Street Game Favored in Hall of Fame Stakes
Street Game, winner of the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) earlier this summer, was installed as the 8-5 favorite for the $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds Aug. 12 at Saratoga.
A field of seven was drawn for the 1 1/16-mile turf race, which is the feature on Saratoga’s nine-race Friday card. Post time is slated for 4:22 p.m. EDT.
Off an impressive 7 1/4-length victory in the one-mile Hill Prince June 18 at Belmont Park, trainer Philip Serpe ventured into the unknown with Street Game. Trying to go a quarter-mile longer July 16 in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), Street Game set a moderate pace before being caught at the eighth-pole. He finished fifth in the race won by Air Support.
Apprentice jockey Ryan Curatolo regains the mount for Flying Zee Stable on the chestnut son of Street Cry.
“The distance was a question and we also had a change of rider and ended up in a speed duel,” Serpe said of the Virginia Derby effort. “But that’s behind us, and we have another race in front of us. We weren’t 100% sure off pedigree if he’d get the mile and a quarter anyway.”
Street Game enters the Hall of Fame with three wins from seven lifetime starts; the three victories were by a combined 19 lengths. While Street Game is likely the controlling speed in the field of seven, the race has come up with no shortage of talent.
Paul Pompa Jr. and Golden Goose’s Rustler Hustler, a two-time stakes winner exiting a fourth-place finish in the Jersey Derby, makes his first start for Bill Mott. Last summer while trained by Timothy Hamm, Rustler Hustler won the Continental Mile at Monmouth Park, defeating a strong field that included eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) winner Pluck.
In October, racing for Richard Dutrow Jr., he won an overnight turf stakes at the 1 1/16-mile distance at Belmont Park. In the Jersey Derby July 31, Rustler Hustler broke slowly and then had a wide trip before finishing fourth, five lengths behind winner Breathless Storm.
The son of Ecton Park was in steady training at Saratoga before finishing his preparation for the Jersey Derby at Belmont.
“He trained well here early on,” Mott said. “I looked for him to run well in New Jersey, but he got left at the gate and was a little rank. He needs to get out with the rest of the field to give himself a chance.”
Chad Brown enters Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Big Blue Kitten on a four-race winning streak including a recent half-length allowance score July 2 at Belmont. The son of Kitten's Joy , 4-1 on the morning line, began his career running in $35,000 maiden claiming races in Florida and slowly but surely has climbed the ladder with one victory after another.
“He has gradually improved, week to week, month to month,” Brown said. “We gave him an opportunity to come out of the claiming ranks, and he took it. We’re proud of him. He never took any huge steps; he gradually improved. None of his wins are pretty, but he has got a will to win.”
Sagamore Farm will send out Humble and Hungry, third in the Hill Prince last out and eighth last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Benergy, second to multiple graded stakes winner Banned in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs, will run for Zayat Stables and trainer Dale Romans.
Team Valor International’s Crimson China (7-2) won the Lamplighter Stakes in May at Monmouth and was seventh in the Virginia Derby.
Courtland Farms’ Perregaux was third in the Jefferson Cup.
$150,000 Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 7, 4:22 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
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