Tall order for Bradester

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Eddie Kenneally stood in the shedrow of his Saratoga barn in the middle of last month, outlined preliminary plans for Bradester and guessed that by waiting for today’s $600,000 Woodward Stakes he might avoid the heavyweights of the handicap division who tangled a week earlier. 

Fast-forward to Thursday and Kenneally, watching a mid-morning set jog on the asphalt outside his barn, reviewed his forecast on request.

“We were thinking some of the Whitney runners wouldn’t come back in the Woodward, too,” Kenneally said. “Well, we were wrong about that.”

Without an overnight or past performances handy, it was suggested there might be “a few of them in there.” Kenneally quickly corrected this writer, thoughts clearly on the main opposition for the Grade 1 stakes for older horses going 9 furlongs. 

“There’s one,” Kenneally said. “One of note, no doubt about that.” 

The one is of course Godolphin Racing’s Frosted, smashing winner of the Metropolitan Handicap and Whitney Invitational in his last two starts and the 1-2 favorite for the Woodward. 

“He would certainly be of note,” Kenneally said with a chuckle. “I wasn’t too happy when I heard he was going in the race.”

Kiaran McLaughlin put an entry in for Frosted for the same reason Kenneally did for Bradester – they both like the timing of the Woodward until the Breeders’ Cup, specifically it’s 62 days until the Dirt Mile and 63 days until the Classic. Neither McLaughlin, who also sends out 5-1 second choice Mubtaahij, or Kenneally are ready to commit to either race as the final days of the 2016 Saratoga meeting fade away.

Bradester ran in last year’s Dirt Mile at Keeneland, finishing ninth after leading early to end an otherwise productive campaign that saw him win two graded stakes and place in another at Monmouth Park. The 6-year-old son of Lion Heart comes into the Woodward with two more stakes wins at Monmouth plus a victory in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. 

To read the rest of the Woodward preview, download Saturday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland Sales.