Prince Arch Heads Closing-Day Saranac Field

(from Saratoga report)
Trainer Ken McPeek hopes to close the 136th Saratoga Race Course meet on a winning note when he ships Prince Arch from Kentucky for the $100,000-added Saranac Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at 1 3/16-mile on the turf.

Prince Arch, who carries top weight of 123 pounds, has not raced since finishing third behind Kitten's Joy, who is one of the leading 3-year-old grass runners, and the highly regarded Artie Schiller in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs in July.

Prince Arch made up 10½-lengths after trailing extremely early through the first quarter in that race. McPeek suggested his horse's performance was far from what he had seen in previous races -- especially since he had beaten Kitten's Joy in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.

"He really ran flat in that race," McPeek said. "I think it came down to him constantly running hard against Kitten's Joy and Artie Schiller. We thought it was the right thing to give him some time off since he really hasn't rested last November."

Purchased for $37,000 by Raymond Cottrell Sr., Prince Arch had a spotty 2-year-old season as McPeek waited for the opportunity to race him on the turf.

"The blinkers have really helped him," McPeek said. "At the same time, he's also improving physically. At first, he was a big, clumsy horse. He's still big, but he's much stronger and far from clumsy."

Since running on the turf, Prince Arch has won three of eight races for $341,026. He has a victory in the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland and finished second in the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the American Turf Stakes (both gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.

Mustanfar and Good Reward exit the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (gr. IIT) with respective second and third-place finishes to Artie Schiller, who passed this race for the $200,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) on Sept. 26 at Belmont Park, where he may be facing Kitten's Joy.

Mustanfar is the only other graded stakes winner in the field after being placed first in the Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont for Shadwell Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Lexington was also the first grass victory in four attempts for Mustanfar.

Bred by owner Ogden Mills Phipps from leading sire Storm Cat and multiple grade I winner Heavenly Prize, Good Reward makes his sixth consecutive grass start and seeks his third career victory for trainer Claude "Shug" McGaughey, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last month.

$100,000-added Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT), 3-year-olds, 1 3/16 miles (turf)
1. Prince Arch, Kenneth McPeek, Javier Castellano, 123
2. Good Reward, Claude McGaughey III, Jose Santos, 115
3. Grand Heritage, William Mott, Shane Sellers, 117
4. Catch the Glory, John Terranova II, Jorge Chavez, 115
5. Dynamite Flyer, Sanna Hendriks, Richard Migliore, 117
6. Mustanfar, Kiaran McLaughlin, Cornelio Velasquez, 121