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2023 Skidmore Stakes Preview | No Nay Mets Brings Winning Form To Saratoga Friday
No Nay Mets (Coglianese Photos)

2023 Skidmore Stakes Preview | No Nay Mets Brings Winning Form To Saratoga Friday

Bregman Family Racing and WWBD’s regally-bred No Nay Mets is batting .667 having won 2-of-3 starts heading into Friday’s $150,000 Skidmore, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for 2-year-olds, at Saratoga Race Course.

The Skidmore is slated as race 8 on Friday’s 10-race card. First post is 1:00 p.m. Eastern.   

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Trained by George Weaver, the No Nay Never colt, a $1,025,796 purchase from this year’s Goffs London Sale, was destined to be a good one as the first foal out of the Group 3-winner Etoile. His third dam, Gwynn, produced 2011 Group 1 Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi and Group 3 winner Dawn Patrol.

Bred in Ireland by Coolmore, No Nay Mets graduated on debut in a five-furlong turf sprint at Gulfstream Park, taking a field of 10 gate-to-wire under Luca Panici to post a 3 1/2-length score over next-out winner and eventual stakes-placed Mattingly.

He then tried to emulate his sire with a win in the Group 2 Norfolk on June 22 at Royal Ascot but settled for a ninth-place effort engineered by Frankie Dettori. No Nay Mets returned one month later with Paco Lopez at the helm to post a frontrunning 5 1/2-length romp in the five-furlong Tyro over good going at Monmouth Park.

No Nay Mets breezed back a half-mile in 51.22 seconds over the Oklahoma training turf on Friday and the Spa’s leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. will have the call from post 7.

“He’s doing very good,” Weaver said. “His breeze on Friday went well and just as planned. The distance is uncharted territory, but I don’t think he’ll have a problem with it.

“He’s a hardy horse,” added Weaver. “I’m not worried about the short rest.”

In addition to No Nay Mets, Weaver has sent out six other juvenile turf sprinters for maiden scores this year led by Crimson Advocate, who graduated at second asking in the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies at Gulfstream Park and later took the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. His juvenile filly turf sprint winners include Amidst Waves, who graduated at Belmont Park and later won the Colleen at Monmouth; and Astonesthrowaway, who won her Belmont debut. On the male side, Twisted Filigree was a second-out winner at Belmont; Please Advise won his Belmont debut; and Good Lord Lorrie bolted up at first asking Saturday at the Spa.

Weaver’s talented 2-year-old turf troop also features Brocknardini, who won a restricted maiden special weight route here on August 2.

“We just had some precious horses and I feel like I’ve been doing the same thing this year as I do every year. We just got the right set of horses to make some noise. It’s always fun to have some exciting young horses,” Weaver said.

Stonestreet Stables’ Fandom [post 9, John Velazquez] also enjoyed a European adventure at Royal Ascot. Trained by Wesley Ward, Fandom, by Showcasing, is out of the Pivotal mare Brogan, who is a half-sister to Group 1-winner Lezoo.

The British-bred colt was purchased for $195,857 from the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and made a winning debut under Irad Ortiz, Jr. in April at Keeneland, drawing off to score by 6 3/4-lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight over firm footing.

Fandom then traveled to Royal Ascot for the Group 2 Coventry and landed 11th in the 20-horse field with returning rider Hall of Famer John Velazquez at the helm in the six-furlong test over good going.

The talented bay returned to Ward’s Keeneland base where he breezed twice in July before shipping up to Saratoga and posting a trio of half-mile works over the Oklahoma training turf, including the first effort on July 28 in 51 flat.

“We breezed him in company and he laid three or four lengths off another horse and he ran right by his workmate,” Ward said.

Three Chimneys Farm’s Go Otto Go [post 10, Florent Geroux] will make his turf debut for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

The Bolt d’Oro colt graduated on debut in May at Churchill Downs, drawing off to win by four lengths in a five-furlong maiden special weight. He finished a pacesetting fourth last out in the six-furlong Bashford Manor on July 2 at Ellis Park.

Go Otto Go worked a half-mile in 50.69 on August 6 over the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for his turf debut.

The $180,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale purchase is out of the stakes-winning New York-bred War Chant mare Court Dancer, who was winless in three turf starts.

Kenneth Ramsey’s Kentucky homebred Billy the Greek [post 8, Luis Saez] earned a 65 Beyer Speed Figure for a narrow nose score in his July 21 debut here in a 5 1/2-furlong off-the-turf maiden special weight for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.

With Luis Saez up, the Goldencents gelding bobbled at the break and bumped with a rival before recovering to track in third position. He made a brave inside move in upper stretch and took charge late to secure the win at odds of 12-1.

“It was a pleasant surprise that he won first time out,” Joseph, Jr. said. “Now we hope he will run on the grass. He’s bred for the grass.”

Billy the Greek is out of the stakes-placed Kitten’s Joy mare Kitten’s Dancer, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Bigger Picture, who captured the 2017 Grade 1 United Nations over the Monmouth Park turf.

Trainer Mike Maker will hope to send out a strong pair in dual stakes-placed Ship Cadet [post 2, Manny Franco] and Jimmythetooth [post 11 AE, Javier Castellano].

Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher, Kevin Haynes and John Huber’s dual stakes-placed Ship Cadet graduated on debut in May in a five-furlong maiden special weight sprint over firm Belmont turf, besting the aforementioned Twisted Filigree by less than a length.

He followed with a pair of runner-up efforts in sprint stakes, completing the exacta behind Gold Sweep in the Tremont on June 11 going 5 1/2-furlongs over Big Sandy before returning to turf to chase home No Nay Mets last out in the Tyro.

Bred in California by Mr. and Mrs. William T. Griffin, the Midshipman colt is out of the multiple stakes-winning Harbor the Gold mare Bella Mia. He was purchased for $79,000 at the 2022 Washington Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Yearling and Mixed Sale.

Michael Dubb’s New York-homebred Jimmythetooth will hope to draw in from the also-eligible list following a gate-to-wire score in a state-bred maiden special weight on July 27 sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs over firm Spa turf.

The World of Trouble bay has hit the board in all three career starts, including a prominent second on July 7 in a five-furlong state-bred maiden special weight over firm Belmont green.

He is out of the winning Yes It’s True mare Silent Fright, who is a half-sister to multiple grades stakes-winner Grand Adventure – Canada’s 2010 Champion Grass Horse.

A talented field also includes multiple maiden winners:

  • Untroubled [post 1, Abel Lezcano] for trainer Eduardo Caramori
  • Seize the Grey [post 4, Joel Rosario], who makes his turf debut for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas
  • The Jose Delgado-trained Sebastian Run [post 3, Jomar Torres]
  • Factor U and Me In [post 5, Kendrick Carmouche], who finished off-the-board in the Tyro for conditioner Ed Coletti, Jr.
  • Five o’ Somewhere [post 6, Ricardo Santana, Jr.], who make his turf debut off a maiden win at Hawthorne for trainer and co-owner Kenneth Spraggins

The New York-bred El Grande O [post 12 AE, Jose Ortiz] will hope to draw in for conditioner Linda Rice.  Antonio of Venice was entered for the main-track only.