Michael J. Bruder's Quick Wit returns to the grass in the Sept. 2 Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) after winning an off-the-turf running of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 10 at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Dale Romans, the 3-year-old son of Sharp Humor took the Hall of Fame by a nose over Csaba following his close-up fifth-place finish in the July 14 American Derby (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
Romans has a slew of good sophomores that perform well on the grass, and Quick Wit was the one who found his way to the 1 1/8-mile Saranac, race nine on an 11-race card. The turf event for 3-year-old runners is immediately followed by the $300,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) for juvenile fillies.
"It's been complicated, which is why I had to run three in the Secretariat (gr. IT) at Arlington," Romans said, "but there is a lot of good racing for these 3-year-olds, so I've been able to split them up a little."
Of Quick Wit, a winner of three of 10 starts and the 4-1 third choice in the Saranac, Romans said: "He's been a dirt horse and he's just turned a turf horse, and he can still run on the dirt. He's just getting good now. It doesn't matter. He can go either way."
Quick Wit leaves post 6 under Rajiv Maragh carrying 117 pounds.
The 2-1 favorite on the morning line is Team Valor International's Lucky Chappy, second by a length last time out to another Romans runner, Silver Max , in the July 21 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) at Colonial Downs. The Graham Motion-trained son of High Chaparral is winless in six starts in North America though a stakes winner in Milan in 2011. Lucky Chappy has raced competitively with runner-up finishes in the Kitten's Joy Stakes and the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) this year.
The Virginia Derby was his first start following a seventh-place finish in the U.A.E. Derby Sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II) March 31. Alan Garcia rides from the rail as part of a 119-pound impost.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will run Bluegrass Hall's Skyring, who has competed just twice on the grass, winning the James W. Murphy by a neck on Preakness Day and finishing third by a neck in the American Derby behind the Romans-trained Cozzetti.
"That's where he belongs and where his best races have been," said Lukas of Skyring, 6-1 on the morning line. "This is one of the last 3-year-old grass races left."
Skyring breaks from post 10 under Joel Rosario as the 121-pound highweight in the field.
Multiple stakes-placed Canadian runner Excaper will ship in from Woodbine. The Exchange Rate colt ran second in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) and recently won a one-mile Woodbine turf allowance by 2 1/2 lengths. Emma-Jayne Wilson rides the Ian Black trainee, who races for Richard S. Kaster and Frederick C. Wieting. Carrying 117 pounds, he is 5-1 on the morning line.
Gerald and Susan Kresa's New York-bred dual stakes winner King Kreesa, off a neck second to Sportswriter in the Aug. 8 New York Stallion Series Stakes, drew post 4 under 119 pounds including Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. The son of King Kugat has been first or second in five of six starts since breaking his maiden in April at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Set the Sail, trained by Charlie Lopresti for Elisabeth Alexander, is a lightly-raced son of Mizzen Mast who ran second by a half-length last time out in a July 23 one-mile turf allowance at the Spa. The colt came off his maiden victory at Churchill Downs; he won by a neck in his third try and will carry 117 pounds. Julien Leparoux rides from post 8 at 10-1 on the morning line.
Spring to the Sky, who was third behind Summer Front in the July 22 Duluth at Saratoga for Bruce Brown, breaks from post 9 with Javier Castellano. The Langfuhr colt races for Anthony McCarthy but has not won since breaking his maiden in September 2011 at Belmont. He has been given morning line odds of 12-1, as has the Tom Bush-trained Unbridled Command.
Unbridled Command, a New York-bred son of Master Command, comes in off back-to-back allowance scores, the latest by a half-length Aug. 1 at Saratoga. Ramon Dominguez rides from the 3 hole; Unbridled Command carries 117 pounds.
Shkspeare Shaliyah and Starforce complete the field at 20-1; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Politicallycorrect was entered for the main track only and would break from the far outside for trainer Wesley Ward.
$150,000 Saranac Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 5:22 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Lucky Chappy (IRE), A. Garcia, 119, H G Motion, 2-1
2. Starforce (KY), J.R. Velazquez, 117, M Nihei, 20-1
3. Unbridled Command (NY), R.A. Dominguez, 117, T M Bush, 12-1
4. King Kreesa (NY), I. Ortiz, Jr., 119, J C Englehart, 8-1
5. Excaper (KY), E. Wilson, 117, I Black, 5-1
6. Quick Wit (KY), R. Maragh, 117, D L Romans, 4-1
7. Shkspeare Shaliyah (FL), E. Castro, 119, D Shivmangal, 20-1
8. Set the Sail (KY), J.R. Leparoux, 117, C Lopresti, 10-1
9. Spring to the Sky (KY), J. Castellano, 117, B R Brown, 12-1
10. Skyring (KY), J. Rosario, 121, D W Lukas, 6-1
Main track Only
11. Politicallycorrect (KY), TBA, 116, W A Ward, 5-2