and Graham has so much experience going that route. It seemed like a really smart thing to do from my perspective as well. Not that I don’t think I could handle it, but with the change in the ownership, Graham has a system that works great and he’s been through all that. It’ll be a good way to go. I’ll still own part of her.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr., winning jockey aboard Caravel (No. 1): “The whole turn, she was on the bridle waiting for the time to go. I wanted to make sure to go around the horses like she did last time at Monmouth [winning the Goldwood on June 25]. I was able to get in the clear and as soon as I asked, she gave me a really good kick – a good turn-of-foot.”
On Robin Sparkles being loose on the lead: “She wasn’t in my plans because there’s nothing I can do against her. Either she’s going to steal the race or she’s going to come back to me. I just rode my filly. I was expecting she should come back to me because I have a nice filly, and if she doesn’t come back, my filly will just go by her. My filly came home fast.”
Al Stall, Jr., trainer of runner-up In Good Spirits (No. 4): “It was a beautiful race off the bench. We missed a little time with her with a foot issue. She trained really well and I’m glad we got a piece of a Grade 3. It should set up well for the rest of the year. We’re very happy. When you’re dealing with foot issues, once it gets behind you, hopefully you don’t have to worry about it. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Winning margin: 2 1/2 lengthsFinal time (5 1/2 furlongs, Mellon turf): 1:02.38Fractions: 21.64, 44.58, 56.29Full order of finish: 1-4-2-3-5-6