August 12, seven juvenile colts will take the next steps in their young careers and will perhaps go on to greater glory in the 107th edition of the $200,000 Special, a 6 1/2-furlong test that will be telecast along with the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies on NBC Sports Network from 6-7 p.m. EDT.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won two editions of the Adirondack and will saddle 2-5 morning line favorite Kauai Katie in this year's edition of that event, will be trying for his first win in the Saratoga Special as he doubles up with Starlight Racing's Shanghai Bobby and Drum Roll, who races for Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan's Holiday, broke his maiden April 19 going 4 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack. Two months later he added the 5 1/2-furlong Track Barron overnight stakes at Belmont Park to his resume.
"Shanghai Bobby got started very early," said Pletcher. "We found over the years that a lot of times our most successful horses are the first ones ready. I suppose it just speaks to their natural ability and talent level, their professionalism, and those kinds of things that ultimately make a lot of them good."
Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Shanghai Bobby, who drew post position 6 as the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Drum Roll, a maiden winner July 8 at Monmouth Park, is 5-1 on the morning line and will leave from post 7 under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.
The 5-2 second choice on the morning line is Spurious Precision, a good-looking winner first time out at the Spa July 21. With Alan Garcia aboard, the High Cotton colt sat just off the pace and pulled clear through the stretch to win by 3 1/2 lengths, earning a 91 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.
"It's a little bit quick back, not ideal, but he's doing very well," trainer Rick Violette remarked of the turnaround for Spurious Precision, who carries the colors of Klaravich Stables. "Some of the horses in the race have beaten nice horses, and others, we don't know what we've beaten. We have an opportunity to run here, and if the stars align, look ahead to a race like the Champagne (gr. I). Plans are great, but you've got to get to 'square one,' and 'square one' is Sunday."
Garcia will be back aboard Spurious Precision, who drew post position 3.
Rounding out the field, from the rail out, are Chester and Mary Broman Sr.'s In Harm's Way for trainer Mike Hushion, Magdalena Racing's He's So Fine, saddled by Ken McPeek, the Tony Dutrow-trained Southern Honor racing for Bill and Vicki Poston, and Debmar Stables' Dan the Tin Man for trainer Ricky Griffith.
$200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II, Race 11, approximate post 6:46 p.m. EDT), 2YOs, 6 1/2 furlongs (dirt)