11-Day Wonder

- -

Jeff Weiss keeps it pretty simple with his goals for, and especially for the name of, his small breeding and racing operation Rosedown Racing Stables.

“The name? Rosedown Racing, oh that’s cool,” Weiss said Thursday at Saratoga. “The name is for ‘run for the roses’ at the Kentucky Derby and it’s run at Churchill Downs, so there’s the down. And I live on Rosedown Court. So I thought Rosedown would be perfect.”

Weiss earlier described another perfect scenario where Bashart, a colt he bought back three times at public auction when he failed to get a bid he was satisfied with, lands the neophyte owner on another of racing’s biggest stages. And he’s on that path after Bashart rolled to a front-running victory over six other 2-year-olds in the $200,000 With Anticipation Stakes on the turf.

“This horse is incredible,” Weiss said, intently watching the replay as Bashart responded to a good challenge from River Dancer to win the Grade 2 With Anticipation by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:41.97 for the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf. “He’s going right to the Breeders’ Cup from here. That’s my dream, to race in the Breeders’ Cup. I can’t believe he pulled away like that, look at that. He just pulled away. It’s unbelievable.”

Bashart winning the Grade 2 With Anticipation is the latest in a somewhat unbelievable sequence of events for the War Front colt. It started back in 2011 when Weiss tried to sell him as a weanling at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale and he didn’t meet his reserve on a bid of $65,000. He bought him back two more times after that, first for $185,000 as a yearling and then for $195,000 as a 2-year-old in training.

Weiss sent the colt to Todd Pletcher and then-like so many babies sent out by the man who will be the meet’s leading trainer for the tenth time and possibly with a record number of wins by the tie racing wraps up Monday-Bashart won, taking a 1 1/16-mile turf maiden race by a determined half length.

This is where it gets interesting. Unbelievable is probably pouring it on bit thick, but it is definitely interesting.

Weiss said he “freaked out” when he got an email from one of Pletcher’s assistants a few days ago telling him Bashart was coming back in the With Anticipation. The race was a mere 11 days after Bashart’s win and entries closed for it exactly seven days after the maiden score.

“I exchanged some emails with his assistant and then I talked to him the next morning,” Weiss said, before elaborating further on the face-to-face conversation. “[In the email] I said, ‘what are you talking about? You must have the wrong horse. I just talked to Todd the other day and he said he likes to run them every 30 days.’ Then I said, ‘He only ran 11 days ago. Check with Todd.’

“Then I wrote back and said, ‘you know what, I’m going to go look for Todd in the morning.’ I got up, went out there at like 6 o’clock in the morning. I had to get up at like 4:30. For me I need an hour and a half to get ready. I don’t wake up easily. So I get up at 4:30, listen to my voice, I was so stressed by the whole thing.”

Pletcher, now with 34 wins on the meet and more ammunition waiting for the weekend, eased his owner’s stress even though he didn’t do much for his strained voice. He was satisfied with how Bashard came out of his maiden race and even more satisfied with how the situation looked going forward if he moved forward again.

“Puts us on a better schedule,” Pletcher said “Gives us the chance with a horse that’s still learning to run twice instead of going to Canada or something like that and only getting one race before a possible Breeders’ Cup, so that’s why we ran on short rest. He acted really well since his maiden win and we got lucky today.”
Bashart and a skillful ride by Javier Castellano took some of the luck factor out of the race. They went right to the front and Castellano, now with a comfortable lead in the jockey standings in search of his first Saratoga title, took a good hold up the backstretch. Base Case Scenario, Tiger Bourbon and Bashart’s stablemate and 5-2 favorite We Miss Artie chased through sensible early fractions without applying too much pressure. Castellano led Bashart out a bit through 6 furlongs in 1:11.39 and shortly after that his early pursuers needed to work harder than the leader to keep the pace.

Marvin’s Miracle got in the mix around the far turn and down inside in the lane as River Dancer got moving from the back. Bashart opened up and the only serious race was for second, with River Dancer passing Marvin’s Miracle just before the finish.

“He made the lead and relaxed when he did,” Pletcher said. “He responded every time they came to him and he found a little more. … The second quarter [in :24.19] was comfortable so I think that really helped.”