(Rinaldi captures the G3 Forbidden Apple / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team:

New York-bred Rinaldi’s affinity for Saratoga Race Course continued on Friday, as the Posse gelding broke sharp from the inside post and maintained the lead through every point of call to win a stakes race at the track for a third straight year when posting a half-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Forbidden Apple.

The one-mile inner turf contest for 4-year-olds and up saw Rinaldi, under jockey Luis Saez, lead the nine-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.31 seconds and the half in 48.83. Rinaldi was pressured by Made You Look before he faded heading out of the final turn with Value Proposition closing the gap, setting up a potential stretch-drive duel between the top-two betting interests.

But Rinaldi, who emerged as the slight 2-1 mutuel choice, pressed on under Saez’s right-handed encouragement, completing the course in a final time of 1:35.70. Trainer Chad Brown saddled the second, third and fourth-place finishers, with Value Proposition edging stablemate Delaware by a neck for second, and Sacred Life running fourth.

Rinaldi, owned and trained by H. James Bond, won for the fourth time in five starts at the Spa, adding to his 2019 stakes scores in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid and NYSSS Cab Calloway before capturing the West Point last September.

Rinaldi, bred by Barry Ostrager, was making his first start since his runner-up effort in the Danger’s Hour in April at Aqueduct Racetrack that marked his 5-year-old debut.

“He loves this course. He’s a good miler,” Bond said. “Two turns with a small horse, he kind of steals away on the turns. You don’t realize it, but all of a sudden he’s got a length on you. He’s just that quick. You just hope he has something left when he hits the wire and he did today.”

The win against open company improved Rinaldi’s career ledger to 5-2-1 in 11 starts. He paid $6.70 on a $2 win wager and increased his career earnings to $429,900.

“He’s a better two-turn horse,” Bond said. “We got rained off on New York-bred day and I decided to regroup, bring him here and get him ready for this and get two starts here. With Luis, I didn’t have to say anything. He puts him where he needs to be. The horse is just all heart. He’s such a cool horse.”

Saez has been aboard for all four of Rinaldi’s stakes wins.

“He was traveling comfortable,” Saez said. “That was the plan. We tried to have a good break and control the pace and everything went to plan. He likes this track. This is like his backyard.

“When I turned for home, I had a lot of horse,” he continued. “I let him run and he gave me a pretty fast kick. In the end, I had a feeling he was going to get there, and he did.”

Klaravich Stables’ Value Proposition, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished in the money for the seventh time in nine starts. Delaware, who ran down Rinaldi in deep stretch to win the Danger’s Hour before running fourth in the Seek Again in May at Belmont, was one-length better than Sacred Heart to finish third under jockey Jose Ortiz.

“He [Value Proposition] was trying to lay in and he had every chance to draw alongside [Rinaldi] but he didn’t have it today,” Brown said. “He was trying to lug in. The winner won well.

“With my other two horses, I needed a little bit more pace than that,” Brown added. “Unfortunately, the winner was loose on the lead and that’s his game. These horses weren’t good enough at a mile to get it done today and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”

Therapist, Corelli, Logical Myth, Sanctuary City and Made You Look completed the order of finish. Flying Scotsman was scratched.

The first Saturday card of the summer meet at Saratoga will feature an 11-race slate with a 1:05 p.m. Eastern first post. The first Grade 1 of the 40-day meet, the $500,000 Diana for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf, is set for Race 10 at 6:16 p.m. The Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford for juveniles sprinting six furlongs on the main track will go off one race prior at 5:40 p.m.