Pletcher Eyes 3rd Straight With Anticipation
In 2009, Todd Pletcher saddled Interactif to an eye-catching victory in the $100,000 With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT) in his turf debut, one year after he captured the race with Bittel Road. The leading trainer will have a live chance for the third year in a row when he sends out Sensational Slam in a field of 10 juveniles.
Sensational Slam, a Canadian-bred son of Grand Slam, has won both starts over the synthetic surface at Woodbine and worked well over the turf. The 4-1 morning-line second choice in the 1 1/16-mile turf contest, he broke his maiden in the restricted Clarendon Stakes on July 3, then bounced back to win the restricted Vandal over the same oval on July 31. In both races—run at 5 1/2 and six furlongs, respectively— Sensational Slam stalked the pace and won by narrow margins.
“He’s not eligible to the next Canadian-bred (stake) and we worked him on the turf here the other day and it seemed like he liked it,” said Pletcher, who trains the colt for Bobby Flay. Sensational Slam went five furlongs in 1:01.10 on Aug. 27. “You literally have to ride him every step of the way in sprint races so I think stretching him out would give him an opportunity to sit against the bridle and he’ll probably appreciate that.”
John Velazquez will have the mount on Sensational Slam, who was bred by Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms and is out of the San Romano mare Roman Romance. They will break from post 10.
Favored in the race is Richlyn Farms’ Powhatan County, whom George Weaver sent out to break his maiden over the Saratoga turf at the With Anticipation distance on July 29 when he overcame a wide trip to win by three-quarters of a length. In his most recent start, the Continental Mile (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park, he finished fourth but was placed third via disqualification.
Tabbed at the 3-1 on the morning line, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus again gets the services of Javier Castellano, who was aboard for his maiden victory.
Also proven at the distance and over the Spa course is Stuart S. Janney, III’s Air Support, who won his second start on Aug. 13. The homebred son of Smart Strike was fifth in his first race, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden event on the main track at Belmont Park July 15.
“He had a brother that was good on the turf,” said trainer Shug McGaughey. “He worked fine on the dirt and I was hoping he’d run better on it, then I brought him up here, worked him on the turf, and it was like night and day. One of the things that I liked about his last race was that he was up pretty close to a pretty hot pace and was still able to get up. If the pace is hot, I’d rather he be back a little bit farther.”
Rajiv Maragh will ride the 8-1 morning-line fourth choice from post 4.
Trying the grass for the first time is Lou Brissie, who has won on both dirt and synthetic, breaking his maiden over the Polytrack at Keeneland on April 15 before capturing the Kentucky Juvenile (gr. III) over the main track at Churchill Downs just two weeks later. In the latter race, he defeated impressive maiden winner Boys At Tosconova, who is being pointed toward the Three Chimneys Hopeful (gr. I) on closing day.
“He’s in this race more for the distance, but he also is a horse that the way he moves; he’s a very, very smooth-going type of colt,” said trainer Neil Howard. “His pedigree suggests turf a little bit, and he worked well on it this morning.”
Lou Brissie covered a half-mile over the Oklahoma turf course Aug. 30 in :48.40. The 6-1 co-third choice on the morning line will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez from post 5.
$100,000 With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 6:22 p.m.), 2YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
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