Soldat Looks for Second Graded Win in Pilgrim
The top two finishers in the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga return to face each other again in another 1 1/16-mile test on the grass for juveniles. Soldat and Powhatan County are the leading contenders among nine horses entered in the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.
Soldat, a son of War Front —Le Relais, by Coronado's Quest, won the With Anticipation Stakes by three lengths in a solid 1:41.37. The race was Soldat’s first race on grass and first around two turns. The dark bay/brown colt is owned by Harvey Clarke, who has been racing for 30 years, and W. Craig Robertson III, who is a part owner that is relatively new to racing. Kiaran McLaughlin is the trainer. Soldat will be ridden for the first time by Alan Garcia and comes into the race off a :47 4/5 four-furlong bullet on the Belmont grass.
Powhatan County, by Fusaichi Pegasus —Franscat, by Stormin Fever , will break from the third post with Javier Castellano, who rode the colt in his first two starts. The colt broke his maiden July 10 at Saratoga in a $51,000 1 1/16-mile turf race. Powhatan County is owned by Richlyn Farm and trained by George Weaver.
Another colt coming into the race off a good showing at the distance is Stuart Janney III’s homebred Air Support, trained by Shug McGaughey. The son of Smart Strike —Gaze, by Danzig, finished fourth in the With Anticipation Stakes.
“I wasn’t disappointed in his race at all,” McGaughey said. “He got knocked back, and the course was speed-favoring. It’s going to be different over this course, and I think the softer ground will give him more of a chance to catch up.”
The Pilgrim and, later in the day, the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) for juvenile fillies are both “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) Nov. 6 and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT) Nov. 5, respectively, at Churchill Downs.
The remainder of the Pilgrim field is shown below.
Toner said he doesn’t see his filly’s single start as a disadvantage.
“Usually most of the horses in these races have just broken their maidens,” he said. “We’ll all in the same boat. It’s not like they’ve all run a dozen times—they’re all inexperienced.”
Jose Lezcano has the mount.
The close second-choice in the field is Fancy Point, a daughter of Point Given —Fancy Clancy, by Rahy, who wired the $70,000 P.G. Johnson Stakes on the turf at Saratoga. She will be ridden by Castellano who rode her in the 1 1/16-mile P.G. Johnson. Fancy Point is a homebred of the late George Steinbrenner’s Kinsman Stable and is trained by William Phipps.
“I think she is one of those rare fillies that is amazing on any surface,” Phipps said. “Her action doesn’t change.” Though she was the pace-setter in her previous start, Phipps said he believes the filly won’t have any trouble rating.
“We’ll put her where it makes sense,” he said. “Obviously, we know she has a big turn of foot and can carry off high cruising fractions. We’re lucky she is such a versatile filly.”
The remainder of the Miss Grillo field is listed below.
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