Party Like Grandma shifts the party to Saratoga with Seeking the Ante win

Friday, August 24th, 2018

NYRA.Coglianese Photos

By Bill Heller

The word was out at Finger Lakes the afternoon of July 12. Co-owner/trainer Jeremiah Englehart, Flower City Racing and Christopher Meyer’s debuting two-year-old, New York-bred filly Party Like Grandma could fly. Accordingly, she got bet down to 1-2 and then showed why she was odds-on, going wire-to-wire to win by 11 1/2 lengths under Andre Worrie.

Considering her connections bought the daughter of Desert Party out of Grandma Lu by Salt Lake, who was bred by Patricia Calandro and Susan Georgas, for $8,000 as a weanling in 2016, they knew they’d made a wise investment.

“As a weanling, she looked like a racehorse,” Englehart said. “Desert Party gets runners here and there, and I thought she looked like a racehorse for $8,000.”

Who could blame her connections for upping the ante by starting their Finger Lakes filly in the 6 1/2-furlong $200,000 Seeking the Ante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies as part of New York-bred Showcase Day Friday at Saratoga Race Course? Englehart decided to let Worrie keep the mount.

Her victory at Finger Lakes was impressive enough that she was 7-2 on the morning line in the field of eight. The early scratch of Awesome Debate cut the field to seven.

Then Party Like Grandma’s chances improved measurably in the starting gate when the speedy maiden winner Collegeville Girl, who was the 6-5 favorite under Kendrick Carmouche, had a serious issue in the gate, became a late scratch and had to be walked onto an equine ambulance.

The entire field was unloaded from the gate, and all the riders got off their horses. The field of two-year-olds was remarkably composed, each one walking with an assistant starter holding their reins. After several minutes, the jockeys remounted and the horses reloaded. And Worre knew exactly what he was going to do when the gate opened.

“I knew the other horse scratched,” he said. “I was the other speed. I had to go.”

And he did to the relief of bettors who made her 5-2 co-second choice in the remaining field of six.

Party Like Grandma obliged by breaking sharply on the rail as 5-2 Maiden Beauty and Joel Rosario settled in second. Party Like Grandma led Maiden Beauty by three-quarters of a length to one length through fast early splits, a quarter-mile in :21.78 and a half-mile in :44.73.

Party Like Grandma and Maiden Beauty stayed 1-2 all the way to the finish line as Party Like Grandma dug in and refused to let Maiden Beauty get closer. She won by a length and a quarter in 1:17.59. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Maiden Beauty finished a clear second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of She’s Trouble, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., in third. There was a five-length gap back to 18-1 Harley Q and Manny Franco in fourth.

Worrie was ecstatic that Englehart had let him keep the mount on Party Like Grandma and thanked him afterwards. “My daughter’s here to take the picture with me,” Worrie said. And, indeed, his baby daughter did.

Now two-for-two, Party Like Grandma has earned more than $125,000.

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