Closing weekend of the 2020 Saratoga Race Course meeting is here and we’re bringing you another Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour Update to close out the year. The Stable Tour highlights the people and horses that make Saratoga special.
In this weekend update, we take a look at graduates entered to run in this weekend’s races, including the Grade 1 Woodward Saturday and Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 2 Honorable Miss Monday.
Here’s a recap of our update winners this week at Churchill Downs and Saratoga. And check our update from Sept. 2 for Derby Day runners.
Churchill Downs Winner
Sharing: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainseway Stable’s Breeders’ Cup winning filly made her return to the races a winning one when she scored in the Grade 2 Edgewood Stakes. Racing for the first time since a game second in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Royal Ascot, the Graham Motion trainee made it look easy with Manny Franco aboard, sitting off the pace set by In Good Spirits and taking over at the top of the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths. Never off the board in her seven starts, she has increased her earnings to $1,038,751.
Evaluator: After two third-place finishes in a row, R and H Stable’s son of Overanalyze improved to win an allowance optional claimer in impressive fashion Wednesday for trainer Jim Bond. After sitting third for most of the 1 1/8 miles, the 5-year-old gelding easily took control under jockey Luis Saez at the top of the stretch to open up on Our Last Buck and win by 13 lengths. With this victory, he has improved his record to three wins from 14 starts with five other placings.
Light In The Sky: Barry Schwartz’s homebred daughter of Tale Of The Cat came from far behind the pace to take Friday’s eighth, a 1 1/16-mile allowance on the turf for New York-bred fillies and mares. Last at the start and racing at the back of the field of 10, the 4-year-old filly made a late move under Jose Ortiz to close in on pacesetter Astoria Kitten and reach the wire 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Pandamom. Light In The Sky was on the board in her two previous races at Saratoga this year for trainer Horacio DePaz, finishing second in both of them. She now has two wins from eight starts, along with three seconds and one third.
Rinaldi: The Saratoga success continued for the Jim Bond trainee after he won the West Point Stakes Friday over a late-running Dot Matrix for the third stakes win of his career. Left alone on the lead to set an easy pace with Luis Saez up, the 4-year-old Posse gelding was never threatened by any of the six runners behind him and bounded to the wire a comfortable 1 ½ lengths in front. Winner of an allowance optional claimer last time out, his only loss at Saratoga came in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes last year. Rinaldi now has four wins from seven starts for Bond Racing Stable.
Graetz: Race 3, 5 ½-furlong New York-bred allowance. Third in an allowance at Saratoga last time out, Bond Racing Stable’s homebred daughter of Tizway broke her maiden in a waiver maiden claimer June 25 at Belmont.
Jim Bond in August 2020: “She’s a filly I kind of like. She’s from a really nice Pulpit mare we have, and I like this filly and she’ll come back at the meet and do very well. Luis Saez rides her and I thought she was up a little closer than I would have liked. We were on the outer instead of on the inner and I think on the outer it’s very hard to stay wire-to-wire basically and she was 21 and change on the front end. She won the time before kind of 2 off of it.”
Mz Seb Pat: Race 3, 5 ½-furlong New York-bred allowance. 4-year-old daughter of Mission Impazible broke her maiden last September at Belmont and is looking for her first win since. Racing for Youngs Racing Stable, she is making her third start of the Saratoga meet.
David Donk in August 2020: “Useful filly. She needs a little farther than 5 1/2, too. She didn’t run a bad race last time, not beaten very far, got going late. Three quarters or seven eighths suits most of these horses a lot better than the 5 ½. She’ll run back at the end of the meet.”
Civil Union: Race 4, Glens Falls Stakes. Allen Stable’s homebred War Front mare is looking to make it three-in-a-row after winning an allowance and the River Memories Stakes at Belmont earlier this summer. Off the board just once in six starts, she has a series of works over the Oklahoma turf.
