Best known for his narrow defeat earlier this year in the Grade II Risen Star at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Tenacious Stakes contender Snapper Sinclair has had his ups and downs during a nine-race career, but owner Jeff Bloom believes the 3-year-old son of City Zip can make some noise in the handicap division moving forward.
“He's a young horse that's done a number of different things,” Bloom said. “For now, were honing in on his area of expertise. I think this distance (one mile and 70 yards) is probably going to be a real good fit but I don't think he's limited to that distance. I do believe he's going to be very competitive in the older handicap division.”
Earlier in the year, Bloom had Kentucky Derby dreams for the Steve Asmussen trainee. A very competitive third at odds of 28-1 in the Grade III Lecomte, he set a slow pace in the Risen Star, only to be nosed out for the win by Bravazo.
“To this day was one of my toughest beats,” Bloom said. “Watching the race, it looked like we got the head bob and when you look at the photo, it's hard to decipher who won the race. At the same time it was nice to know that we had a good horse on our hands. As things turned out, Bravazo was one of the stronger competitors in the division and to be so close to victory in that race meant a lot.”
Snapper Sinclair's only two victories came sprinting on turf as a 2-year-olds. He broke his maiden at Saratoga over eventual two-time stakes winner Gidu (Ire.) and followed up by winning the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
“You can make the argument that his best races are on the main track,” Bloom said. “He's really less than a whisker away from beating Bravazo on his home track at the Fair Grounds. He always has shown to be such a versatile, gutsy horse and indicated that whether he's on turf or dirt won't be much of an issue. Certainly, he's been training real well since his last start so this should be an ideal spot. The distance should be right up his alley.”
Following a disappointing fifth in the Grade II Louisiana Derby, Snapper Sinclair was given some time off. He returned to finish a non-threatening eighth in a second-level turf sprint allowance at Keeneland on October 17, but bounced back with a solid second routing on dirt at the same class level four weeks later at Churchill behind next out winner Lone Rock.
“The race at Keeneland was too short for him and he had just returned off of a layoff,” Bloom said. “It was not an ideal scenario for him, but he got a race under his belt. This late in the year you would expect 3-year-olds have caught up with the older horses. His last start was indicative of his determination that he's shown us.”
Reports on Snapper Sinclair since his return to Fair Grounds have been favorable.
“Steve has been very pleased with him,” Bloom said of the Hall of Fame conditioner. “One thing we know for sure is that he's happy at Fair Grounds and obviously runs real well (over this dirt) surface. Steve is very optimistic about how he's coming into the race (Tenacious) and what lays ahead for him.”
Bloom has an affinity for Snapper Sinclair's late sire City Zip, who proved to be quite the versatile stallion.
“I'm such a big fan of City Zip,” Bloom said. “We campaigned Majestic City who now stands in New York and he was the same way whether you run him short or long. The way it plays out, some of his best horses have looked like they had run all day. City Zip almost more than others in his display in versatility as a stallion. He produced good quality versatile horses.”
Bloom will also be represented by a first time starter in the penultimate race on Santa Super Saturday with Comedian, a 2-year-old son of Into Mischief who was purchased for $75,000 from last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is also trained by Asmuseen.
“He's a colt that definitely acts like he has a lot of talent so you're always anxious to get these young ones started,” Bloom said. “He's also one that all along the thinking was that he's probably going to get better when stretching out but he also shows some nice early kick as well.”
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