SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York — Arnold Zetcher's Smart Transition took the lead in mid-stretch and sprinted clear to a 4 3/4-length victory Friday in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course.
Ridden by Junior Alvarado for trainer John Shirreffs, Smart Transition was behind front-running favorites Stanford and Tekton before launching a bid on the outside approaching the top of the stretch.
The sophomore son of Smart Strike closed ground steadily down the center of the track before pulling away to his first career stakes victory in 1:50.40 over 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
Smart Transition paid $6.30, $3.10 and $2.80, while Tekton returned $3.40 and $2.80 for second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of late-running King of New York, who paid $3.90 for third. Stanford, the 8-5 favorite in a field of six, finished fifth.