Shug McGaughey in July 2020: “I really like Civil Union. We ran her in Florida, she just got beat, was third, Jose came back and said he was forced to move a little earlier than he wanted so I thought we would wait until we got back to Aqueduct, but there wasn’t any Aqueduct and there wasn’t any Belmont for a while, so I didn’t get to run her, which was probably OK. I thought she ran really hard to win her allowance race, I was proud of her to dig in the way she did.”
Timely Tradition: Race 6, 7-furlong allowance. Off the board in only one of her five starts in 2020, the 6-year-old First Defense mare finished fourth in an allowance last time out for Bush Racing Stable. Stakes placed in 2018, she has earned $346,877 and has been on the board in 19 of her 29 starts.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “She whistled at Oaklawn but it took a lot out of her. She came back and had dropped off, lost some muscle mass behind, was skinny. The owner has been great, whatever I want to do I can do. We gave her six, seven weeks, maybe more, try her in the New York-bred 2x, she whistled again under a hand ride against a good group. The other day was the toughest 1x I’ve seen here in New York. I thought she was a little in over her head. She was training well but there were some good young horses that will be stakes horses in there. She impressed me.”
Fulco: Race 7, 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the turf. Seventh on debut July 26 in a maiden special weight, the War Front colt posted a half-mile work over the Oklahoma turf August 31, breezing in :50.32.
Shug McGaughey in July 2020: “I like him.”
Jack The Cat: Race 8, 1 1/16-mile New York-bred allowance on the turf. In the money in each of his last six starts, the homebred for John and Michael Dorrian was second in an allowance at Belmont last time out. His last win came in a $16,000 claimer for previous trainer Kent Sweezey at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 2.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “He’s been knocking on the door in the 1x. Kent told me to just hold on to him, he belongs up here. A little bit of a goofy horse so we do a lot of paddock schooling and running him out of his stall helps, we don’t have to ship from New Jersey.”
Klickitat: Race 8, 1 1/16-mile New York-bred allowance on the turf. Shortleaf Stable’s First Samurai colt graduated in a maiden claimer Aug. 7 and makes his first start against winners in his 11th career start.
Jimmy Jerkens in August 2019: “…Got beat a head (on August 1, 2019), he ran every direction but straight.”
Celtic Striker: Race 9, Jim Dandy Stakes. Fourth in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes last time out, the 3-year-old son of Congrats won the Easy Goer Stakes earlier this summer and an optional claimer at Parx in February. A $100,000 yearling, he breezed a half on the main track in :48.09 August 30.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “He’s been running in the nice 3-year-old races this year, maybe just a cut below the elites. He won the Easy Goer, scratched down, but he ran a big race that day. He’s getting better. The big thing with him was mental. Mentally he wasn’t all there. Physically he’s always been gorgeous, had all the right parts and breezed like a good horse. Every start this year as a 3-year-old he’s getting more racey and into it. He’s still kind of a clown, you see him playing here. He breezed yesterday for the Jim Dandy and I think we’re going to get Joel (Rosario) for him, which will be nice.”
Dr Post: Race 9, Jim Dandy Stakes. Second to Tiz The Law in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and third in the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes last time out, the Quality Road colt won the Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream for St. Elias Stable April 25. He breezed a half-mile in :49.60 over the main track Aug. 28.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “Very frustrating trip in the Haskell. We had a game plan in place and didn’t do a very good job of executing it. Just got shuffled back too far on a track that you can’t do that on, especially behind modest fractions and especially when the odds-on favorite is the one setting the slow fractions. Despite that and making a wide run, he closed well. He’s better than that showed. I have high hopes for him, he’s a very talented horse and he’s got a big win in him, hopefully it’s coming sooner rather than later.”
Happy Saver: Race 9, Jim Dandy Stakes. Undefeated in his two career starts, Wertheimer and Frere’s homebred son of Super Saver most recently won a nine-furlong allowance at Saratoga July 26 by 4 lengths. He breezed in company with Dr Post Aug. 28.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “I felt like we had a very good line on him based on him being Dr Post’s workmate leading up to Dr Post’s Haskell, his ability level and his fitness level. It worked out well, I loved the way he finished. He’s got a great demeanor, great personality. I was a little worried in the paddock that he was going to take a nap, he was almost too quiet. That’s just his demeanor. That’s great when they can behave that way and perform the way he does.”
