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Zagora Sets New Course Record in Saratoga’s Ballston Spa

Zagora rocketed to the lead in mid-stretch of Saturday’s Ballston Spa at Saratoga, en route to a sparkling victory under Ramon Dominguez.

A fast early pace and a perfect ride from Dominguez proved to be an unbeatable combination. The pair stormed to a new course record in the race, covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.07, eclipsing Leroidesanimaux’s 2005 mark of 1:39.92.

“I had an absolutely beautiful trip,” said Dominguez, the Spa’s leading rider. “The filly with speed went at it, and I was able to sit back. When it was time, I went around, and she finished up very nicely for me.”

It was the second victory in three starts at the Spa for the French-bred daughter of Green Tune, who in the 2011 Diana gave trainer Chad Brown his first Grade 1 and who finished third in this year’s edition on July 28.

“This filly had two really good works since the Diana; in hindsight, she probably needed the race,” said Brown, a native of nearby Mechanicville, N.Y. “She loves Saratoga, especially when it’s firm. She just exploded today. Ramon rode her beautifully. Down the backside, I was feeling pretty good. She had a horse directly in front of her, but those fractions were pretty demanding. I knew she was ready to run. When he tipped her out, it was pretty much over.”

Owned by Martin Schwartz, Zagora returned $5.00, and with the winner’s purse of $150,000 has now earned $1,168,589. Overall, she is 9-4-3 from 20 starts, including four victories in France, where she began her career.

–NYRA PRESS contributed to this report.

Zagora/NYRA photo by Adam Mooshian