Green Lantern Stables' A. P. Indian has tactical speed, a good post, and sports the best last-out Equibase Speed Figure, which gives him the edge July 30 in Saratoga's Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I). The Vanderbilt, worth $350,000, goes as race nine (5:40 p.m.) at the Spa, one race before the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds.
The spread in the weights in the six-furlong Vanderbilt is minimal—119 to 115—among the eight entrants, as is experience over the track. Holy Boss , winner of last year's 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) and 2014 maiden winner Requite (second in the Amsterdam) are the only runners with victories over the main track.
A 6-year-old homebred gelding by Indian Charlie—Ender's Sister, by A.P. Indy, A. P. Indian battled hard for a head score over Marking July 9 in the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. III). He earned a 119 Equibase fig in the stakes, his third win in as many starts in 2016. In his seasonal bow in mid-May he was second to Delta Bluesman in Monmouth Park's Decathlon Stakes, but was put up via disqualification.
A.P. Indian drew post 4, one slot outside of Monster Racing Stables' Delta Bluesman. The 6-year-old gelding by Wagon Limit bounced back from his DQ to wire an allowance optional claiming race at Monmouth, then shipped south to wire the field in the grade II Smile Sprint Stakes July 2 at Gulfstream Park. The Vanderbilt will be his 44th career start, with six coming in New Jersey and the rest in South Florida.
Trainer Jorge Navarro has a pair for the Vanderbilt in Chublicious and Catalina Red. David Gruskos' Chublicious has won four of six since being gelded in July 2015. A hot pace set up his win last time out in Monmouth's Mr. Prospector Stakes June 26 that came in a swift 1:08.68 for six furlongs.
In post 2 is the swift Catalina Red, a surprise winner over Calculator and Kobe's Back on Derby Day in Louisville in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II). Clear a length that day going seven furlongs, he was fourth last time out in Belmont's True North Stakes (gr. II) at the Vanderbilt distance.
Third in the True North was Holy Boss, who was fifth in the Churchill Downs. Jerry Durant's 4-year-old son of Street Boss is winless since last year's Amsterdam but has raced exclusively in graded company and ran behind male sprint champion Runhappy three times.
Perhaps not as accomplished at the trip but a danger nonetheless is Alto Racing's Anchor Down , winner of the grade III Westchester in May and was second to Frosted last time out in the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I).
The last Vanderbilt winner to go on to win the Eclipse Award was Speightstown in 2004.