Moretti: Race 11, Woodward Stakes. Repole Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Medaglia d’Oro colt won at the marathon distance last time out in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga. Second in the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes in July, he has not been off the board in his last seven starts. He was sold for $900,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “The next step will be interesting. We’ll have a couple of conversations about that one. We could back him up to a mile and a quarter and try the Woodward again, see how he steps up against that type of competition.”
Prioritize: Race 11, Woodward Stakes. William Clifton’s 5-year-old gelded son of Tizway was last seen winning an optional claimer at Saratoga July 25. Winner or runner-up in his last four starts, he finished third in the Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont in 2018, the only graded stakes appearance of his career.
Jim Bond in August 2020: “(The Woodward is) a mile-and-a-quarter and the way he ran the other day it looks like he’ll get the distance. A lot of horses won’t get the distance. We have to look at it, we’ll nominate and see if it’s smart or not-so-smart. He ran a great race the other day, showed his determination and he just seems to be climbing. His numbers are just getting better and better. Tizway was a pretty good horse at 5. Maybe he’s following his daddy’s footsteps.”
Tacitus: Race 11, Woodward Stakes. Juddmonte Farms’ Tapit colt got back to winning ways last time out when he won the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes in impressive fashion, coasting home 8 ¾ lengths clear of runner-up Moretti. Second in the Belmont and Travers Stakes in 2019, his other two finishes this year were a fifth in the Saudi Cup and a fourth in the Grade 1 Oaklawn Handicap.
Bill Mott in August 2019: “He gets extra feed, he eats five times a day, most eat three or four, just depending on how they’re eating. I started doing it in Florida because he looked a little lean, we’ll give him a quart or two more when he finishes his 11 o’clock feed.”
Life On Top: Race 12, 1 1/16-mile $40,000 claimer on the turf. 3-year-old Carpe Diem colt for Centennial Farms broke his maiden at Gulfstream in February and is looking for his first win since. He finished fifth in his last start, and allowance at Saratoga Aug. 16.
Jimmy Jerkens in August 2019: “He’s by Carpe Diem. He looked a little softer than the other two when he got here, but he’s starting to get some tone to him now. He’s been a little slow learner at the gate but he’s starting to get the hang of it.”
Operative: Race 12, 1 1/16-mile $40,000 claimer on the turf. The 3-year-old gelded son of Mission Impazible graduated in a maiden claimer at Saratoga July 24 and finished third in his first start against winners Aug. 13.
David Donk in August 2020: “Did it the right way breaking his maiden and got a great ride from Jose (Ortiz). Came back in a starter allowance, a pretty tough starter, he really jumped up his Beyer number that day. Got a good ride, Manny (Franco) was on him. He’s got some conditions, a little bit on the improve and was a horse that was really green. He’ll make an - other start here.”
Our Country: Race 12 1 1/16-mile $40,000 claimer on the turf. Graded stakes placed last year, R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stable’s gelded son of Constitution is looking for his first win since breaking his maiden at Saratoga last year. He was a $70,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale.
George Weaver in August 2019: “He’s got his little quirks here and there but he’s pretty good to be around.”
Dreams Of Tomorrow: Race 4, 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the turf. A homebred son of Speightstown for Phipps Stable, the 3-year-old colt finished third in his debut at Gulfstream in April and has a pair of runner-up finishes at Belmont and Saratoga.
Shug McGaughey in July 2020: “He’s promising. Just the timing of stuff has gotten in his way a little bit. He was ready to run and I didn’t have anywhere to run him.”
Ethos: Race 4, 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the turf. Son of Ghostzapper improved off an eighth-place finish first time out to be third in a maiden special weight at Saratoga July 23. A $550,000 purchase for Centennial Farms at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-old sale, he has been working at Belmont throughout the summer.
