A talented cast of seven older males are looking to add a grade I victory to their resumes when they contend in the Aug. 8 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga. The six-furlong sprint, which is highlighted by millionaires and previous grade I victors Gayego and Bribon, is the ninth race on the card and is slated for 5:30 p.m.
Gayego, who came from off the pace to capture last year’s Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, will enter the Vanderbilt off a third-place effort in the July 10 Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.
The 5-year-old son of Gilded Time, who is trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin Racing, boasts a career record of 7-4-1 from 17 starts. He will be ridden by jockey Alan Garcia in the Vanderbilt. Bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton and Sandra Sexton, Gayego has two other graded/group victories under his belt, one of which came in Dubai.
French-bred Bribon scored in the 2009 Shadwell Metropolitan Mile (gr. I) for owner Marc Keller and trainer Ribaudo. Now owned by Derrick Smith and trained by Todd Pletcher, Bribon has made just three starts this year, but the 7-year-old son of Mark of Esteem has been in top form, running a close second in the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup in March, and winning the June 5 True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
In all, he has won or placed in 22 or 33 starts. Garrett Gomez, who rode Bribon to victory in the True North, will again be in the irons in the Vanderbilt.
Other graded stakes winners Big Drama and Mambo Meister also figure to be factors in the Vanderbilt. While versatile Mambo Meister took the April 25 Miami Mile Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the May 31 Memorial Day Handicap at Calder, Big Drama bested his rival by 1 1/2 lengths in the Smile Spring Handicap (gr. II) at the Florida track last out July 10.
Gayego, Bribon, and Big Drama are co-highweighted in the Vanderbilt at 120 pounds.
$250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (gr. I, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, six furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Gayego, A Garcia, 120, S bin Suroor, 4-1
2. Mambo Meister, M R Cruz, 117, P A Gleaves, 12-1
3. Temecula Creek, C H Velasquez, 113, R R Rodriguez, 20-1
4. Big Drama, E Coa, 120, D Fawkes, 3-1
5. Majesticperfection, S Bridgmohan, 116, S M Asmussen, 3-1
6. Bribon, G K Gomez, 120, T A Pletcher, 5-2
7. Smokey Fire, J Castellano, 116, S C Attard, 8-1