Todd Pletcher, fresh off earning his second Belmont Park training title, seeks to keep the ball rolling as the New York racing season shifts from Belmont to Saratoga. Pletcher will be looking for his first stakes win of the meet on Thursday when he sends out Hussar in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II), going six furlongs.
Owned by Peachtree Stable, Hussar was a visually impressive gate-to-wire winner in his June 16th debut, prompting Pletcher to enter the son of Silver Deputy in the Tremont Stakes (gr. III) a mere 13 days later.
In the Tremont, Hussar had the misfortune of hooking Zavata, the leading 2-year-old on the East Coast. After setting the pace for more than four furlongs in the Tremont, Hussar succumbed to Zavata nearing the eighth pole. Zavata's winning time of 1:02 3/5 in the 5 1/2-furlong Tremont was just a tick off the track record. Hussar held second.
Hussar will face tough competition from Fabien Ouaki's Whywhywhy, winner of the Flash Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont in early June. A colt by Mr. Greeley, Whywhywhy broke his maiden in the Flash.
A couple of other tough challengers will be New Farm's Wildcat Heir, a full brother to the multiple stakes winning Forest Heiress, who will be stepping up into stakes competition in his second race. Trained by Ben Perkins Jr., Wildcat Heir raced close to the pace in his June 26th debut at Monmouth before drawing away for the 2 1/2-length victory. He ran five furlongs in :57 3/5 as the 4-5 chalk.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Posse, a graded stakes winner at Churchill Downs in May, makes his first start in New York for trainer Steve Asmussen. A colt by Silver Deputy, Posse has been sent off at odds of 4-5 or less in three consecutive stakes appearances.
The field for Thursday's $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. III) includes:
PP, horse, jockey, weight, morning line
1 -- Title Contender, Robbie Davis, 118, 20-1
2 -- Wildcat Heir, Jerry Bailey, 118, 2-1
3 -- Spite the Devil, Victor Carrero, 118, 20-1
4 -- Posse, Donnie Meche, 122, 5-1
5 -- Whywhywhy, Edgar Prado, 122, 3-1
6 -- Hear No Evil, Richard Migliore, 122, 15-1
7 -- Raise An Emblem, Mark Guidry, 118, 30-1
8 -- Hussar, John Velazquez, 118, 9-2
9 -- Run Production, Harry Vega, 118, 5-1