(Edited Saratoga press release)
Darley Stable’s Justenuffhumor and Magnolia Racing Stable’s Cowboy Cal resume what may be a budding rivalry when they meet Aug. 28 in the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf at Saratoga.
The two 4-year-olds met for the first time Aug. 2 in Saratoga’s Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/16 miles. Justenuffhumor, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, entered the race undefeated in four turf starts and he split horses in the stretch to win by 2½ lengths under jockey Alan Garcia, while favored Cowboy Cal faded from the lead to third behind runner-up Mambo Meister.
Cowboy Cal’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, said the son of Giant's Causeway “didn’t get an ideal pace set-up” in the Fourstardave and hopes for a tracking trip under jockey John Velazquez, who regains the mount.
“He’s kind of a tricky horse to ride,” Pletcher said. “He can be little bit headstrong. Johnny knows him well. He’s maintained his form.”
Cowboy Cal won two grade II races over Santa Anita’s synthetic surface this past winter and finished second on the turf in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) on Derby day at Churchill Downs.
Justenuffhumor, a son of Distorted Humor , went off at 7-2 in the Fourstardave and McLaughlin expects things to be different this time around.
“Each time you step up, it’s tough,” McLaughlin said. “Last time, he stepped up, he handled it, but now you have a target on his back and are one of the ones to beat. It gets tougher.”
Justenuffhumor, coupled in an entry with Irish-bred Colony, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite to win the Baruch.
Also entered in the Bernard Baruch is Mambo Meister, a 4-year-old King Cugat gelding trained at Calder Race Course by Phil Gleaves who finished second in the Fourstardave at 15-1. Owned by Quantum Racing Team, Mambo Meister had won back-to-back stakes races on his home turf course before traveling to Saratoga.
Trainer Ralph Nicks enters John Chandler’s multiple grade III stakes winner Seaspeak off a third-place finish in the July 4 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs. The third-place finisher of that race, Inca King, won a $100,000 optional-claiming race on Monday at Saratoga.
Seaspeak dominated in the May 25 Dallas Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) at Lone Star Park, winning the $200,000 race by 4¾ lengths.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott enters Sette E Mezzo off a sharp 1 1/16-mile turf score, the 4-year-old Dynaformer colt’s second victory in his past three starts.
Yate’s Black Cat, coming off the first stakes score of his career; Interpatation, Deal Making, and Kutais complete the field.
Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT), $200,000, Saratoga, Aug. 28, 1 1/8 miles, inner turf, 3-year-olds and up.
PP – Horse – Jockey – Wgt – ML
1 – Yate’s Black Cat – R. Dominquez – 115 – 10-1
2 – Mambo Meister – J. Lezcano – 115 – 8-1
3 – Kutais – E. Coa – 113 – 15-1
4 – (e)Justenuffhumor – A. Garcia – 118 – 9-5
5 – Cowboy Cal – J. Velazquez Jr. – 119 – 5-2
6 – (e) Colony – R. Maragh – 115 – 9-5
7 – Interpatation – C. Velasquez – 114 – 20-1
8 – Deal Making – J. Rose – 115 – 12-1
9 – Seaspeak – R. Albarado – 8-1
10 – Sette E Mezzo – K. Desormeaux – 113 – 10-1