Starlight Racing's Sombeyay, the post-time favorite at 5-2, made a strong late bid in the lane to win Saturday's Grade 3 Sanford Stakes by about a half-length under jockey Javier Castellano. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 2-year-old son of Into Mischief covered six furlongs over Saratoga's fast main track in 1:10.35.
“He's not a particularly impressive workhorse in the mornings,” Pletcher said. “He's always run better than he breezes. I'm perfectly happy with that as long as he's happy and healthy and continues to perform in the afternoons. But, he's not one that would blow you away in the mornings. I think in these early 2-year-old races, experience is huge. Having two starts compared to others with only one, I think that helped today. I think it hurt him a little the last time when he stumbled, you could argue that it helped him today. I think the [Grade 1, $350,000] Hopeful [September 3] would be the next logical step with three starts under his belt if he was tearing the barn down, we'll see.”
Bano Solo and Strike Silver were both quick out of the gate, but Castellano was content to sit behind those two along the inside rail down the backstretch. Sombeyay took a moment to settle, initially trying to rush up between the two leaders as stablemate Lexitonian was also pressing forward on his outside.
Through fractions of :22.26 and :45.49, Bano Solo led Strike Silver by a head. At the head of the lane, Strike Silver took command, pulling away to a 1 1/2-length advantage. In the final eighth of a mile, Sombeyay finally found another gear and was able to get ahead of Strike Silver by a half-length on the wire. Whiskey Echo got up for third over Bano Solo.
“It was perfect,” Castellano said. “He broke good out of the gate and put me in the right position. Today, I didn't want to be too far back. It worked out the way we wanted today. When I asked, he took off. I loved the way he finished. He's a good come-from-behind horse. It was very satisfying. I give all the credit to Todd [Pletcher]. I never rode this horse before, and Todd [Pletcher] gave me the instructions.”
Bred in Kentucky by J. D. Stewart and Mueller Farms, Sombeyay was a $125,000 weanling at the Keeneland November sale, and was pinhooked through Taylor Made to bring $230,000 as a yearling at the September sale. Out of the multiple stakes-placed Teroda (Limehouse), the colt won on debut, and finished second in the Tremont Stakes by three-quarters of a length in his only other outing. Overall, Sombeyay has won two of three starts for earnings of $140,000.
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