Saratoga's summer meet wraps up with a bang during its final week with a pair of 2-year-old races that will offer guaranteed starting berths into Breeders' Cup events in November at Churchill Downs.
Labor Day's (Sept. 5) $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful, the last grade I run at Saratoga this season, will award an automatic starting berth into the November 5, $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Under the enhanced conditions of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, the Breeders' Cup will pay the $60,000 entry fees into the Juvenile for the Hopeful winner and provide those connections a $10,000 in travel allowance to the Championships, provided the horse is nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by October 24.
Run at seven furlongs, the Hopeful figures to be led by Joseph Bucci's J C'S PRIDE, who set a track record going five furlongs in :56.54 when breaking his maiden over the course July 27. Trained by Bobby Barbara, the 2-year-old son of Henny Hughes was second in his career debut to graded stakes winner Overdriven before breaking through early in the meet.
J C's Pride geared up for the Hopeful working four furlongs over the main track in 48.86 on August 23 and Barbara admitted he's a little more on edge than his horse for New York's first grade I for juvenile colts this year.
“I've had a lot of nice horses in my career, but I've never had a 2-year-old like this. I've been practically sleeping with him the last two weeks, and I'm going to be a nervous wreck for the next 12 days waiting for the race,” Barbara said. “He's very laid back and relaxed around the barn and when working in the morning, but he's a different horse when the afternoon comes.”
Don Adam's POWER WORLD finished second to Overdriven in Saratoga's grade II Sanford July 24 and should appreciate the stretchout to seven furlongs in the Hopeful. Trained by Neil Howard, the son of Distorted Humor has a pedigree that suggests he'll get better with added ground and experience and was also second in Churchill's grade III Bashford Manor in July. Power World broke his maiden in his career debut at Churchill in June and is 1-for-3 lifetime.
Todd Pletcher may have lost Overdriven, the expected Hopeful favorite, to a minor injury but Saratoga's leading trainer has seven other highly regarded 2-year-olds nominated. The list includes Mrs. Paul Robsham's ANGEL'S TUNE, who broke his maiden at Delaware Park August 9; Anstu Stable's BAY PARK BOY, who won his career debut with ease over state breds at Saratoga August 8; Dell Ennis' HUNT CROSSING, an impressive debut winner over the track August 3; Twin Creek Racing Stable's SPACE TRAVELER, who won his only career start at Monmouth Park in July; Repole Stable's ZOW, a debut winner at Belmont over state breds in July and a pair from Bortolazzo Stable in BIG BLUE NATION, who won his lone career start at Churchill in July and STAT, second to Union Rags in the Saratoga Special.
Klaravich Stable's could send out a pair of flashy Saratoga debut winners in CLIP THE COUPONS for trainer Chad Brown and CURRENCY SWAP for trainer Terri Pompay. Clip The Coupons, a son of Congrats, got up late to win by a half-length in August 13 while Currency Swap, a son of High Cotton, wowed onlookers with a powerful 6-length romp August 6.
Saratoga's “Win and You're In” action kicks off in Friday's grade II, $150,000 With Anticipation at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for 2-year-olds, with the winner being awarded a starting berth into the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf November 4. Under the enhanced conditions of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, the Breeders' Cup will pay the winner's $30,000 entry fees into the Juvenile Turf and give the winning connections $10,000 in travel expenses, provided the winner is nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by October 24.
James Scatuorchio's homebred CAPTAIN WEBB was an impressive debut winner over the course and distance July 30 for Pletcher and could go favored in the With Anticipation. The son of 2007 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf winner English Channel won by 2 ½ lengths in a well-bet debut and should be a major factor.
Bluegrass Hall's homebred OPTIMIZER shocked the public when he was up in the final strides to win his debut over the course and distance August 6 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The son of English Channel closed from over 8 lengths back and should once again be a stretch danger.
Jake Ballis' SPLENDIFEROUS was another Saratoga debut winner over the course and distance August 11 and the Steve Margolis-trained son of 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect will merit respect.
STATE OF PLAY, won his debut sprinting over the Saratoga turf July 27 and state-bred course and distance winners FOX RULES and SPORTSWRITER, are also entered in the With Anticipation.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.