Long shot Lady Utopia gives local trainer/breeder first victory at Saratoga
Saratoga has produced its fair share of upsets over the years, earning the nickname "The Graveyard of Champions." On Sunday, another unlikely winner crossed the wire with a big price. YNN's Matt Hunter caught up with the connections of Lady Utopia, who happen to call Saratoga County home.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- Track announcer Tom Durkin warned everyone in attendance Sunday to hold onto their hats as Lady Utopia crossed the finish line.
Anyone who placed a few dollars on the three-year-old filly in the fifth race was counting more than their lucky stars. Lady Utopia broke from the eight post at 70-1 and came home a winner just ahead of Thirty Minutes, a long shot herself at 44-1.
"I read it in the paper this morning and I was amazed,” said Russ Barter, a longtime racing fan who was at Saratoga Monday. Two longshots, that's pretty good."
Sunday's exacta paid a staggering $2,152 on a $2.00 bet. The trifecta was even more impressive, coming in at $18,910.
A score like that is the kind of windfall many horseplayers dream of.
"I would probably spend a lot of money on my grandchildren and maybe take a nice trip somewhere," said Sandra LaMotta, who was attempting to pick winners at the track Monday with her husband, Bob.
"We've walked out with $500 or $600 on a couple of occasions but we try to fly under the IRS window," joked Philip Silverstein and his wife Lise.
It would be hard to blame anyone for not playing Lady Utopia. Heading into Sunday, she was winless in two starts.
She was the first winner at Saratoga for trainer Gabriel Goodwin, who, along with his wife Nicole, bred the horse at their farm in nearby Porters Corners.
"We knew she was a good filly, she just never got a nice spot,” said Gabrielle Goodwin following the race on Sunday. “Today [Sunday] she got a good spot and we knew the ground setup good for her so it worked out good for us."
"Oh gosh, words can't describe it,” reflected Nicole Goodwin on Monday. “I'm just happy I was looking."
Lady Utopia is one of a dozen or so runners likely to race for the Goodwin Farm barn this summer.
Private Councel, who sits a few stall doors down from Lady Utopia, is entered in Thursday's eighth race.
For the small racing outfit, which is less than a decade old, racing and winning here at Saratoga is a longshot bet they're thrilled to cash.
"It's great that it happened in here in Saratoga and it [Lady Utopia] won,” Nicole Goodwin said. “It means a lot being here with our farm, it's something that we always as a family wanted to strive for and it's great."