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Hilly Fields Stable’s Itsallcomintogetha, trained by Phil Serpe, is aiming for repeat success against fellow New York-bred sophomores in Thursday’s $125,000 Rick Violette at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf, at Saratoga Race Course.
The Rick Violette is slated as race 9 on Thursday’s 10-race card. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
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Itsallcomintogetha enters from a frontrunning score on June 20 here in the one-mile Cab Calloway division of the restricted New York Stallion Stakes Series. The Weekend Hideaway colt is living up to his name this season with a 4-2-0-2 record, including a strong third in the seven-furlong NYSSS Spectacular Bid on June 18 at Belmont Park before garnering a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure in the Cab Calloway.
“The Rick Violette is going to be a little tougher because it is open for all New York-breds. I like the fact that our horse seems to be moving forward,” said Serpe. “He certainly seemed to appreciate two turns rather than the one turn race back at Belmont, so I like where we’re going.”
The bay debuted last August at Saratoga sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs, finishing third, before failing to hit the board in his only two other starts of his juvenile campaign.
Itsallcomintogetha, out of the winning Powerscourt mare Ladywell Court, is a half-sibling to the Serpe-trained stakes-winning Hilly Fields Stable homebreds Goodbye Brockley and Lady Joan.
“He comes from a family where they get to the races as two-year-olds, but they’re usually immature horses. This horse had a tremendous amount of growth,” Serpe said. “He’s literally twice the size he was last year and the maturing process really worked in his favor.”
Itsallcomintogetha has notched both of his wins in gate-to-wire fashion, last time holding off returning rival Ramblin’ Wreck by a neck. The Rick Violette’s distance will be the longest Itsallcomintogetha has ran, but Serpe is confident his horse doesn’t necessarily need to be on the lead.
“I’m not saying he’s a horse we want to take way back, but I also believe it wouldn’t be a problem if there was a lot of other speed in the race. We just need to see how it unfolds,” Serpe explained.
Jose Gomez retains the mount from post 5.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Searles’ Ramblin’ Wreck [post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] looks to avenge his second-place finish in the Cab Calloway for trainer Danny Gargan.
The Redesdale gelding entered the Cab Calloway from a one length victory in the Spectacular Bid despite a slow break. The convincing score made him the mutuel favorite last out, but his late rally from off-the-pace came up just short.
“I think he tried really hard, he ran really good. They went really slow on the front end and the horse [Itsallcomintogetha] got away from him,” said Gargan. “We just got stuck down on the inside and couldn’t get to him at the end. That’s racing luck sometimes.”
Out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Dakota Kid, Ramblin’ Wreck is a half-brother to multiple stakes winning stablemate Dakota Gold.
“Dakota Gold got second last year in this race [Rick Violette] as a big favorite,” Gargan recalled, as he looks to turn the tables in the second running of the Rick Violette.
Bred by Ron Bowden, Ramblin’ Wreck was purchased for $140,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-Bred Yearling Sale.
A new face to the stakes level is the Michael Maker-trained King of Comedy, who will exit post 2 in rein to Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Owned by David Staudacher, Jeff Gardella, Maxis Stable and Paradise Farms, King of Comedy romped to a five-length victory against elders going 1 1/8 miles in a state-bred allowance on July 2 over Belmont Park’s inner turf.
King of Comedy, bred by Ehris Stables, was third in his second start this season on June 10 at Belmont Park, dead heating with returning rival Let’s Go Big Blue and 4 1/4-lengths back of the victorious Spirit of St. Louis – both Let’s Go Big Blue and Spirit of St. Louis went on to win next out at Saratoga.
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August Dawn Farm’s Let’s Go Big Blue [post 6, Jose Lezcano] will look to remain undefeated on the Spa turf for trainer Geoge Weaver.
The Cairo Prince grey graduated impressively at first asking in a state-bred maiden special weight here last summer with a last-to-first rush. He parlayed that success one-month later to a third-place finish in the one-mile Nownownow at Monmouth Park and was elevated to third in the Awad in October at Belmont at the Big A.
He was freshened after finishing off-the-board in Aqueduct’s Central Park in November and returned in the aforementioned allowance in June at Belmont. Last out, Let’s Go Big Blue returned victorious to Saratoga in a one-mile state-bred allowance on August 3, posting a three-quarter length score under a prominent trip engineered by returning rider Jose Lezcano.
Bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, Let’s Go Big Blue was purchased for $200,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
Sleeping Giant Stables, America’s Pastime Stables and Kim Don Racing’s graded stakes-placed Vacation Dance [post 3, Kendrick Carmouche] will add blinkers as he looks to improve upon his third-place finish in the Cab Calloway.
Trained by John Kimmel, the grey son of The Lieutenant enjoyed a productive juvenile campaign, winning on debut here in September ahead of a close third in the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont at the Big A. He added the six-furlong Atlantic Beach to his ledger in November at Aqueduct and has hit the board in 2-of-5 starts since.
Bred by Harry Landy and James Hogan, the $90,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale purchase has banked $180,640 through a record of 8-2-0-3.
Rounding out the field is Willintoriskitall [post 4, Luis Saez], who finished fourth in the Cab Calloway for trainer Jose D’Angelo and adds blinkers for this rematch. The Superestrella gelding, bred by Beast Mode, was claimed for $40,000 out of a winning effort in June at Belmont.
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