Offlee Wild, winner of the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park in his last start, will face just five rivals Sunday in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at the Spa. With Edgar Prado back up, the son of Wild Again will tote high weight of 118 pounds.
The 10-furlong Saratoga Breeders' Cup has been the main target for Offlee Wild since his win in the 1 1/4-mile Suburban. Trained by Richard Dutrow, Offlee Wild is the stablemate of the handicap division leader Saint Liam who ran second to Commentator in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 6. Both runners are being pointed toward the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Owned by AZ Azalea Stables, Offlee Wild has won two-turn graded stakes at 3, 4, and this year as a 5-year-old. Off since winning the Mass 'Cap (gr. II) last June, Offlee Wild kicked off the 2005 campaign with a neck loss in the John Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Feb. 19. He came back to smoke his rivals by 8 1/2 lengths in the nine-furlong Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct. Over a sealed track at Pimlico, he ran an uncharacteristic sixth in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) before winning the Surburban by 1 1/4 lengths in 2:00.50.
Out of the Seattle Slew mare Alvear, Offlee Wild was a $325,000 purchase out of the 2001 Keeneland September sale.
He tuned up for the Saratoga BC with a six furlong drill in 1:17.67 on Aug. 12.
The Surburban runner-up, Tap Day, will try to turn the tables on Sunday. Edward Evans' homebred 4-year-old son of Pleasant Tap
--Day Mate, by Dayjur
has won a pair of minor stakes this year in the form of the 1 1/16-miles Budweiser Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the Frisk Me Now Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Trained by Mark Hennig, Tap Day will be ridden by Eibar Coa, who was aboard for his closing effort at Belmont Park.
Always a threat is Evening Attire, the 7-year-old son of Black Tie Affair
and the race's defending champion. Last year, the Pat Kelly-trained gelding topped Funny Cide by five lengths in 2:00.83. Evening Attire is coming off a third-place effort in an optional-claiming allowance over the track Aug. 4.
Evening Attire is owned by Joseph and Mary Grant and Thomas J. Kelly. He as earned nearly $2.4 million while compiling a 11-12-4 record from 42 starts.
Breaking from the outside post is the well-bred Suave. The son of A.P. Indy
out of the grade I-winning Citidancer
mare Urbane, is trained by Paul McGee and is homebred for the Jay Em Ess Stable of the Siegel family. He 4-year-old won a one-mile optional-claiming allowance race at Arlington July 23 in his seasonal debut.Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), $250,000, 1 1/4 miles, 3-year-olds and up, Saratoga, Sunday, Aug. 21, approx. post 5:20 p.m. EDT
PP- Horse - Wgt. - Jockey
1 - Evening Attire - 114 - Cornelio Velasquez
2 - Royal Assault - 113 - Gary Stevens
3 - Billy Allen - 114 - Jose Santos
4 - Tap Day - 115 - Eibar Coa
5 - Offlee Wild - 118 - Edgar Prado
6 - Suave - 114 - John Velazquez