Stakes Winners Clash in Saratoga's Sanford
Unlike many 2-year-old stakes these days that are nothing more than non-winners of two events, the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. III) July 19 at Saratoga Race Course pits two undefeated stakes winners in Bessie's Boy, who took the Tremont at Belmont Park, and Cinco Charlie, impressive in the Bashford Manor (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Bessie’s Boy, owned by Ice Wine Stable and trained by 2-year-old guru Wesley Ward, is bred for speed, being by Smoke Glacken out of a Meadowlake mare. He has run to his pedigree, breaking his maiden going 4 1/2 furlongs at Pimlico Race Course before demolishing his field by six lengths in the June 20 Tremont at 5 1/2 furlongs. The bay gelding stretches out a bit more in the six-furlong Sanford, a race with a long, rich history that has served as a launching pad for two Triple Crown winners—Secretariat and Affirmed.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Charles Zacney of Afleet Alex fame, Bessie’s Boy gets an unusual jockey switch, going from John Velazquez to Frankie Dettori. Velazquez will ride Todd Pletcher’s impressive maiden winner Nonna's Boy in the nine-horse field.
Cinco Charlie, owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt and bred in Kentucky by Candyland Farm, ships in from Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen. The son of Indian Charlie also broke his maiden going 4 1/2 furlongs, but won the Bashford Manor at six furlongs June 28 and boasts a speed figure advantage over Bessie's Boy. The colt won both his starts on the front end under Shaun Bridgmohan, who is back aboard.
He drew post 9, with Bessie’s Boy nearby in post 7.
Even though both these horses have already succeeded in stakes company, it must be noted that six of the nine horses entered are coming off a victory, none more impressive than Nonna’s Boy’s 5 1/2-length score in the mud at Belmont June 13. The son of Distorted Humor out of Nonna Mia, by Empire Maker is owned and bred by Repole Stable. Nonna Mia broke her maiden by 12 lengths wire-to-wire before finishing third in the grade I Frizette Stakes for Repole, and apparently has passed on her speed to her first offspring.
Flanked by the two stakes winners in post 8, Nonna’s Boy has already had three works at Saratoga, including a five-furlong drill in :59 2/5 July 7.
The other first-out winners in the race are the Tony Dutrow-trained Big Trouble, a four-length winner at Belmont June 1; Souper Colossal, a winner at Monmouth going 4 1/2 furlongs who should appreciate the stretch-out for Eddie Plesa Jr.; and Mr. Z, a D. Wayne Lukas-trained son of Malibu Moon who scored a game victory going six furlongs at Churchill Downs.
The race also has attracted the runners-up in both the Tremont Stakes and Bashford Manor, Chocolate Wildcat and Silverhill, respectively. The latter is a Texas-bred who broke his maiden at Lone Star Park after breaking slowly.
Rounding out the field is the Clyde Rice-owned and Kevin Rice-trained Less Than Perfect, who will be making his first start on dirt, having run over synthetics at Presque Isle Downs and Woodbine, where he was last of five in the Victoria Stakes.
The Sanford, race 7 on the Saturday card with a 4:10 p.m. EDT approximate post, is being contested as a grade III event for the first time since 1998.
Saratoga Race Course , Saturday, July 19, 2014, Race 7
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