Sunday, August 10, 2014

SARATOGA SPECIAL STAKES SELECTIONS

The Saratoga Special (G-2) is the second of three graded stakes for two year old colts at Saratoga.

Sanford_Stakes The first, theSanford Stakes (G-3) was won in a thriller Big Trouble, by a neck over a bothered Mr. Z and a game Cinco Charlie, who kept his neck in front of an also game Nona’s Boy. Unfortunately, Big Trouble, living up to his name, tore a suspensory ligament in his right foreleg recently and will be out of commission for about six months. However, Mr. Z, and Cinco Charlie and Nona’s boy are back for more and will be challenged by Lone Star Park’s TTA Sales Futurity hero W V Jetsetter and seven last out maiden winners. The top three or four colts will most likely contest the Hopeful Stakes (G-1) on September 1.

 

Of the three Sanford Stakes contenders, Mr. Z (Malibu Moon - Stormy Bear, by Storm Cat) had the worst trip. He had every reason to give it up on the final turn when Cory Lanerie checked off of the heels of Nona’s Boy, whom he’d been following around the turn. Mr. Z was sharply guided towards the rail to avoid an incident while Nona’s Boy took on the pace setter Cinco Charlie. In mid-stretch, Mr. Z found himself boxed behind the two pace setters in front and Big Trouble to his outside. Cory Lanerie aggressively bashed the game Mr. Z against Big Trouble, forcing that rival out. The two nailed the battling Cinco Charlie and Nona’s Boy at the wire. Mr. Z was making his second career start in the Sanford. It’s impossible to say how much that wild ride took out of the colt, but he must be included here.

If Mr. Z wins the award for worst trip, Cinco Charlie wins for fastest horse in the field. He battled three wide through a blazing :21.65 first quarter and a :45.17 half. The son of Indian Charlie melted Chocolate Wildcat by the ½ mile pole and the other early rival, Bessie’s Boy, retreated soon thereafter. Cinco Charlie had no time to slow down. As Bessie’s Boy was going in reverse, Nona’s Boy challenged Cinco Charlie on the outside. The two rivals battled head and head to the shadow of the wire, where they were passed by Big Trouble and Mr. Z. The big question is – can Cinco Charlie hold that blazing speed an additional furlong? If he can slow the pace by a second or two, yes, he probably can.

Take nothing away from Nona’s Boy for his fourth place finish. He settled nicely off of the pace in the early going and provided a challenge at the top of the stretch. He didn’t miss by much and you can be sure that Todd Pletcher will have Nona’s Boy ready to mount a serious threat.

So, who can challenge the top three?

ISpentIt_1_ I Spent It had a noteworthy debut. While arguing for the lead, he was passed and had to check due to another horse passing and cutting in. The son of Freshman sire Super Saver was allowed to collect himself. In the stretch I Spent It appeared to hang, then shifted gears while drifting out from the whip. He still managed to win the sprint by ½ length. The colt posted a pre-race bullet to sharpen him for this race.

 

 

Stanford Stanford is the “other” Pletcher runner, the first being Nona’s Boy. He needed a few furlongs to find his stride, but once he did, the race was over. The son of Malibu Moon glided under the wire 1 ½ lengths in front. Pletcher won this race last year with Corfu and you know he’ll have Stanford ready to go.

 

 

Rod McLeod likewise had a bothered debut. After stalking early, he had to steady on the turn and swung four wide. The son of Roman Ruler breezed by the leaders to win by ¾ a length. Rod McLeod is the The Dale Romans trainee enters off of a pre-race bullet work.

Tizcano outclassed a group of maidens at Gulfstream by 6 ½ lengths. He’s a son of Alcibiades Stakes heroine Westerly Breeze and Tiznow. Tizcano switched to Peter Miller’s barn and has posted three moderate works.

Lord Tyrion, Cleveland Sound, Majestic Affair and W V Jetsetter won at minor tracks and may be up against it.

Selections

Tizcano appears to have enough early speed to keep Cinco Charlie busy on the front end for at least half of the race. Nona’s Boy made a strong middle move in the Sanford couldn’t handle Cinco Charlie after that one blazed a fast early pace. Mr. Z may regress a bit off of his eventful trip. I Spent It and Rod McLeod had pre-race bullet works and should be at their best. Always beware of the Pletcher horse with the higher odds. Stanford should appreciate the extra distance.

#1 I Spent It (7-2)

#6 Nona’s Boy (4-1)

#7 Cinco Charlie (9-2)

#8 Stanford (12-1)

#5 Rod McLeod – longshot pick (alternate should one scratch)

 

Photos #1 & #2 by Eclipse Sportswire.

 

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