Long known for its 2-year-olds, Saratoga's closing weekend could showcase racing's newest stars in Monday's $350,000 Hopeful and Sunday's $350,000, both run at seven furlongs. The Hopeful will see Anderson Stable's By Your Side and Stronach Stable's homebred Green Light Go, the winners of the local Sanford (G3) July 13 and Saratoga Special (G2) August 10, respectively, clash. The former, a 2-year-old son of Constitution, won his debut at Churchill Downs in June for trainer Eddie Kenneally and made it 2-for-2 in the Sanford, while the latter, a son of Hard Spun, impressed in his debut win at Belmont Park in July for trainer Jimmy Jerkens and was a troubled, yet easy winner of the Special to also move to 2-for-2.
By Your Side and Green Light Go will face a long list of impressive maiden winners, none more so than Gozilla, who coasted at the Spa by 4 ½ lengths Aug. 10 for trainer Steve Asmussen, and potentially stablemate Shoplifted, and equally impressive 4 ½ debut winner here July 27. American Butterfly, Beyond Gone and Glory Road all broke their maidens at the meet and could run in the Hopeful.
The Spinaway figures to be led by Tracy Farmer's Perfect Alibi, and Frank Fletcher's homebred Frank's Rockette, the 1-2 finishers of the local prep, the August 4 Adirondack (G2). The former, a daughter of Sky Mesa trained by Mark Casse. surged home late for a half-length win over the latter, a daughter of Into Mischief who endured a nightmare trip but still just-missed for trainer Bill Mott.
Like the Hopeful, a slew of talented debut winners are lining up to face the favorites, with Daphne Moon and Risky Mischief possible starters for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, while the meet's leading trainer Chad Brown has Figure of Speech. Colby, Miss Peppina, Shippy and Still Alive could also start in the Spinaway.
Future Stars Friday Contenders Should Emerge at Del Mar
Del Mar shadows the Hopeful and Spinaway with the $300,000 Futurity (G1) and $300,000 Debutante (G1) and both seven-furlong races figure to kickstart the path to Future Stars Friday, Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, when all five Breeders' Cup races will be run for juveniles. Monday's Closing Day Futurity is expected to draw a compact field and will, seemingly as always, be led by a potential star for trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the race an unfathomable 14 times since 1996. SF Racing, Starlight Racing, and Madaket Racing's Eight Rings could be favored to make it 15 for Baffert, as he dazzled in his lone start, an easy 6 ¼-length local maiden win August 4. The son of Empire Maker settled in third early before taking charge, and with a two-turn pedigree, should only get stronger as the distances get longer.
Rockingham Ranch and David Bersen's Wrecking Crew looks like the main danger for trainer Peter Miller, especially since he has experience against winners. The son of Sky Kingdom won locally on debut in July then was a good second in the Futurity prep, the Best Pal (G2) Aug. 10. Defense Wins, Fore Left, Garth, Ginobili, Nucky, and Storm the Court are also aiming for the Del Mar Futurity.
Saturday's Debutante figures to be a bit more balanced, with West Point Thoroughbreds, Hronis Racing, and William Sandbrook's impressive debut winner Inspiressa expected to attract plenty of attention. The daughter of The Big Beast dueled early then pulled away late Aug. 11 in a heavily bet debut for trainer John Sadler, which says she could be favored.
Contention runs deep, however, as Exline-Border Racing's Powerfulattraction was second in the Debutante prep, the Sorrento (G2) Aug. 3 for trainer Peter Miller. The daughter of Commissioner rallied from last and has a running style and two-turn pedigree that hints at further development this fall. Comical, Immediate Impact, Lazy Daisy, Leucothea, and Pure Xena are also expected for the Del Mar Debutante.
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