Hunter O'Riley made an impression in the 2017 edition of the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green, capturing the 1 3/8-mile turf route as the longest shot on the board at 16-1. On Thursday, trainer Jimmy Toner said the 6-year-old bay gelded son of Tiz Wonderful remains on target for the race's 2019 edition, set for Saturday, July 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Sean Shay and Michael Ryan, Hunter O'Riley shipped in well to Saratoga from his base at Belmont Park and looks to be in fine form following a victory by a neck in the Grade 1 United Nations on June 22 at Monmouth Park over turf labeled good.
“He's here and everything is good. He came out of the race good and we're planning on running him in the Bowling Green,” Toner said.
In besting an eight-horse United Nations Field at the Bowling Green distance, Hunter O'Riley earned his highest Beyer Speed Figure since 2017 with a 99, marking the highest since earning a 103 for a fourth-place finish in the 2017 Grade 1 Sword Dancer following his Bowling Green win, where he registered a career-best 104 Beyer.
The United Nations victory broke a streak of six off-the-board efforts against graded stakes company. Hunter O'Riley will now return to the Spa, where he ran third in his career debut in August 2015 and his first graded stakes win in the Bowling Green.
Multiple stakes-winner Hawkish is also at Saratoga, where Toner said he is hopeful to run towards the end of the meet, with the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on Closing Day, September 2, remaining a possibility.
Owned by Robert LaPenta, AJ Suited Racing and Madaket Stables, Hawkish underwent throat surgery after his win in the Cliff Hanger on May 4 at Monmouth Park. The operation prevented the 4-year-old Artie Schiller gelding from running in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont, but the 2018 Grade 2 Penn Mile-winner could be ready to make his Saratoga debut after winning at Monmouth, Penn National, Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct Racetrack.
“He's here and looking good,” Toner said.
Shay's Mominou remains on target for the $200,000 Caress on Saturday, July 20 at Saratoga, Toner said. The 4-year-old filly, a daughter of Congrats, ran third in the Politely on May 18 at Monmouth, building off her first win of the current campaign when she posted a one-length score against allowance company on April 20 at Keeneland.
“She's doing well and is coming off a good effort at Monmouth and had a good race at Keeneland before that,” Toner said.
The Caress, for older fillies and mares going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf, will mark Mominou's first start at Saratoga since a sixth-place finish in the Coronation Cup last July.
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