Team D's Big Trouble, easy 4 1/2-length debut maiden winner Belmont Park, won the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course by a neck over Mr. Z to remain undefeated in two starts July 19 (VIDEO).
Sixth at the start in a field of eight 2-year-olds, 11-1 shot Big Trouble was rated well off the pace inside by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. as Chocolate Wildcat raced up to get a quarter in :21.65, then faded while 122-pound highweight Cinco Charlie took over to get the half in :45.17.
Cinco Charlie held the advantage through five eighths in :57.56, but Big Trouble was rolling into contention after a three-wide run. Mr. Z was also on the move four-wide in tandem with the eventual winner after being steadied over the heels of Bessie's Boy around the five-sixteenths pole. But despite finishing with good determination, Cinco Charlie was not able to stave off Big Trouble's courageous closing run.
A 2-year-old son of Tiz Wonderful trained by Tony Dutrow, Big Trouble completed the six-furlong contest in 1:10.64 on a fast track.
Purchased for $230,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, Big Trouble debuted with a front-running tally at 1-5 odds going five furlongs June 1 at Belmont.
"I told Irad that he breaks very good and to give this horse a chance to run good," said Dutrow. "So I didn't know what was going to happen, but I'm so happy that this boy was able to do something different than his maiden win against some nice horses today. For him to be completely different than he was in his first race, and only having one racing experience, I have to feel really good about his future."
The Sept. 1 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) may be in Big Trouble's future, according to Dutrow.
"Obviously right now the Hopeful makes sense," said Dutrow. "We haven't given him a lot of time from January 1 until now, so I might wait until Belmont, but certainly he'll be nominated to the Hopeful."
The winner returned $25.60, $10, and $5.60 while Mr. Z brought $11.20 and $6.10 and was part of a hefty $245 exacta. Cinco Charlie paid $3.50, while 8-5 favorite Nonna's Boy, Silverhill, Less Than Perfect, Bessie's Boy, and Chocolate Wildcat completed the order of finish. Souper Colossal scratched.
Bred in Kentucky by Columbiana Farm out of the Najran mare Silver Lullaby, Big Trouble now has two wins with earnings of $235,000. Big Trouble received a New York Racing Association bonus of $100,000 awarded to any 2-year-old who has won a maiden race at Belmont or Aqueduct Racetrack and goes on to win a graded stakes at Saratoga.