Finale Tops Summer Stakes Cast
The son of Scat Daddy went wire-to-wire in the Aug. 20 Continental Mile at Monmouth Park in his stakes debut and will face seven 2-year-old rivals in the one-mile turf event. He is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won this race last year with Pluck and used it as a springboard to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT), which he also won. The Summer Stakes will once again earn the winner a berth to the Breeders’ Cup in November at Churchill Downs.
Also on Woodbine’s Saturday program is the $200,000 Natalma Stakes (Can-IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies going one mile on the turf, with the winner receiving a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT). A field of 13 was drawn.
Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s Finale is the lone stakes winner in the Summer Stakes. The colt was well-beaten in the first two dirt starts of his career, but has romped in both of his starts since Pletcher switched him to turf. The dark bay/brown colt, who was a $175,000 buy at the Keeneland November 2009 breeding stock sale, rolled by 5 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight sprint on the Belmont turf course in July.
Pletcher, who also won this race in 2002 and 2004, has assigned top rider John Velazquez to ride Finale, who is out of the Lively One mare Twinkle. Finale was bred in Kentucky by Susan Bunning.
Trainer Sid Attard has entered a pair of locals. Jim Lawson’s Jomelo was a maiden winner on the Woodbine turf Aug. 4 at third asking, while Norseman Racing Stable’s Maritimer won his debut in July on the Polytrack and has been runner-up in his last two, including the state-bred Vandal Stakes.
An impressive maiden winner in his debut was Ian Black trainee Excaper, who drew off by 3 1/4 lengths Aug. 7 on the Woodbine Polytrack. The son of Exchange Rate is a homebred for Richard and Nancy Kaster.
Wayne Catalano and Steve Asmussen, both trainers who have a lot of success with juveniles, have entered Burn the Mortgage and Daddy Nose Best, respectively. Burn the Mortgage rallied from way back to win a maiden turf race at Arlington Park Aug. 13, while Daddy Nose Best also came from well back to score on the Saratoga turf Aug. 27.
In the Natalma, trainer Mark Casse has entered four fillies—Evil Kitten, Quality Lass, Sky Dreamer, and Spirited Miss. Sky Dreamer and Spirited Miss were both debut turf winners, Evil Kitten won a maiden claiming race decisively on Polytrack, while Quality Lass romped by seven lengths Aug. 6 over the Polytrack. Casse won the Natalma in 2006 and 2007.
Pletcher will send out St Pancras, who won a two-turn turf race at Saratoga last month.
Trainer Brian Lynch will saddle Ten K Cat, a local winner in her last start. Lynch won the race in 2009 with Bay to Bay.
$200,000 Natalma (Can-IIIT, Race 6, 3:32 p.m.), 2YO Fillies, 1 Mile (Turf)
$250,000 Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT, Race 9, 5:10 p.m.), 2YO, 1 Mile (Turf)
Copyright © 2013 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.