Wednesday afternoon will mark the 100th running of the Saratoga Special (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs worth $150,000. It is an important race for young horses. Its roster of winners includes Sysonby, Colin, Regret, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Bold Forbes, Chief's Crown and many others.The importance of this race is not lost on trainer Thomas Amoss, who would give anything to be in town to see Walter L. "Buddy" New's Lone Star Sky try to extend his unbeaten streak to three in the Saratoga Special. Amoss, however, cannot finalize any travel plans. He is at the mercy of the Middletown Gold 11- and 12-year-old girls' softball team.
It turns out that Amoss' 11-year-old daughter, Ashley, plays first base for the Louisville, Ky.-based team that began a two-tiered "World Series" tournament on Saturday night."My horse got to Saratoga mid-day on Friday, but I still don't know what I'm doing," Amoss said. It also helps that Lone Star Sky has been taking care of his own business. He debuted at Arlington Park on June 13 and not only won at 4 1/2 furlongs, but broke from post 10 and came from off the pace to do it.He came back on July 7th to win the Bashford Manor (gr. III) at Churchill Downs by 3 1/2 lengths over favored Posse and Cooper Crossing.
In winning the Bashford Manner, Lone Star Sky set the stakes record of 1:09 3/5, breaking Lunar Bounty's year-old mark of 1:09 4/5. His victory also gave Amoss 23 wins and a share of the Churchill Downs spring training title with Dale Romans."This horse is a pretty interesting story," Amoss said of the son of 1982 Belmont Stakes winner Conquistador Cielo-Ministrada, by Deputy Minister. "He was actually a turn-back at the Ocala Breeders' Sale. I can't even tell you what the problem was. I think it was something with his back end, but he hasn't shown me anything wrong. Nick de Meric, who is a pretty big consignor, contacted Buddy and Buddy bought him privately for $160,000."
Lone Star Sky has already earned more than $101,000."His race at Arlington, well, you are not supposed to be able to do what he did on that track," Amoss said. "It is tough enough to come out of the far outside post, but then to win coming from off the pace is almost impossible at Arlington.
"We ran him back in the Bashford Manor, and we expected a good effort. But we didn't expect to see that kind of performance. He has stepped it up, and he will have to step it up again in the Saratoga Special. But we are coming to Saratoga because this race is a nice progression for him. And he looks like he might be wanting more distance."
Mark Guidry will have the mount on Lone Star Sky in the Saratoga Special. If Amoss cannot make the trip to the Spa, trainer Albert Stall will saddle Lone Star Sky.Trainer Patrick Biancone has the happy problem of having two very good two-year-olds in his barn, so he will keep them apart until the Breeders'Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park on October 26th.Biancone has already taken the first of Saratoga's juvenile stakes when he won the Sanford (gr. II) on July 25th with Whywhywhy. That colt, a son of Mr. Greeley, will wait until the $200,000 Hopeful (gr. I) here at seven furlongs on August 21st.In the Saratoga Special, Biancone will run Michael Tabor's Zavata."We gave him a little break after he won the Tremont at Belmont," Biancone said. "He's really been doing well up here. He's basically done everything we've asked of him. He is trying a new distance on Wednesday, but I think he'll be up to it."The $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II)
PP Horse (Jockey), Wgt.
1 Desert Warrior (Pat Day), 116
2 Spite the Devil (Victor Carrero), 116
3 Awesome of Course (Javier Castellano), 118
4 Lone Star Sky (Mark Guidry), 122
5 Zavata (Jerry Bailey), 122