The Sullimar Stable homebred was a front-running winner of the Makers Mark Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland April 15 and the nine-furlong Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs May 7. He has not raced since a third-place finish in the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIIT) June 12. Originally pointed for the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) July 31, which he won a year ago, the 5-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic came up with a minor tendon issue and was forced to miss the race.
“We trained him up to the Fourstardave with all intentions of running and then suddenly we weren’t able to run,” said trainer Tom Bush. “We had to add another four weeks to his layoff time and you always have to be concerned at this level of competition that he’s going to be a little lacking in conditioning. He’s coming off a 12-week layoff and he’s got to go a mile and an eighth. He’s got his work cut out for him, but he’s run exceptionally well up here in the past and he’s been pretty sharp, so hopefully he can give us another good one.”
The 122-pound high weight and 3-1 morning-line favorite, Get Stormy drew post 11 under Ramon Dominguez. He won the Bernard Baruch by 2 3/4 lengths in 2010, one of four career victories over the Saratoga turf course. A couple of them came over soft ground, though the weather looks pretty good in Saratoga Springs throughout the week.
Returning to the turf after a pair of impressive efforts on dirt is Stuart Janney III’s Hymn Book, winner of an off-the-turf running of the Three Coins Up overnight stakes at Belmont May 19. He went on to finish second to Flat Out in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II) July 2. Briefly considered for the Whitney Handicap (gr. I), trainer Shug McGaughey ultimately decided to put Hymn Book back on grass, over which he has a record of 3-2-0 from six starts.
“I just didn’t think the Whitney fit him,” McGaughey said of the 5-year-old Arch gelding. “The racetrack was playing so much speed then and even though he showed some speed at Belmont, he never really had showed that speed before. I always thought he liked the grass better; he might prove me wrong on Friday. I’ve got plenty of respect for (Get Stormy), but he’s had a couple little incidents and sometimes when that happens you might catch him. He’s beat me a couple of times, so maybe it’s my turn.”
John Velazquez has the return call aboard Hymn Book, and the pair will break from post 8 as the 4-1 morning-line second choice carrying 115 pounds.
The second- through sixth-place finishers from the Fourstardave have all entered to run back in the Bernard Baruch. In that race, Sidney’s Candy led from gate to wire and was tracked by Moryba and Beau Choix, who maintained those positions all the way around to finish second and third.
New shooters for the Bernard Baruch include the internationally-bred pair of Loup Breton and Interaction. Also in the mix are Baryshnikov, third in Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT) July 31, and Boots Ahead, who defeated Loup Breton July 28 in his most recent outing.
$200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Interaction (ARG), C H Velasquez, 115, C Clement
2. Turallure (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, C Lopresti
3. Paris Vegas (KY), A O Solis, 115, T H Voss
4. Beau Choix (KY), J Lezcano, 115, B Tagg
5. Baryshnikov (KY), C J Lanerie, 115, M J Maker
6. Boots Ahead (KY), E Castro, 115, G Weaver
7. Blues Street (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, T A Pletcher
8. Hymn Book (KY), J R Velazquez, 115, C R McGaughey III
9. Loup Breton (IRE), J Castellano, 116, T A Pletcher
10. Moryba (BRZ), R Maragh, 116, W I Mott
11. Get Stormy (KY), R A Dominguez, 122, T M Bush