Friday, July 23, 2010

Sanford Stakes (G-2)

clip_image002[6]Eight colts will face the starter in the Sanford Stakes (G-2) at Saratoga Racecourse on July 25. Named for a prominent racing family of the 1800's, the Sanford Stakes adds to the Saratoga's reputation as the "Graveyard of Favorites." In the 1919 edition, superhorse Man O'War would be handed his only defeat by a measly half length. Sometimes, not even a superhorse can overcome a horrible start. The prestigious Sanford has been won by the filly Regret, the first of two fillies to take the race and the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown heroes Secretariat and Affirmed, Champions Tom Fool, Hail to Reason, Forty Niner and Afleet Alex.
This year’s field includes a duo by leading freshman sire Bluegrass Cat, a few impressive maiden winners, one maiden, one graded stakes winner and a stakes placed runner. A couple of the colts have already negotiated the Sanford Stakes race distance of six furlongs. Let’s take a closer look at the contestants.
The only maiden in the field is Nacho Saint (Yes It’s True – Flashy, by Wild Again) He gave up experience in his debut finishing second to Chipshot, but came back a month later to just miss by a neck. His dam is a half sister to Kings Lyn, dam of Sara Louise and this year’s Debutante Stakes winner Just Louise. He has a bullet three furlong work under his girth and the extra distance should help.
Maybesomaybenot (Sunday Break – Majestic Mommy, by Olympio) comes back in three weeks after winning his six furlong maiden by six lengths. His sire currently stands in France and his dam is a half sister to a stakes winner. Maybesomaybenot breezed a brisk five furlongs for the Sanford. The Maker barn is 19% with the maiden to stakes race angle.
Bail Out The Cat (Tale of the Cat – Golden Gazelle, by Meadowlake) blazed a furlong in :10.1 at the OBS February Selected Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. He's a half brother to JB’s Golden Regret, a juvenile stakes winner. Bail Out The Cat won his debut over a muddy Belmont track after battling and drawing away.

One of two colts in here sired by Bluegrass Cat is Another Silver Oak (Bluegrass Cat – Off the Richter, by Richter Scale). He is the first foal for his stakes placed sprinting dam. She is a half sister to the multiple stakes winning sprinter Nightmare Affair. Damsire Richter Scale was a brilliant sprinter who set a new track record for six furlongs. Despite being rank in his debut, Another Silver Oak battled and drew off two win by 2 ¾ lengths. He owns a series of quick works and adds blinkers for the always dangerous Pletcher barn.
Chipshot (Peace Rules – Chipiski, by Appealing Skier) found trouble in his first two starts but the third time was the charm. He got it done at Monmouth going five furlongs in under 1:00 and beat Nacho Saint in the process. Chipshot’s dam’s a stakes winning sprinter. The chestnut colt worked a bullet five furlongs as a prep for this race.
Lou Brissie (Limehouse – Fearless Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat) won the Kentucky Juvenile (G-3) way back in April but was clearly best of the rest after finishing more than nine lengths behind the sensational Kantharos in the six furlong Bashford Manor (G-3). Lou Brissie’s dam is a half sister to two stakes winners. He comes out of the well-regarded but conservative Howard barn.

clip_image002[10]Blue Right By (Bluegrass Cat – Shades of Grace, by Seeking the Gold) is by leading freshman sire Bluegrass Cat, out of a Seeking the Gold mare. His pedigree suggests he’ll enjoy going long. His dam is a half sister to G-3 winner Fortitude and his third dam is Champion two year old filly Outstandingly. The light bulb came on in Blue Right By’s third attempt, but he must learn to break cleanly from the gate. The Dallas Stewart barn wins 26% races with the maiden to stakes race angle.
Commonwealth Rush (Afleet Alex – Wildcat Annie, by Forest Wildcat) battled the whole way, lost ground and surged forward to win his debut, showing his daddy’s spirit. His dam was a stakes winning two year old sprinter. Commonwealth Rush’s works have been strong and the Ice barn wins 23% stakes races.

How the track is playing: Last year, speed on the lead or pace pressers won over 60% of the sprints. 30% rain is forecast.
On paper, this is a completive race and any one of these developing babies could jump up and run huge. Lou Brissie is clearly the class of the field, has experience at this distance and has a chance to improve in his second race off a layoff. Bail Out The Cat appears to be the speed of the race. His 101 speed figure and :57 4/5 for five furlongs is the fastest five furlong time of this group. He’ll likely play catch me if you can on the lead. Maybesomaybenot also has experience at this distance and could move forward off of his win. Blue Right By should enjoy the distance and he has one of the best pedigrees in the race. Chipshot shows good progression and works. Nacho Saint gets extra distance to work with and should be rolling at the end. It’s hard to tell what Another Silver Oak beat at Delaware, but it’s dangerous to ignore the Pletcher barn.
Bail Out The Cat
Nacho Saint
Another Silver Oak – longshot