Buster's Daydream made Saratoga's Sanford Stakes (gr. II) his fourth win in a row with an impressive 5 1/2-length win over a muddy track. The 4-1 third choice in the field, Buster's Daydream and jockey John Velazquez had the jump on the field at the break and never let a rival get a nose in front.
After a quarter-mile in :22.53, Buster's Daydream led Draw Play, 6-5 favorite Proud Citizen, and second choice Heavyweight Champ around the turn toward the stretch. The second, third, and fourth-place horses fanned three wide and gave chase, but as they entered the stretch, Buster's Daydream and Velazquez simply powered away and widened the margin. Seeking the Money rallied on the rail for the place spot, followed by Heavyweight Champ another half-length back in third. The winner covered six furlongs in 1:10.55 and paid $10.40, $5.40, and $4. Seeking the Money went off at nearly 15-1 and paid $10 and $5.20 for the place and show.
The win was the third in stakes company for Buster's Daydream. On June 30 he won the grade III Tremont at Belmont for owners S.J. Bee Stable and trainer Timothy Tullock Jr.
Buster's Daydream was bred in Kentucky by Lucy Bassett. He is a son of Housebuster, who now stands in Japan. His dam is the Believe It mare Daydream. He was a $38,000 purchase at the Keeneland September yearling sale. His earnings now total $193,875.
"I think he has probably established himself today (as one of the top two-year-olds)," saidTullock. "This is my first stakes win in Saratoga and it feels really good. One of the owners, Steve Barbarino Jr., had been reading the papers and didn't think we were getting enough respect. And I thought the same thing, but I wasn't going to worry about it. To me, it was surprising that he was 4-1. For horses that break their maiden, it's a tough call to go into stakes races, especially here at Saratoga. I wasn't concerned about the wet track when I heard the rain at three in the morning. I thought he would be fine. He's trained well over the slop and he might actually be better over a wet track."
Even-money favorite Proud Citizen and eventual third-place finisher Heavyweight Champ had bad starts.
"He was stepping back at the start. Jerry (Bailey) was yelling, `No, no no!,' but they sprung the latch and he got off slow," said D. Wayne Lukas of Proud Citizen, who ran fifth, beating only one horse. "Obviously, with a wet track, you want to break well and be right up there. He's better than that."
Heavyweight Champ, breaking from the rail, simply had too much to do.
"I told John (Velazquez) in the paddock that the one horse (Heavyweight Champ) had to be committed to the lead, but he just broke his maiden and he was stuck on the rail," Tullock said. "The fast start we had became very important when the one horse didn't break."
Trainer Mike Hushion was pleased with New York-bred Seeking The Money's finish in his second career effort.
"I'm happy with his second-place finish," said trainer Mike Hushion. "This race was a huge move for him after just coming out of a restricted maiden special for New York-breds. His sister, Seeking Regina, did the same thing last year in the Schuylerville. The only difference was that Seeking Regina didn't break her maiden at this point. I'm going to see how he comes out of this race before I decide what to do next."
Although he is undecided about Buster's Daydream's next outing, Tullock figures to skip the grade II, $150,000 Saratoga Special at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 15.