Reprinted from Bloodhorse
The 2-year-old filly takes Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for NHL player.
Comical gave Erik Johnson the first half of a personal daily double.
Now it’s up to the Colorado Avalanche.
“To get a win here at Saratoga means a lot,” Johnson said. “I hope I can win the Stanley Cup and get a daily double.”
Johnson, a defenseman with the Avalanche since 2010, notched one of his lifetime goals as Comical recorded a neck victory in the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for 2-year-old fillies over a muddy (sealed) track on the July 11 opening day card at Saratoga Race Course.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to win at Saratoga. We’re blessed,” Johnson said. “These horses are amazing animals, and they get the best care in the world, probably better than humans. I got involved in the sport about four years ago, primarily to race at Del Mar, so to win here … it’s like winning at Lambeau Field if you’re a football player. A lot of work goes into this filly, and I couldn’t be more honored to own her.”
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Comical came into the Spa stakes off a six-length victory in her May 26 debut at Santa Anita Park when she was owned by Johnson’s ERJ Racing, Dave Kenney, and Westside Racing Stable. The group then added Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables and Gary Barber and heeded O’Neill’s advice to ship the daughter of Into Mischief east for the opening day stakes at the Spa.
“As soon as she won, Erik called me and said they were thinking of this race,” Kumin said. “I watched the race she won, and I really, really liked her.”
He liked her even more after Thursday’s race.
Comical prompted the pace of Integral while racing three wide through fractions of :22.54 and :46.24 in the field of eight. Moved to the five path at the top of the stretch by jockey Javier Castellano, she motored to a half-length lead at the eighth pole and then held off a late bid by Three Diamonds Farm’s Kiss the Girl.
The 3-1 second choice paid $8.20 to win and covered the six furlongs in 1:11.66.
“She dug in and really ran great,” Kumin said. “It was a nice ride by Javier. Doug gave her 6 1/2 weeks to prepare for this, and he had her ready. You always get nervous when they win at 4 1/2 furlongs and wonder if they can go longer, but she finished well.”
Bred in Kentucky by Susan Casner, Comical is out of the Tiznow mare Kayce Ace. She was purchased by Johnson for $100,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Kiss the Girl, a Maryland-bred daughter of Into Mischief trained by Todd Pletcher who was bought for $210,000 from the Candyland consignment at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale, took second by a half-length over Shippy, the 6-5 favorite who is also trained by O’Neill and is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R.A. Hill Stable, and Joseph Besecker.
It figures to be a short visit at the Spa for Comical as Johnson said the juvenile filly will return to California and point for the Aug. 31 Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1) at Del Mar.