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2023 Bolton Landing Stakes Preview | Amidst Waves Rides 2-Race Win Streak Into Saratoga
Amidst Waves (Angelo Benedetto/EQUI-PHOTO)

2023 Bolton Landing Stakes Preview | Amidst Waves Rides 2-Race Win Streak Into Saratoga

R.A. Hill Stable and BlackRidge Stables, Swinbank Stables, Black Type Thoroughbreds and Big Tufff Stables’ Amidst Waves brings a high tide of two turf triumphs into Sunday’s ninth running of the listed $150,000 Bolton Landing for juvenile fillies sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Saratoga Race Course Mellon turf.

The Bolton Landing is slated as Race 4 on Sunday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.  

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The George Weaver-trained Midshipman chestnut was last seen posting a stakes debut victory in the five-furlong Colleen on July 29 at Monmouth Park, where she tracked a close second to the outside of pacesetting longshot Velvet Vixen and fended off a late surge from Lady d’Oro to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Amidst Waves previously broke her maiden at second asking at Belmont Park, posting a 20-1 upset in defeating promising next-out winner Kodiac Wintergreen by 3 3/4 lengths. This came following a distant fourth in May over the Gulfstream Park main track.

“She ran well last time at Monmouth, I’m really pleased with her,” Weaver said. “She can carry her speed a little better on the turf than the dirt, but she’s always been quick.”

Bred in Kentucky by Woods Edge Farm and Ballyfair Bloodstock, Amidst Waves is out of the Into Mischief mare Troublesome and comes from the same family as stakes-winning sprinter Five Star Dream. She was bought for $100,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. 

Amidst Waves will leave from post 3 in rein to current Saratoga leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Looking to turn the tables on Amidst Waves is Crown Imperial, who finished third in her turf debut last out in the Colleen for owner-breeder 4 G Racing and trainer John Ortiz.

The dark bay daughter of Classic Empire has done plenty of traveling this summer, beginning her cross country tour over the main track at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where she earned a debut triumph on May 31 going five furlongs before finishing second beaten a neck in the next out Prairie Gold Lassie on July 7 at Prairie Meadows in Iowa.

“She’s got the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. She’s not afraid to get bumped around and go after horses. She’s tough,” said Ortiz, who earned his first Spa graded stakes triumph earlier in the meet with Grade 3 Adirondack winner Brightwork.

Ortiz credited his father, Carlos Ortiz, who oversaw Crown Imperial’s pre-training in Ocala, Florida, for preparing his rising star. The elder Ortiz also pre-trained Grade 1-placed Barber Road and stakes-placed Unsung Melody.

“This is one that my Dad told me about in Ocala. I think the combination between my Dad breaking horses to me training them on the track has been successful,” Ortiz said. “He does a wonderful job of putting the foundation underneath them. We had a lot of success with these horses. Horses like Unsung Melody and Barber Road, these are all horses coming from him to me. He puts a lot of foundation underneath these young yearlings.”

Ortiz noted the turf influence on the bottom side of Crown Imperial, who is out of the Congrats mare Mi Fiori – a half-sister to 2019 Grade 3 Poker winner Gucci Factor.

“We decided to give her a shot on the turf because of her pedigree,” Ortiz said. “She’s small and we think sprinting is working for her. I don’t want to stretch her out too far on either surface. I think she’s better off going short.”

Tyler Gaffalione will ride Crown Imperial from post 2.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle Astonesthrowaway [post 6, Luis Saez] in pursuit of his second Bolton Landing after taking the 2017 with March X Press.

The Bustin Stones chestnut broke her maiden against fellow state-breds on June 15 going five furlongs over the Belmont Widener turf for Weaver, before being purchased by new owner Jordan Wycoff at the Fasig-Tipton July Horses of Racing Age Sale. She was bred in the Empire State by Springhouse Farm.

Barry Schwartz’s New York homebred Gram [post 4, Joel Rosario] will make her stakes debut following a third-out maiden score on July 26 at Saratoga for trainer Christophe Clement. The Maclean’s Music bay was a distant fifth in her May 28 debut before finishing second to Astonesthrowaway next out.

Completing the field are Presque Isle Downs debut maiden winner Takemetothebeach [post 1, Rosario Montanez] for owner-trainer Matthew Kintz; and Gail Rice’s She’s Fire [post 5, Jose Ortiz], who finished fourth in the Colleen for trainer Kevin Rice after capturing a Belmont inner turf maiden in July.