New York: Either love it or hate it.
There is no doubt what side of the fence High Finance falls on. The 4-year-old colt has started five times in the Empire State, and won four races. In nine other career tries, the Kentucky-bred has won just once. Go figure.
The son of Talk Is Money-Margay will go for a third consecutive victory Sept. 1 when he faces 10 rivals in the $250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. I), a seven-furlong contest on Saratoga’s main track. Trained by Richard Violette, High Finance is coming off of two consecutive victories at Belmont, including a 2 ¾-length score July 4 in the seven-furlong Tom Fool Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II). In fact, he has won three times at that distance, normally by pressing the pace.
Owned by West Point Stables and bred by Dan Borislow , High Finance also has an allowance victory at Saratoga, and his only New York loss was in the 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He is coming off a nearly two-month layoff, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, Violette said.
“The last few weeks with him have been great,” Violette said. “He really came out of the Tom Fool in terrific shape. There’s no question he runs huge off a little bit of a layoff or with plenty of time between his races. He gets over the track great and he has done fantastic since the Tom Fool. Hopefully, we can knock out a grade 1 win with him on Saturday.”
High Finance will carry a race-high 121 pounds.
Praying for Cash could be one of the main competitors in the Forego. A 4-year-old Songandaprayer colt trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, he has won four of nine lifetime starts, most recently taking an allowance at Belmont by 5 ¼ lengths.
Praying for Cash, owned by Bob Hurley, also has a victory in the Long Branch Stakes (gr. III) to his credit. Jockey Kent Desormeaux will try to get the speedster right to the lead.
McLaughlin will also saddle Like Now, who won a seven-furlong allowance July 27 at Saratoga.
A rival with a contrasting style to Praying for Cash is Florida-bred Benny the Bull, who has four wins in 10 starts, all of them while coming from off the pace. He made his graded stakes debut last month in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (gr. II), finishing only 2 ¼ lengths back in fourth-place after being bumped at the start. Before that, Benny the Bull won a pair of dashes, including the six-furlong Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows.
Chatain, who has won four of seven career starts, including a six-furlong allowance victory at Saratoga Aug. 6, is another contender capable of winning, if healthy. The son of Forest Wildcat also has a win in the Hal’s Hope Handicap (gr. III) to his credit and held a narrow stretch lead over Invasor in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) before tiring.
Chatain breezed a half-mile on the Saratoga main track Aug. 29, but came out of the work with a bruised left front foot. Trainer Angel Penna Jr. was concerned. “It looks 90% better than it did two days ago,” he said. “He’s going to gallop on Friday ,and we’ll run if he’s comfortable. I’m not going to run if he’s not 100%.”
Awesome Twist, How’s Your Halo, Simon Pure, Midnight Lute, Attila’s Storm, and Executive Search round out the field.
$250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 5:16 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Like Now (FL), 117, Joe Bravo
2. Praying for Cash (FL), 117, Kent J. Desormeaux
3. Awesome Twist (KY), 117, Michael J. Luzzi
4. Benny the Bull (FL), 117, Mark Guidry
5. How's Your Halo (FL), 117, Alan Garcia
6. Simon Pure (KY), 117, Garrett K. Gomez
7. Attila's Storm (KY), 119, Rafael Bejarano
8. Midnight Lute (KY), 117, Edgar S. Prado
9. Chatain (KY), 119, Cornelio H. Velasquez
10. High Finance (KY), 121, John R. Velazquez
11. Executive Search (NY), 117, Channing Hill