Troubled Mr. Z Gets Second Chance in Special
by Claire Novak
Date Posted: 8/7/2014 7:23:49 PM
Last Updated: 8/8/2014 8:51:24 AM

Mr. Z (inside) finished second to Big Trouble in the 2014 Sanford Stakes.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Zayat Stables' Mr. Z, runner-up by a neck last time out to Big Trouble in the Sanford Stakes (gr. III), gets a second chance at his first graded stakes win Aug. 10 in the $200,000 Toyota Saratoga Special (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course.

Gaining ground after tracking along mid-pack early in the six-furlong Sanford July 19, Mr. Z had to steady around the five-sixteenths pole to avoid the heels of tiring rival Bessie's Boy. Shifted outward and bulling his way into the four path, the son of Malibu Moon   finished gamely but could not hold off the Tony Dutrow-trained winner after battling to the wire.

NOVAK: Big Trouble Staves Off Mr. Z in Sanford

Corey Lanerie gets the return call from post 3 aboard the D. Wayne Lukas trainee, who is 5-1 on the morning line for the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special. The race co-anchors a 10 race card along with the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies. Both will be covered by The Jockey Club Tour on FOX from 5:00—6:30 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes, and FOX Sports Go.

Mr. Z will face another from Dutrow's barn this time out—Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's I Spent It, the 7-2 morning line favorite and an impressive maiden winner July 2 at Belmont Park.

A few months earlier, the Lieblongs spent $600,000 to purchase the son of 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver   after the colt blazed a furlong in :09 4/5 seconds at the Fasig-Tipton Florida selected sale of 2-year-olds in training. I Spent It became the first winner for his freshman sire.

ANGST: I Spent It First Winner for Super Saver

"He showed obvious talent from the start; we saw his talent, everyone saw his talent, he breezed very fast at the sale," Dutrow said. "When you look at him, he's an outstanding individual. That's what led us to spend a great deal of money on him. Since then, he's continued to show talent that few possess, and I think he's a very good horse."

Dutrow said he has no exact formula for stepping a colt up into a stakes off a single race, albeit an impressive one.

"Some horse trainers are very, very good at evaluating their horses with no starts, one start, and some of us aren't so good at it," he said. "When I feel the way I feel about I Spent It, throughout my career, I've been pretty right about it, because they're very obvious. You know they're good horses. You might not know how good they are, but you know they're good. In I Spent It's case, I feel we have a very, very good horse. And when I feel this way, I have to have confidence in him because I've been right more than I've been wrong."

Javier Castellano will ride I Spent It, the narrow 7-2 morning line pick, from the rail.

Todd Pletcher, who won last year's Saratoga Special with Corfu, will be represented by Nonna's Boy, the 4-1 third choice on the morning line, and Stanford, a 12-1 outsider.

Owned by Mike Repole, Nonna's Boy debuted a 5 1/2-length winner at 1-10 June 13 at Belmont, then finished fourth as the favorite in the Sanford on July 19.

"I thought it was an interesting race for him," Pletcher said of the Sanford. "It showed he could sit off the pace a little bit and make a run. The one thing that (jockey) John (Velazquez) and I talked about after the race is that maybe we have to time our run a little better. He made a big move around the turn and flattened out a little bit. Of course, that was only his second start and I think that experience should help him."

Stanford, owned by Stonestreet Stables, enters the Saratoga Special off a single race, having won at five furlongs June 29 at Monmouth Park.

"He trained at Belmont, we ran him at Monmouth and he ran well first time out," said Pletcher. "The horse that was second to him (Posse Dreamin) came back and won next out, so those are encouraging signs. Hopefully he keeps moving forward. That's the world we live in today. You either run from a maiden to a stake or you stay in the stall."

Velazquez will be back aboard Nonna's Boy, who drew post 6, while Joe Bravo will ride Stanford from post 8.

Third choice at 9-2 on the morning line is Cinco Charlie, who suffered his first defeat in the Sanford when he finished third. The precocious Indian Charlie colt broke his maiden May 9 at Churchill Downs, and returned seven weeks later for another front-running victory, this time in the Bashford Manor (gr. III).

Shaun Bridgmohan will ride the Steve Asmussen trainee from post position 7.

Rounding out the field are the Bret Calhoun-trained W V Jetsetter, winner of the TTA Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park last time out, and recent maiden winners Lord Tyrion, Tizcano, Rod McLeod, Cleveland Sound, and Majestic Affair. Cinco Charlie and W V Jetsetter share co-highweight assignments of 122 pounds; all others carry 118.

Toyota Saratoga Special S. (gr. II)

Saratoga Race Course , Sunday, August 10, 2014, Race 10
  • 6 1/2f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 2 yo
  • 6:04 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWeightTrainer
1I Spent It (KY)Javier Castellano118Anthony W. Dutrow
2Lord Tyrion (KY)Julien R. Leparoux118Ian R. Wilkes
3Mr. Z (KY)Corey J. Lanerie118D. Wayne Lukas
4Tizcano (KY)Cornelio H. Velasquez118Peter Miller
5Rod McLeod (KY)Robby Albarado118Dale L. Romans
6Nonna's Boy (KY)John R. Velazquez118Todd A. Pletcher
7Cinco Charlie (KY)Shaun Bridgmohan122Steven M. Asmussen
8Stanford (KY)Joe Bravo118Todd A. Pletcher
9Cleveland Sound (FL)Irad Ortiz, Jr.118H. Graham Motion
10Majestic Affair (KY)Jose Lezcano118Chad C. Brown
11W V Jetsetter (TX)Joel Rosario122George Weaver



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