Aiken-trained Alpha wins Woodward Stakes

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Alpha, the 2012 Aiken-trained Horse of the Year, held off Flat Out by a head Saturday in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Kieran McLaughlin and ridden by John Velazquez, the 4-year-old Alpha ran 1 1/8 miles over a sloppy track in 1:49.28 and paid $17.40, $6.30 and $3.40. He earned $450,000 for Godolphin Stable.

“I talked to (Velazquez) and said, ‘If he breaks well and you can clear Paynter, let’s go,’” McLaughlin said. “Maybe I didn’t have him fit enough for his first two races (of 2013), but he loves it here and it’s one of the biggest wins of our career.”

Alpha has three victories in two seasons at Saratoga. Last year, he won the 2012 Jim Dandy and finished in a dead heat for win in the Travers.

Flat Out returned $3.50 and $2.20, and Successful Dan, third of five, paid $2.80 to show.

Earlier on the Saratoga program, Strapping Groom led wire-to-wire in the $500,000 Forego Handicap, and Silver Max won the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap by two lengths on the turf over Paris Vegas.


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