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Bodie Island holds on for win at the Spa
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BODIE ISLAND, shown here winning the $20,000 Woodward-Kirkover Chase at last springs Carolina Cup, scored his second win of the year with a victory at Saratoga last Wednesday. - photo by C-I photo by Tom Didato
Always in close contention, The Elkstone Group’s Bodie Island took the lead with one circuit of Saratoga Race Course’s inner turf course remaining, jumped the last fence with a sizable lead, and held off a late challenge by Virsito to win last Wednesday’s $65,000 optional allowance claiming hurdle by a head.The Elkstone Goup, headed by Stuart Grant, owns the Camden Training Center.Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, dropping into the claiming ranks with a $30,000 tag, also made a run at Bodie Island in the stretch, but his bid faded, and the two-time Grade 1 winner settled for third, 2 1/4 lengths farther back, in a field of seven.Bodie Island, third to Virsito in a Saratoga optional allowance claiming hurdle on July 30, provided trainer Richard Valentine and jockey Kieran Norris with their second victories of the current Saratoga meet. They had combined forces for a victory by Gil Johnston’s Awesome Pearl in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 31.Sent to the starter as the 3-to-1 second betting choice behind 9-to-5 Virsito, Bodie Island ran the race’s 2 3/8 miles in 4:34.62 on firm turf. Bodie Island also wore a $30,000 claiming tag and collected his first victory since a starter handicap score at the Carolina Cup in Camden on March 29.Irv Naylor’s Meganisi took the lead in the early going with jockey Bernie Dalton and held the advantage until Bodie Island glided to the lead on the second run through Saratoga’s stretch.