Winning any race at Saratoga is a big deal.
To win a Graded Stakes race is something special.
"It's a big thrill. I've been on a high all weekend," said retired banker Terry Murray, whose talented 3-year-old, Lethal Combination, won the 103rd running of the Grade III Saranac on Sunday at the Spa.
For seven years now, Murray and several longtime friends have been buying horses and racing them in the name of Namcook Stables.
They specialize in turf horses -- those that race on the grass.
Their previous stable star was Spider Power, an Irish-bred that finished second at Saratoga in the Gr. II Hall of Fame Stakes in 2006. Namcook also owned Evil Minister, who won the Sapling stakes at Monmouth as a 2-year old before his career was cut short by injuries.
But winning a race that has been run for more than a century at Saratoga is the highlight.
"I've watched the race replay three or four times again this morning," Murray said Tuesday, still sounding as thrilled as he was Sunday, when Lethal Combination rallied from last in a field of six to win by half a length at odds of 3.30-to-1.
"He wasn't even in the picture until the top of the stretch," Murray said. "On the far turn, he started to make his move, and just kept picking them off."
According to the official chart in the Daily Racing Form, Lethal Combination, who trailed by seven lengths after three-quarters of a mile in the 1-3/16ths-mile race, "dropped back after the start, raced inside on the first turn, lagged at the rear, closed the gap with a half-mile to run, advanced three wide on the far turn, rallied five wide into the stretch, closed well in unison with Turf Melody, battled with that rival in the final furlong, and prevailed while under strong hand urging late."
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin now is pointing Lethal Combination toward the Gr. I Jamaica stakes at Belmont on Columbus Day weekend.