Jimmy Jerkens in August 2019: “He’s out of a daughter of Meghan’s Joy, Happy Now. He was racy from being at the sale so he went to the farm. They said he lost a little bit of conditioning but he got it back and when he was getting his act together he came up to us here.”
Irish Constitution: Race 9, Spinaway Stakes. Winner on debut July 24 for Perrine Thoroughbreds and West Paces Racing, the daughter of Constitution had her final work for the Spinaway Aug. 31, breezing a half in :50.44.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “She’s really growing up, showing a lot more balance. She had a lot of balance but since she’s been here she’s really popped. We won going 5 1/2. She wants to go a little further, the Constitutions seem to, so the Spinaway at seven-eighths is a really great spot for her. I know they have the Seeking The Ante, but with her pedigree I think it will really help her page out if she can get a piece of it.”
Come Dancing: Race 10, Honorable Miss Handicap. Last year’s Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes winner finished fourth in that race in her last start. A multiple graded stakes winner, she has won 8 of her 17 starts and has earnings of $1,104,283.
Carlos Martin in August 2019: “The queen of the barn. She’s been a godsend for us. She’s been something special.”
Pacific Gale: Race 10, Honorable Miss Handicap. A three-time winner in her 23 career starts, Tobey Morton’s Flat Out mare was second in an optional claimer at Saratoga last time out and third in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont June 27. She finished sixth in this race last year.
John Kimmel in August 2019: “She’s super friendly, she’s like a pet. She’s beaten a lot of Grade 1 horses, but they haven’t let her win a graded race yet. I thought she was in tip-top shape in the Honorable Miss and she tried to make an inside move. That was when we first became aware that the inside was very deep and pulling on horses because she made a run up there and got to the eighth pole and bogged down.”
Pink Sands: Race 10, Honorable Miss Handicap. After a Grade 2 win in the Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream in January, Gainseway Stable and Andrew Rosen’s Tapit mare finished off the board in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps and Ballerina Stakes. She has six wins from 20 starts and $484,400 in earnings.
Shug McGaughey in July 2020: “I’m pleased with how she’s doing, the Ballerina will be a little bit of a hurry up. They’re anxious to get some Grade 1, if I make it, I don’t know. If it had been where it always has been before, it would have been no problem.”
Fixed Point: Race 11, Lucky Coin Stakes. WellSpring Stables’ son of Midshipman makes his return off an eight-month layoff, last seen finishing eighth in the World of Trouble Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream January 25. A three-time winner, he is looking for his first win since an optional claimer victory in February 2019.
Phil Serpe in September 2020: “We’ve been waiting to run back. Has had a few issues that he had to get worked on. Throat surgery like three times. But he’s ready to start back. We were pointing toward an allowance race but there weren’t enough horses to fill it. There’s a void of horses here this year. We’re going to run him in the Lucky Coin (Sept. 6) just to try and help racing along here the last week. He’s a very fast horse, has had excellent works across the street, we have a lot of hope he’ll come back and be able to run well for us.”
Gidu: Race 11, Lucky Coin Stakes. The 5-year-old son of Frankel’s best finish this year was a second in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Stakes at Gulfstream January 11. He most recently finished sixth in an optional claimer at Saratoga July 29 and had a bullet work August 30, breezing a half-mile in :47.01 over the main track at Belmont.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “He’s really a very frustrating horse and he always has been. He’s got a tremendous personality around the barn, he’s as kind as any horse you’d ever be around, completely gentle, all class around the barn. Unfortunately, when you put a rider on his back and break him out of the gate, he’s completely one dimensional. When you run him long, he looks like he would sprint. Then you sprint him and that’s not really what he wants to do.”
Shekky Shebaz: Race 11, Lucky Coin Stakes. Winner of this race last year, Madaket Stables, Bethlehem Stables and Michael Dubb’s Cape Blanco gelding finished second in the Grade 3 Troy Stakes in his last start. Third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last year, he has won or been in the money in 16 of his 22 starts and has earnings of $422,400.
