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Vinny from Real Dynasty Picks previews the 2023 Sanford Stakes (G3) from Saratoga, then gives his top picks & long shots. The Steve Asmussen-trained Gold Sweep headlines the meet’s 1st stakes race for juvenile colts & geldings, but is he primed to bounce out of his maiden-breaking victory in the Tremont Stakes? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Mike McCarty’s talented stakes-winner Gold Sweep will look to build upon a stylish maiden-breaking victory in Belmont Park’s Tremont when he takes on nine rivals in Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Sanford, a six-furlong main track test for juveniles, at Saratoga Race Course.
The Sanford is slated as Race 10 on Saturday’s loaded 11-race card, which co-features the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana, a nine-furlong turf route for older fillies and mares in Race 4; and the Grade 3, $175,000 Kelso, a one-mile turf test for older horses, in Race 9. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
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Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the son of Speightstown enters from a dominant victory in the 5 1/2-furlong Tremont on June 11, sailing home a nine-length winner after pouncing from just off the pace under Jose Ortiz. He crossed the wire first geared down in a final time of 1:03.47 and garnered a field-high 91 Beyer Speed Figure.
Gold Sweep finished a hard-fought second on debut when defeated a neck by next-out Bashford Manor runner-up Wilson Q in a five-furlong maiden tilt on May 18 at Churchill Downs. The $285,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Wonder Brew, whose dam Ginger Brew was the Sovereign Award-winner in 2008 for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.
Ortiz retains the mount from post 9.
Brian Cohen’s BC Racing will have two chances to earn its first graded stakes conquest with Jive [post 2, Junior Alvarado] for trainer Phil Serpe and Dickens [post 3, Edgard Zayas] for conditioner Juan Alvarado.
“We really think a lot of both of these horses,” said Cohen. “We weren’t really looking to run two horses in the same race, but with the lack of opportunities for winning 2-year-olds, we have tentatively planned to run both in the Sanford.”
Jive will vie to provide his freshman sire St Patrick’s Day, a full-brother to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, with his first stakes-winner as he makes the step up from a gutsy debut maiden win on May 19 at Gulfstream Park. Jive was both the first starter and winner for his sire with a three-quarter-length score in the five-furlong sprint. The effort was awarded a 60 Beyer.
“We had planned to run Jive in the Tremont and he was scratched before the race as a precaution,” said Cohen. “He’s all fine and he’d been training well at Belmont, so we kept him in New York with Phil Serpe.”
Dickens, a Florida-bred son of Adios Charlie, was a convincing winner of a 4 1/2-furlong maiden against fellow state-breds on June 10 at Gulfstream. The bay colt broke alertly from post 6-of-8 and battled for the lead into the turn with Catch a Tiger before shaking off his rival and powering home a two-length winner in a final time of 51.64 seconds.
“We’d always been planning for this race with him,” said Cohen. “Hopefully, we’ll have some good opportunity there and it’s good to run in New York. It’s a fun time for us.”
Out of the unraced Malibu Moon mare Malibu Melody, Dickens’ second dam Sanadaat is a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning millionaire Super Frolic, as well as graded stakes-placed Stormy Frolic, the second dam of this year’s Grade 1 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun runner-up Drew’s Gold.
Back Racing, Run for LaRoses and Magdalena Racing’s debut maiden winner Call the Cavalry [post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] enters from a two-length victory on June 4 in a five-furlong sprint at Belmont Park for trainer Kenny McPeek.
The Khozan bay bobbled at the start from the inside post of the five-horse field, but recovered quickly to stalk 1 1/2 lengths off the pace before rushing up the inside to take a two-length advantage at the stretch call. He maintained that margin down the stretch to post the victory in a final time of 59.06 seconds, garnering a 59 Beyer.
“I loved his first run,” said McPeek. “It was a short field, but he got it done. He’s worked well since then and I think he’s a horse we’re going to have a lot of fun with. I think he’s a horse that wants to go even longer.”
Bred in Florida by Craig L. Wheeler, Call the Cavalry is out of the winning Songandaprayer mare Song and Delight, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Delightful Kiss, who won races up to 1 1/2 miles and excelled on dirt, turf and synthetic. His third dam, the multiple graded stakes-placed Bishop’s Delight, is the second dam of Grade 2-winner Shadow Caster.
Completing the field are:
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