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2023 Evan Shipman Handicap Preview | Grade 1 Winner Americanrevolution Returns To Saratoga
Americanrevolution (NYRA)

2023 Evan Shipman Handicap Preview | Grade 1 Winner Americanrevolution Returns To Saratoga

CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s Grade 1 winner Americanrevolution – the 2021 New York-bred Horse of the Year – makes his long-awaited return in Friday’s $125,000 Evan Shipman Handicap, a one-mile main track test out of the Wilson Chute for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, at Saratoga Race Course.

The Evan Shipman is slated as Race 9 on Friday’s 10-race program which features the rescheduled Grade 2, $500,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in Race 8 and the $125,000 Union Avenue Handicap in Race 4. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.   

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The 5-year-old Constitution chestnut hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since finishing second in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on the final Saturday of last year’s Saratoga meet. There, he stalked the early foot of the recently retired Tax with multiple graded stakes winner Olympiad to his inside, with the latter pulling away to a two-length victory. Americanrevolution was second to the same foe in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster, his prior race last July at Churchill Downs.

The game runner-up efforts concluded Americanrevolution’s 4-year-old season, and Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher gave his horse some time before returning to the work tab this May. On Saturday, he breezed a swift five furlongs in 1:00.71 over the Saratoga main track.

“He’s been training real well. It’s taken a little while to get here, but we are happy to have him back,” Pletcher said.

Americanrevolution is undefeated in four state-bred starts, including scores in the Empire Classic Handicap at Belmont Park in October 2021 and the Albany at the Spa that August. His successful sophomore season was capped by a half-length triumph in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Pletcher said the Evan Shipman is an ideal spot after the long lay-off for Americanrevolution, who will carry a field-high 126 pounds when exiting the inside post under Luis Saez.

“I don’t like the 126 pounds, but I think it is a good place to bring him back,” Pletcher said.

Americanrevolution was bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, and bought for $275,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale.

Willis Horton Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded stakes-placed Bankit [post 5, Joel Rosario, 124 pounds], trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, has banked in excess of $1.4 million with a record of 40-9-12-6.

Much of his field-high earnings have come from New York-bred races, including a win in last year’s Evan Shipman where he nosed out 2021 Evan Shipman-winner Sea Foam.

The 7-year-old Central Banker bay horse notched his eighth stakes score last out in the $200,000 Commentator going 1 1/16-miles on May 29 at Belmont Park, which featured returning rival Dr Ardito, who went off as the post-time favorite but finished a late closing fourth.

Bankit has raced regularly since December 4 at the Big A when he posted a 3 1/4-length score in the seven-furlong NYSSS Thunder Rumble. He ran the following two months at the Big A with a third in the Say Florida Sandy in January and second in the Haynesfield in February. The veteran tried open company in the Frank Y. Whiteley Stakes at Laurel Park in April and finished a troubled fourth ahead of his Commentator coup.

Bred by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, Bankit was the 2021 New York-bred Champion Older Horse.

Michael J. Caruso and Michael Dubb’s Dr Ardito [post 2, Manny Franco, 122 pounds], trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, was on a six-race win streak before off-the-board efforts in the Grade 3 Westchester and Commentator in May at Belmont.

The gray Liam’s Map gelding is lighter raced than the rest of the field and holds an impressive 9-6-1-0 record. His 5-year-old season began in January at Aqueduct where he beat optional-claiming company by a head, garnering a lofty 95 Beyer Speed Figure. He returned one month later with another victory by a head in the Haynesfield over returning rival Bankit.

Dr Ardito, bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding, was purchased for $95,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York Bred Sale.

Winfield Racing’s Sundaeswithsandy has shown improvement since entering conditioner Michelle Nevin’s barn after being haltered for $45,000 out of an off-the-board effort in April. The 4-year-old Keen Ice gray made his first start for Nevin on the turf versus state-bred optional claiming company on May 28 at Belmont Park and failed to rally from the back of the field.

Sundaeswithsandy was moved back to the Belmont dirt for his last two starts, missing by a head in June and winning in July – both efforts earning a lifetime high 92 Beyer.

“The horse is just steadily improving and he’s been training great,” Nevin said. “He doesn’t have a lot of options left. He got his ‘two other than’ New York-bred wins, so you go an other-than open or this race, so we’re going to enter in and see how we feel about things.”

Sundaeswithsandy was a $30,000 purchase at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase.

Kendrick Carmouche, who was aboard for the past two races, retains the mount from post 4 aboard Sundaeswithsandy [118 pounds].

Rounding out the field are:

  • A. Bianco Holding’s Sheriff Bianco [post 7, Jose Lezcano, 122 pounds], who has hit the board 13 of 14 tries for trainer Linda Rice
  • Eddie F’s Racing’s multiple stakes-winner Lobsta [post 3, Keiber Coa, 116 pounds] for trainer Rachel Sells
  • David Staudacher and Paradise Farms’ Barese [post 6, Ruben Silvera, 120 pounds], a multiple stakes winner conditioned by Mike Maker
  • Ten Strike Racing’s four-time winner Whittington Park [post 8, Tyler Gaffalione, 119 pounds] for conditioner Jeremiah Englehart