Traditionally, the six-furlong Sapling has paved the way for some outstanding 2-year-olds, including juvenile champion Gilded Time in 1992 and champion sprinter Smoke Glacken in 1996. The main track event is the final graded stakes of the Monmouth meet.
Stuart Grant’s Officer Ipod broke on top and led through a half-mile in the six-furlong Sanford July 24 at Saratoga, but was eventually overtaken by Desert Party. The son of Officer–Ms C D Player, by Boca Rio, did well to hold second in a group of good-looking juveniles.
Bred in Pennsylvania by The Elkstone Group, Officer Ipod broke his maiden at first asking June 29 at Delaware Park for trainer Tony Dutrow. Since the Sanford he has been working steadily at Philadelphia Park. Joe Bravo will ride for the gray colt first time.
Ol Memorial Stable and Clint Glasscock’s Dueling Alex is the other colt to have tried graded stakes competition. After breaking his maiden in his debut at Monmouth in July, the son of Medaglia d'Oro was placed in the Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II). Unfortunately, things did not go too well, as he finished seventh in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint.
“I knew we were in trouble when he drew post two in a 10-horse field of 2-year-olds,” trainer Cam Gambolati said. “When the gate opened, he was trapped down inside forever. It was trap, trap, trap, steady, steady, steady all the way. He never could run.
“I’m chalking it up to a learning experience. He was green going into that race, and maybe he learned something. I hope so.”
Carlos Marquez Jr. will get the call on Dueling Alex.
Wild Proof, Saratoga Storm and Silent Valor were all runaway winners in their maiden special weight efforts last out.
Trained by Ben Perkins Jr., New Farm’s Wild Proof scored by an eye-catching 12 3/4 lengths under Jose Lezcano June 29 at Monmouth. The locally-based colt by Vindication led every step in the five-furlong test, which he completed in :57.75. Lezcano will be aboard once more.
Florida-based Saratoga Storm won by 6 3/4 lengths in his second career start July 19 at Calder Race Course. A son of Storm Cat, he is trained by John Shaw.
Let’s Go Stable’s Silent Valor was second in his debut at Keeneland last spring, but had no problem breaking his maiden next out May 16 at Belmont when he won by more than six lengths in the slop. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Silent Valor has been working at Saratoga. The Lion Heart colt was a $320,000 purchase at the Keeneland September yearling sale last year.
Rereadthefootnotes, who won in his debut at Saratoga Aug. 3, and Valiancy complete the field.
$150,000 Sapling Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 4:42 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, Six Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Rereadthefootnotes (NY), 121, Elvis Trujillo
2. Wild Proof (KY), 121, Jose Lezcano
3. Saratoga Storm (KY), 121, Juan C. Leyva
4. Officer Ipod (PA), 121, Joe Bravo
5. Valiancy (KY), 121, Shaun Bridgmohan
6. Silent Valor (KY), 121, Stewart Elliott
7. Dueling Alex (KY), 121, Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.