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Dead Heat in Opening Day Feature at Saratoga

Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah hit the wire as one in a thrilling finish to the Schuylerville Stakes on opening day at Saratoga.

Following a fierce battle through the final yards in the 95th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 event for 2-year-old fillies, Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah finished in a dead-heat.

Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Brazen Persuasion broke sharply and quickly was set upon by Yes Liz, part of a Todd Pletcher entry with Elena Strikes, who prompted her through an opening

Brazen Persuasion (inside) and Bahnah

Brazen Persuasion (inside) and Bahnah

quarter mile in 21.75 seconds. Brazen Persuasion entered the stretch with a half-length advantage and appeared to edge away, but Bahnah dug in and came back through the final furlong.Their winning time was 1:12.12 for six furlongs.

“Right before the wire, I felt I was edging right to her, but I didn’t know if I got the bob or not,” said Corey Lanerie, the rider aboard Bahnah, the 9-5 favorite. “Neither one wanted to lose.”

“[After the wire] I told Corey, I said ‘you got this. Definitely you got this.’ So I thought it was him,” said Napravnik.

The finish recalled last year’s historic 143rd running of the Grade 1 Travers, in which Alpha and Golden Ticket crossed the wire simultaneously to become the first dead-heat winners of the “Mid-Summer Derby.”

“They were opposite on the nods,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Brazen Persuasion for Darren and Marilyn Pollitt. “It was, ‘no, yes, no, yes, no, yes.’ I did think she got beat on the wire watching the replay, and then when they threw the number up, they go 4 [Brazen Persuasion] and 5 [Bahnah] in order, so you think she won. And then they throw the dead heat, so we’ll take all of it.”

Elena Strikes was 1 ¼ lengths back in third, with Yes Liz, Silver Valley, True Blue Nation and Jonesin for Jerry following her under the wire.

Brazen Persuasion, a daughter of Indian Charlie, returned $2.80 for a $2 win bet as she extended her record to 2-1-0 from three starts.

NYRA photo