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Gormley’s High Oak magnificent in Saratoga Special S. (G2)

August 15, 2021

High Oak powers to victory in the $200,000 Saratoga Special S. (G2) – NYRA photo

Gormley got his first graded stakes winner in a big way Saturday with High Oak’s commanding 4 1/4-length win in the $200,000 Saratoga Special S. (G2).

The bay colt, who was coming off a debut maiden win in late June at Belmont Park, is now a perfect 2-for-2 and has earned $159,500 for LRE Racing LLC and JEH Racing Stable LLC.

Gormley is a top 10 First-Crop sire with more than $330,000 in progeny earnings and six winners to date, including Headline Report, the runner-up in last month’s Sanford S. (G3) at Saratoga.

High Oak and jockey Junior Alvarado, in post 9, came out of the gate running and were three-wide while just off the leaders down the backstretch. Still in the three path on the turn, High Oak moved closer to the leaders and was on even terms with Gunite at the top of the stretch. Gunite hung tough until mid-stretch, when High Oak asserted himself to get the 6 1/2-furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.53.

“He broke very sharp today,” said Alvarado of the Bill Mott trainee. “He was mentally prepared and sharp. To be honest, I was just a passenger today. He put me in the spot that I wanted and he took me all the way around. When I turned for home, I just had to ask him a little bit and he took off.”

High Oak, bred in Kentucky by Catherine Parke, is out of Champagne Sue, whose siblings include graded stakes winners Golden Itiz and Sapphire n’ Silk. High Oak sold to LRE for $70,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling sale.