John Oxley's graded stakes-winner Moon Colony will look to capitalize on a distance cutback in Friday's Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame for 3-year-olds at one mile over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.
The Mark Casse-trained bay Uncle Mo colt set the pace last out in the Grade 1 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, where he was pressed up front by Blenheim Palace before fading to ninth. That start came after winning his graded stakes debut in the Grade 2 Penn Mile on June 1 at Penn National, where he registered a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure.
“I think the cut back to a mile will be good for him. Unfortunately, in his last start, he got hooked up with the Aidan O'Brien horse that was next to him yelling and screaming,” Casse said. “That hurt his chances last time but he's already well proven at a mile, so I think that the Hall of Fame suits him quite nicely.”
As the eight-horse field's only graded stakes winner on grass, Moon Colony brags the highest bankroll with $370,635 in lifetime earnings.
Bred in Kentucky by St. Elias Stables, Moon Colony was purchased by Oxley for $400,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017. He is out of the two-time Grade 1-placed Carson City broodmare Promenade Girl, who produced three-time Grade 1-winner Cavorting.
Jockey Julien Leparoux retains the mount aboard Moon Colony, who breaks from post 8.
Calumet Farm's English Bee also will cut back in distance and take a drop in class from the Belmont Derby, while seeking his second stakes victory for trainer Graham Motion. The Kentucky homebred chestnut son of English Channel won the James W. Murphy at Pimlico two starts back.
“I'm pretty happy with him. I think perhaps he just didn't really want to go that far in the Belmont Derby,” Motion said. “I think shortening him back up to a mile will help him.”
English Bee will leave from post 3 under Hall of Famer and two-time Saratoga leading rider Javier Castellano.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will seek a seventh win in the Hall of Fame when he saddles multiple graded stakes-placed Casa Creed, who breaks from post 5 under Junior Alvarado. The Jimmy Creed chestnut began his career on the main track, where he graduated at second asking over the main track at Saratoga over eventual Grade 1-placed Social Paranoia. His last victory took place in his turf debut, where he sat off a leisurely pace and went on to finish a neck ahead of eventual Grade 1-winner Henley's Joy.
Amerman Racing's homebred Award Winner, a half-brother to four-time Grade 1-winner Oscar Performance, will make his second start against stakes company when breaking from post 4 for trainer Brian Lynch.
The bay son of Ghostzapper was second beaten a neck as the lukewarm favorite in the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park last time out. He began his career on the main track, where he was a second-out graduate over a sloppy main track at Gulfstream Park by 4 1/2 lengths in December. Award Winner made his turf debut in the spring at Keeneland, where he was a close second behind eventual graded stakes winner Demarchelier. He subsequently defeated winners over the turf at Churchill Downs, recording an 83 Beyer.
Award Winner will be reunited with two-time Saratoga leading rider Jose Ortiz, who piloted the colt in three of his seven career starts, including his maiden win.
Completing the field are Sombeyay [post 1, Luis Saez], Swamp Rat [post 2, Dylan Davis], Limonite [post 6, Ricardo Santana, Jr.] and Global Access [post 7, John Velazquez].
The Hall of Fame is slated as Race 7 on Friday's 10-race card, which also features the $100,000 Alydar in Race 8, and the second leg of the Turf Tiara, the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational presented by Encore Boston Harbor, in Race 9. First post is 1 p.m.
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