By Jarrod Horak
The 2023 Travers is in the rear view mirror and now we turn our attention to New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday, August 27. The program features six New York-bred stakes races. Let’s peruse the Digest past performances and see if we can come up with some winners.
Race 2 – Fleet Indian – 1 1/8 miles dirt
Timely Conquest is the favorite and she has some questions to answer. She was excellent in her first two dirt sprints. She stalked and scored in her debut in the mud at Belmont, and she set the pace and widened in a local extended sprint score on Aug. 11. It is rarely a good idea to take a short price on a horses trying something new, and we will find out how far the daughter of Accelerate wants to go in this event.
Ichiban should work out a comfortable stalking trip while out in the clear under Jose Ortiz. She exits back-to-back wins and easily navigated this distance on July 26. The runner-up from her last was a next-out winner. Her stablemate Amanda’s Folly is in fine form for Linda Rice, and she should impact the pace from the rail under Irad Ortiz Jr. She gamely wired the field at the course/distance on July 26, and clear runner-up Sweet Mystery was a next-out winner.
Cairo Sugar exits a nice dirt route win at Parx and Flavien Prat ends up here. She won a New York-bred stakes race at Aqueduct over the winter and might not be out of this.
Krystalheir rounds out the field and the Keen Ice maiden is overmatched. I will try to beat Timely Conquest with the “other” Linda Rice trainee Ichiban.
Race 3 – West Point – 1 1/16 miles inner turf
West Point favorite Spirit of St Louis came from the clouds to win a turf route at Belmont as the favorite on June 10, and stalked and easily scored again at 1-2 odds in a local turf route on July 20. He earned an improved number last time and could easily pick up his first stakes win for Chad Brown. Irad Ortiz Jr. is 2-for-2 with him.
City Man is a 10-for-29 pro exiting a nose victory in the Kingston at Belmont. He has a good overall record at this course and distance, and he should come running under his winning rider Joel Rosario.
Dakota Gold is in good form and he is fairly reliable and versatile. He likes this turf course but is 0-for-5 at this distance.
Jerry the Nipper should be in a good tactical spot under Jose Ortiz. He exits a game local optional claiming turf route victory.
Somelikeithotbrown has been a quality performer for quite some time. He has banked more than $1.7 million and showed some late interest in a runner-up finish in the Hudson Valley last time. This race is lacking early speed and he should be forwardly placed from the inside post under Javier Castellano.
Ocala Dream is the other turf entrant and Bankit, Sheriff Bianco, and Un Ojo are the three main track only entrants.
This seems like a competitive heat but they might all be running for second if Spirit of St Louis continues his upward trajectory.
Race 4 – Funny Cide – 6 furlongs dirt
The Wine Steward stalked and pounced on his rivals in both career wins. Manny Franco can just sit outside and watch the race unfold, and it sure looks like this race might set up for him. The morning line favorite is a solid win contender.
Trust Fund was solid in his local bow on Aug. 11. He attended strong fractions and kicked away by 2 1/4 lengths. Todd Pletcher’s Practical Joke colt might seize control of this race from the outset under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Whatchatalkinabout was professional in his Belmont bow. He stalked slow fractions and came home relatively fast to win by a length. A solid effort was not a surprise. He was 1.30-1 in that race for Wesley Ward.
El Grande O adds blinkers and will break from the rail, and Always a Warrior and Works for Me round out the 6-horse field.
The Wine Steward is probably the one to beat but Trust Fund should have a big say in the final outcome.
Race 5 – Yaddo – 1 1/16 miles turf
Whatloveslookslike won her last three turf routes and cuts back after a local victory at 1 3/8 miles on turf. She adores this turf course and you just know Flavien Prat will put her in a comfortable stalking spot. She does have to overcome the outside post and has to avoid losing too much ground, but I can see her chasing from second and waiting to pounce.
She’s Dancing is a sharp Pennsylvania shipper exiting a romping optional claiming score in a turf route at Penn National. That was her first turf try and she was stretching out as well, and she just ran away from that group. She might get brave if able to shake loose early and could do just that in a race lacking front end speed.
Runaway Rumour seems to be best when she sits back and makes a run. She should stay within hailing distance of the leaders under her new rider Ricardo Santana Jr. She is 0-for-3 at Saratoga and 1-for-7 at this distance.
The 8-horse field also includes Spungie, New Ginya, Classic Colors, Golden Rocket, and Lisa’s Vision.
This race seems to go through razor sharp filly Whatlovelookslike, and she might have the run of the race from the outside post.
Race 7 – Seeking the Ante – 6 furlongs dirt
Stellamaris finished an okay second in her local extended sprint bow on Aug. 13. Maidens can definitely win races like this and she figures to stalk the pace from the outside post, but I am not sure I want to take a short price on a non-winner.
Caldwell Luvs Gold took some time to find her stride in her local bow and she really kicked it into gear in the stretch. She rolled home by 2 3/4 lengths that day and was flattered when the show finisher won her next start. She shows two local training track works since her debut, and she probably needs to get into a better position early if she expects to win again.
My Shea D Lady was the favorite in her Gulfstream debut and pulled through with a solid 3 1/4 length victory. The show finisher from that heat won her next start.
The field also includes Cara’s Time, Tricky Temper, and Concerti. I don’t have a problem with Stellamaris other than price. Caldwell Luvs Gold intrigues me the most and she might be the play if her odds hold up.
Race 10 – Albany – 1 1/8 miles dirt
Maker’s Candy is the favorite but he does not seem to have any real advantage over the other logical contenders. He shipped to Finger Lakes and missed by a neck as the heavy favorite in the New York Derby last time. The $200k Twirling Candy colt drilled a local bullet for this on Aug. 20 and will probably save ground stalking the pace under Jose Ortiz.
Drake’s Passage earned an improved speed rating in his winning flat mile return at Belmont on July 3, and the distant show finished was a next-out winner. Christophe Clement’s Tonalist colt could be in the right stalking spot while out in the clear.
Mariachi exits a fast local dirt sprint win. He tries to navigate another turn and three extra furlongs, and he should attend the pace under Kendrick Carmouche in his third start of the year.
Allure of Money is a Finger Lakes shipper exiting a game front running victory in the New York Derby. He is 3-for-3 in dirt routes and rates a longshot look.
Maker’s Candy might get overbet and Mariachi has to prove he can handle two turns. That leaves Drake’s Passage as the possible play under Manny Franco.