After Market Puts Unbeaten Streak On Line

(from Saratoga report)
After Market puts his unbeaten record on the line in the $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Breeder's Cup (gr. IIT) at nine furlongs on the Saratoga turf Monday.

After Market has won his first three starts, all on turf. Trainer Bill Mott is not a stranger to training exceptional grass horses, and in After Market, he has one that was born to be a star. He is a son of Storm Cat out of the Rahy mare Tranquility Lake.

Earlier Monday, retired trainer Carl Hanford, retired jockey Bill Boland, and 1972 champion turf horse Cougar II will receive Thoroughbred racing's greatest honor, induction into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. 

The prowess of Storm Cat's offspring is legendary and Tranquility Lake was a grade I winner multiple times on the turf. But, somewhat surprisingly, After Market paid a very generous $20 when he won his debut last fall at Aqueduct. Even Mott has been caught a little off-guard at his colt's immediate success.

"I have been pleasantly surprised with how he has run up to this point," Mott said. "We really didn't know, at that time, that he would turn out to be quite this special."

Making only his third lifetime start, After Market won Belmont's Lexington (gr. IIIT) by a widening 1 1/2 lengths under regular jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

While Tranquility Lake enjoyed most of her success on grass, she was a grade II winner on dirt. It's a fact not lost on Mott.

"We have discussed trying him on dirt," Mott said, "but right now, he's done everything we have asked of him, so we will keep going with the turf."

After Market's main challenge should come from Brilliant, who has been nothing short of that in his three turf starts.

Trained by Neil Howard, Brilliant has been a different horse since being switched to the grass earlier this spring. A son of Breeder's Cup Mile winner War Chant out of the Known Fact mare Fairest, turf was always in Brilliant's future.

"He was never a bad horse on the dirt, but the turf has certainly moved him up," Howard said. "We always wanted to get him on the turf, but there is no turf racing at Oaklawn, so we had to wait until he got to Churchill. He's got a lot of turf pedigree, especially on the dam's side."

Brilliant won all three of his starts over Churchill's turf course, culminating with a victory in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT).

Leading trainer Todd Pletcher will be represented by Peachtree Stable's Manchu Prince, who rallied for fourth last time out in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) at Colonial Downs.

A deep closer, Manchu Prince figures to be closer to the projected soft pace and could offer a nice alternative to the two favorites.

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT), Race 8, 4:47 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Galantas (KY), 115, Rafael Bejarano
2. After Market (KY), 122, Cornelio Velasquez
3. Spider Power (IRE), 117, Jose Santos
4. Manchu Prince (KY), 117, John Velazquez
5. Sir Classic Chris (KY), 115, Julien Leparoux
6. Jade's Revenge (KY), 115, Edgar Prado
7. Green Lemon (KY), 115, Kent Desormeaux
8. Brilliant (KY), 122, Robby Albarado
Main Track Only
9. Cotton King (KY), 115, (No Rider)