Christophe Clement in August 2020.
Sterling Beauty: Race 12, 1-mile $40,000 claimer on the turf. Stakes placed daughter of Central Banker has a ninth and an eighth in her two starts this summer at Saratoga. A $7,500 yearling purchase for Equine Info Exchange at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall sale, she has won one of her 13 starts and finished third in four others.
David Donk in August 2020: “I thought with a drop in class she would be competitive there. She had a terrible break. She jumped in the air at the break, got her head turned and was way behind the field. She lost all chance. Ended up not running bad, only beaten 7 lengths.”
Cracker Factory: Race 1, 2 3/8-mile handicap on the hurdle (rescheduled from 9/2/20). Coming off a fifth finish in a handicap at Saratoga Aug. 13, the 5-year-old Poet’s Voice gelding is a four-time winner in England and is looking for his first win since coming to the U.S. His other two stateside runs were a sixth in the William Entenmann Memorial at Belmont and a DNF in the Harry E. Harris Hurdle Stakes at Far Hills.
Jack Fisher in July 2020: “I don’t know. Seriously. He didn’t run at all at Belmont and at Far Hills I expected better and he was done going into the first fence. I have no explanation at all. At home there’s nothing wrong, his legs are all good. He doesn’t work brilliantly, but a lot of them don’t.”
New Member: Race 1, 2 3/8-mile handicap on the hurdle (rescheduled from 9/2/20). Making his third start of the year, the 9-year-old Alhaarth gelding comes off a fourth in the same handicap as Cracker Factory Aug. 13. Winner of the Jonathan Kiser Memorial and second in the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup in 2018, he has won three of his 22 starts and placed in nine others. He did not finish his other start this year, the Grade 3 Temple Gwathmey Hurdle Handicap at Middleburg.
Jack Fisher in July 2020: “I was high on him early in the year and he ran that race at Middleburg. I have no excuse for that. I thought he could run very well there, but he didn’t. I’m not running him in the stakes after that performance. He’s won at Saratoga, was second in the Turf Writers (to Optimus Prime). He’s OK when he runs those races. I hope he can do that again.”
Kabob: Race 4, 7-furlong $16,000 claimer. Tenth on debut at Belmont in June, Magic Carpet Racing’s Overanalyze gelding improved to break his maiden at Saratoga July 17 in a maiden claimer.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “We lit up the board, 19-1. Everybody asked me if I liked the horse going into the race. I did like him. He was breezing well but he’s just kind of a compact, smaller horse. But he’s fast. I thought the 7 was too far. He got a perfect ride by Dylan Davis that day. He sat right off. Got the live cover. Broke running, sat right in the pocket, one horse on his outside and when the one horse backed up, he pulled out right when they switched leads, he got the seam and the slip. Just kicked clear.”
Rightdowngentleman: Race 4, 7-furlong $16,000 claimer. On the bench since his debut win December 31 at Aqueduct for The Luchncup Syndicate, the Big Brown gelding has been training at Saratoga throughout the summer, most recently breezing 5 furlongs in 1:02.96 over the Oklahoma September 1.
Bruce Brown in August 2020: “He’s only run one time but he won. He’s had a lot of issues but is an - other one, there’s a race at the end of the meet that he could make if everything goes right.”
Candy Tycoon: Race 5, 1 1/8-mile allowance. Coming in off a runner-up effort in an allowance at Saratoga Aug. 12, Mathis Stable’s Twirling Candy colt was on the Derby trail earlier this year, finishing second in the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes and sixth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “Solid horse who tries hard every time. The Peter Pan, he stumbled pretty badly and grabbed a quarter and put himself in an impossible situation. We’ve got to regroup and maybe drop down to an allowance race and try again.”
Breaking The Rules: Race 8, Lure Stakes. 5-year-old son of War Front scored an optional claimer victory at Saratoga last time out July 29 to remain undefeated in 2020. Winner of the Tropical Park Derby in 2018, he has six wins from 13 career starts.
