El Deal wins the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course July 29

El Deal wins the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course July 29

Coglianese Photos

Swift El Deal Heads Vosburgh

Jorge Navarro-trained horse cruised in the July 29 Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1).

El Deal, Al and Michelle Crawford Racing's lightning-quick 5-year-old riding a three-race win streak, figures to be the one to catch in Belmont Park's Sept. 30 Vosburgh Stakes (G1). The bay's last outing was an eight-length tour de force at Saratoga Race Course in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) July 29.

The six-furlong $350,000 Vosburgh, which goes as race seven on the program (4:04 p.m.), is one of three grade 1s on the day joined by the Beldame Stakes and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes.

Despite being a prep and a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), the last horse to take the pair was Artax in 1999.

Trained by Jorge Navarro, El Deal has evolved from stakes contender to a winner at the highest level since this spring. The 121 Equibase Speed Figure he posted at the Spa is heads above any put up by his six rivals.

"I always believed he was a nice horse and he's shown it," Navarro said. "Training after the race up to now, he's been pretty good. I can't complain about anything. Do I think he ran against the best sprinters in the nation (in the Vanderbilt)? Nope. He's still got to show up on Saturday, and if he shows up on Saturday, I think he'll be there. He's running against some good horses there too. There are some nice 3-year-olds that are developing into nice horses."

Bred in Kentucky by Marty Buckner, El Deal is by Munnings  out of Spirit of Wailea, by Out of Place. He's an impressive seven of 11 at the distance and will have Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano up from post 2.

His main rival on the front end should be Shadwell Stable's homebred Takaful, a 3-year-old son of Bernardini  trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. Given the spring off after a pair of less-than-stellar efforts beyond a mile, Takaful was shortened up to six furlongs in an allowance test July 21 at Saratoga and whistled by 5 1/4 lengths under Jose Ortiz. The pair then set the pace and hung on well in deep stretch for second against multiple grade 1 winner Practical Joke  in the seven-panel H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

"Obviously, he's a sprinter. We tried to stretch out in the Remsen and a few other races. Once we turned him back, he ran huge opening day at Saratoga," said McLaughlin. "He ran a monster race over a slow track. We went to the H. Allen Jerkens and he ran a great race. No excuses, he was just second best. The winner was that good. But, the turnback from seven to six is great for us, but it is 3-and-up this time and we have a lot of respect for the other horses here. Especially El Deal, he's very fast. We'll see what happens but he's doing great."

Takaful broke his maiden in his first outing last October over "Big Sandy" by eight lengths.

McLaughlin also trains New York-bred Celtic Chaos, who exits a third-place finish behind T Loves a Fight and Vosburgh runner Weekend Hideaway Aug. 24 at Saratoga. The 4-year-old son of Dublin makes his graded stakes debut.

Red and Black Stable's Weekend Hideaway was third in last year's Vosburgh behind Joking and Stallwalkin' Dude.

Stallwalkin' Dude, a 7-year-old gelding by City Place has the rail in the Vosburgh and a 4-3-2 mark in 12 Belmont appearances. This will mark his sixth start since a March trip to Dubai for the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (G1) in which he finished sixth behind Mind Your Biscuits. He tired last time out in the grade 1 Forego Stakes, finishing eighth behind champion Drefong.

Entries: Vosburgh S. (G1)

Belmont Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 7

  • Grade I
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $350,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 4:04 PM (local)
11Stallwalkin' Dude (FL)Joe Bravo124David Jacobson8/1
22El Deal (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano124Jorge Navarro6/5
33Green Gratto (NJ)Kendrick Carmouche124Gaston Grant20/1
44Takaful (KY)Jose L. Ortiz122Kiaran P. McLaughlin5/1
55Mr. Crow (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez122Todd A. Pletcher2/1
66Celtic Chaos (NY)Eric Cancel124Kiaran P. McLaughlin20/1
77Weekend Hideaway (NY)Manuel Franco124Philip M. Serpe15/1