Disco Partner will attempt to regain the winning thread on Friday when he heads a field of nine in the $100,000 Lucky Coin at Saratoga Race Course.
The Lucky Coin is a 5 ½-furlong turf dash for 4-year-olds and up which have not won a stakes in 2019. It was carded the 10th race on the 11-race card.
Disco Partner, a 7-year-old Patricia Generazio homebred who has earned more than $1.4 million, is a seven-time stakes winner but is winless in his past five starts. He concluded his 2018 campaign with a third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs and a second in the Turf Sprint Championship at Aqueduct Racetrack. In three starts this year, he has finished ninth in the Grade 2 Shakertown in April at Keeneland, third in the Grade 1 Jaipur in June at Belmont, and second in the Grade 3 Troy on August 3 at Saratoga.
In the Troy, Disco Partner split horses in upper stretch to take the lead but was unable to match strides with late-rallying Leinster and finished three-quarters of a length behind the winner.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Disco Partner from post position 3.
“[Disco Partner] loves the cooler weather, so he's been very happy for the last week,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “He looks great. I thought he ran OK [in the Troy]. This is a good spot for him. The goal is the [$150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational on October 5]. He's healthy and should be running in between [the Troy and the Belmont Turf Sprint]. Irad is riding him and knows him inside out. Let's go.”
The Lucky Coin will be the first turf sprint start for Courtlandt Farms' Strike Power, who on the dirt won the 2018 Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park and finished second in this year's Grade 3 True North on June 7 at Belmont. He has raced once on grass, a ninth in the one-mile Better Talk Now last year at Saratoga.
Strike Power, a 4-year-old, breezed four furlongs in 49.49 seconds on August 9 over the Oklahoma turf course.
“He sure acts like he handles the turf well,” said trainer Mark Hennig. “Last year when he ran on it, it was prior to his throat surgery. It wasn't a fair assessment. He's bred for the turf and we want to see if it will open more doors for him. It creates more opportunities if he can run on both surfaces.”
Strike Power enters the Lucky Coin off a fifth-place finish in Saratoga's Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on July 27. Mitole, third in the Vanderbilt, returned to win the Grade 1 Forego on Saturday.
“He and Mitole kind of dueled each other into submission that day,” said Hennig. “He came out of it well and it didn't seem to hurt his feelings too much. This should be a little softer spot.”
Strike Power drew post 9 and will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
Mustaaqeem, an Australian-bred who made four starts in South Africa, will make his North American debut in the Lucky Coin. The 5-year-old won both of his starts in 2017, including the Group 1 SA Nursery. He made two starts in 2018, finishing fourth in a conditions race and 12th in the Group 3 Man o' War Sprint. He has breezed nine times at Greentree Training Center for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Luis Saez will ride Mustaaqeem from post 4.
From the rail out, the field also includes Fig Jelly, second in the Wolf Hill on July 20 at Monmouth Park; Fixed Point, third in a starter allowance July 28 at Saratoga; Final Frontier, winner of an optional claimer August 4 at Saratoga; Shekky Shebaz, who won a $25,000 claiming race July 27 at Saratoga; Square Shooter, victorious in a no-conditions allowance August 19 at Laurel Park; and Lonhtwist, fourth in an entry-level allowance August 17 at Saratoga.
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