Shug McGaughey in July 2020: “Very pleased with his race the other day, I thought he ran great. I plan on running him back in an allowance race. If he does good there, we’ll probably point for the Lure which is a conditioned race this year.”
Binkster: Race 10, 6-furlong allowance. The five-time winning Bluegrass Cat gelding added another stakes placing to his resume Aug. 20 when he finished third in the Tale Of The Cat Stakes in a dead heat with T Loves A Fight. He finished second in his other start at Saratoga this year.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “You know Binkster, been a solid claim. We claimed him two years ago (for $25,000, July 12, 2018 at Belmont). He’s been as good a claim as I’ve made. It’s a bit unfortunate, I was trying to get him in a 1x. He’s been knocking on the door in that. He was second to that beast of Asmussen’s, Yaupon. I couldn’t get the race to go, they asked me if I’d jump in the stake.”
Ima Pharoah: Race 10, 6-furlong allowance. Charles Fipke’s homebred American Pharoah colt broke his maiden in his last start, a 7-furlong maiden special weight Aug. 1. He has finished second in his four other starts.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “It was nice to see him get the job done. I was trying to think of how many horses we’ve had over the years who finished second in their first four starts. It was a good setup, I do think the blinkers helped a little bit which Irad (Ortiz) suggested, it was a good solid effort. The horse has a little bit more talent than we’ve seen in his first four starts, hopefully this was him figuring out how to polish off the job.”
The Big S: Race 10, 6-furlong allowance. Away from the races since November 24, the 4-year-old Jimmy Creed colt makes his first start since finishing sixth in an optional claimer at Parx. On the board in two of his eight starts, he finished third in the Lookin At Lucky Stakes last year.
Ray Handal in August 2020: “He’s been around for a while. He started to tail off in his form at the end of the year so I turned him out. Brought him back, he had a couple minor setbacks and turned him out again. He came back here and has been breezing really consistently and breezing fast every week.”
Alley Oop Johnny: Race 11, 1 1/16-mile starter allowance on the turf. Runner-up in a claimer at Saratoga July 26, Three Crowns Farm’s Animal Kingdom gelding has a win, a second, and a third from his nine starts. His lone win came in a maiden special weight at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 14.
Bruce Brown in August 2020: “He was a really good second early in the meet. That’s one I had here last year and he went to Tampa for the winter, broke his maiden down there and I got him back right before we came up. He’s doing good. Another strictly turf and hopefully we stay lucky with the weather. We’ve been so far. Most of my turf horses now are strictly turf, not ones that would be good off the turf.”
Succeedandsurpass: Race 12, 1-mile allowance on the turf. Second in his last start at Del Mar July 24, the Irish-bred son of Exceed and Excel was second in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita last year and has won or been on the board in six of his nine starts.
Graham Motion in August 2020: “He just came in from California. I haven’t had him very long, but he seems like a nice horse.”
Ampersand: Race 13, Runhappy Hopeful Stakes. The Florida-bred Speightster colt graduated in his debut Aug. 22, a 5 ½-furlong off-the-turf maiden special weight. Owned by WellSpring Stables, he posted a 3-furlong bullet work Sept. 4, breezing in :36.55.
Phil Serpe in September 2020: “He looked fast, but he looked a little slight at the sale. He needs to fill out some, which he will. But by the time we got him up, I guess it was around his second half-mile we knew he could run. He was fast. We were struggling to hold him down to :48 and change. He worked out of the gate one day in like :47 and change, literally in the four path and never, ever gave him his head. We knew he was fast and that he was eligible for the auction races. He didn’t get to that race in time.”
Mutasaabeq: Race 13, Runhappy Hopeful Stakes. Shadwell Stable’s son of Into Mischief was an impressive debut winner at Saratoga Aug. 8, taking the 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight by 4 ½ lengths. He worked in company with Ima Pharoah Aug. 31, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:00.33 over the main track.
Todd Pletcher in August 2020: “He’s been training pretty smartly.”