SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Trainer Brian Lynch would be the first to admit things didn't quite go his way this summer at Saratoga. But the 40 day session ended on a high note for the Australian born Lynch after Heart to Heart registered a popular wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length victory over the 13-1 outsider Forge in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap on closing day of the 2017 Saratoga meeting.
Lynch entered the final day of the meet with only a single victory, although that win also came in a stakes, the 1 5/8-mile Johns Call with Infinite Wisdom. He also sent Oscar Performance to Arlington Park earlier this summer to capture the Grade 1 Secretariat.
With Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, Heart to Heart assumed command from the rail shortly after the start in the Bernard Baruch and controlled the pace while attended through modest fractions by Glorious Empire. Heart to Heart readily extended his advantage upon settling into the stretch then withstood a belated rally by Forge who saved ground much of the way to easily best the others. Delta Prince raced within striking distance but lacked a closing bid, finishing another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.
Heart to Heart carried highweight of 120 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile Bernard Baruch. The outing was the first for the 6-year-old son of English Channel since his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita on June 3.
Heart to Heart, who is owned by Terry Hamilton, completed the distance over a yielding course in 1:42.45 and paid $6.60.
"He got to dictate the terms," said Lynch. "I envisioned the seven [Glorious Empire] putting more pressure on him than he did. I give full credit to the guys at Belmont, they did a great job getting him ready. He's an unbelievable little guy. Last year [after the Shoemaker Mile], I didn't run him until the Knickerbocker and he won going a mile and one eighth off the bench."
Lynch acknowledged it had been a rough summer for him at the Spa.
"It's been a tough meet so it's certainly good to walk out of here with your head up," said Lynch who will point Heart to Heart for the $1 million Shadwell Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 7.
"The Shadwell Mile is a Win and You're In for the Breeders' Cup and if he wins, we'll take him there," said Lynch. "I think he'll be very effective at Del Mar with the tight turns. I always said his biggest asset was how he ran the turns. If not, we've got all those stakes he's swept before to point to this winter at Gulfstream Park."