Robin Sparkles dazzles in Grade 3 Caress

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Robin Sparkles holds off Souper Sensational to win the Grade 3 Caress Saturday at Saratoga. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Robin Sparkles rewarded her supporters – owners, breeders, trainer and gamblers – in a big way in Saturday’s Grade 3 Caress Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Dismissed at 21-1 in a field of nine that included defending champ Caravel, graded stakes winner Souper Sensational and six other stakes winners, Robin Sparkles won for the ninth time in 16 starts in the 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint stakes. The 5-year-old Elusive Quality mare won by a head over Souper Sensational with Lady Edith third, Miss J McKay fourth and 2-1 favorite Caravel last.

“It’s huge,” said Jon Taisey of Hibiscus Stables, which bred Robin Sparkles out of the Dehere mare My Sparky. “It’s our biggest win as a breeder. We’ve had a lot of big wins. I think the Albany was our biggest before this with Funny Guy. This is our biggest. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Taisey was first to congratulate trainer Bruce Brown after he finished his post-race interviews with the team from Fox Sports’ Saratoga Live and the assembled print media. Brown collected his first graded stakes win with Robin Sparkles, who finished third in last year’s Caress.

“It’s awesome,” said Brown, who trains Robin Sparkles for Michael Schrader.

Robin Sparkles came into the Caress off a third in the 5-furlong Goldwood Stakes at Monmouth Park, where she set what Brown called a “suicidal” early pace of :21.43 and :43.49 before fading to finish 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner Bout Time. She’d won her 2022 debut in the off-the-turf Politely Stakes going 5 furlongs May 21 at Monmouth.

Javier Castellano took the mount on Robin Sparkles for the first time in the Caress, reuniting with Brown after the two teamed to win with Saratoga’s Troy and Lucky Coin at the 2014 meet.

“He rode my good sprinter Spring To The Sky and won a few races on him and I told him in the paddock, ‘let’s try to do that and get her out there,’ ” Brown said. “She doesn’t like to be held too tight, just a loose reign and nurse her around there and that’s exactly what she did.”

Robin Sparkles and Castellano broke well from the gate, while Caravel got off just a smidge slow in search of back-to-back graded wins after taking Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Intercontinental in June.

Robin Sparkles led through the opening quarter-mile without any serious pressure in :21.54 and by the same 1-length margin to the half in :44.21. She opened up 3 lengths in midstretch while Souper Sensational, Lady Edith, Miss J McKay tried to rally. Souper Sensational came closest, but a head short. Robin Sparkles won in 1:01.98 over the firm turf.

“I really like the horse and the way she did it today,” Castellano said. “The horse is a free-running horse. She only likes to go to the lead. She broke so well out of the gate, I took a big advantage and put her on the lead and tried to slow down the pace the best I could. I like the way she finished. She is such a game horse. Today, she put in 100 percent and Bruce did such a good job.”

Foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, Robin Sparkles is the third foal out of the five-time winner My Sparky.

Hibiscus purchased My Sparky in foal to Frost Giant for $5,700 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale. Cold Sober, a gelding by Frost Giant, sold for $20,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale and won two of 18 starts. My Sparky’s second foal, the Majestic Warrior mare G’s Warrior, raced for Hibiscus Stables and won one of nine starts.

Robin Sparkles sold for $30,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. She picked up $110,000 for the Caress victory to boost her bankroll to $530,668.

Leave a Reply