SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – A field of nine sophomores will seek their first stakes victory of the year in Friday’s $100,000 Curlin for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle recent maiden winner Highest Honors and allowance winner Looking At Bikinis.
Owned and bred by W.S. Farish, Highest Honors broke his maiden at second asking in his most recent start when besting next out winner Meet Me in L.A. over the Belmont Park main track on June 1 going 1 1/16 miles. The gray or roan Tapit colt is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1-winner on turf Diamondrella.
Highest Honors will break from post 8 under two-time Saratoga leading rider Jose Ortiz.
His stablemate, Looking At Bikinis, is unbeaten in two career starts. After defeating eventual graded stakes-winner and Kentucky Derby contender Cutting Humor in his career debut over a sloppy main track at Belmont Park in September, he received some time off but came back in winning fashion, defeating graded stakes-placed Not That Brady in a first-level allowance event at Belmont on June 27, registering a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.
Owned by Long Lake Stable, Madaket Stables, Thomas Coleman, and Doheny Racing Stable, Looking At Bikinis will break from post 3 under two-time Saratoga leading rider and Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Todd Pletcher will saddle Robert and Lawana Low’s Intrepid Heart, who makes his first start since finishing eighth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) presented by NYRA Bets on June 8. A half-brother to three-time graded-stakes winner Commissioner, the gray or roan Tapit colt has not won since defeating winners at Keeneland on April 5. His most recent work was a half-mile move over the Saratoga main track going 49.20 seconds on July 19.
“He’s been doing well since the Belmont and, watching his works, he’s been progressing. We’ll take our shot in here with him and see how it goes,” Pletcher said.
Intrepid Heart will leave from post 1 and will be guided by Hall of Famer John Velazquez – a four-time leading jockey at The Spa.
Walking L Thoroughbreds’ Cairo Cat is the lone graded stakes winner in the Curlin field and has not raced since scoring in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs in September. The Kenny McPeek-trained Cairo Prince dark bay broke his maiden over the Saratoga main track at 18-1 odds last August against eventual turf graded stakes-winner Opry.
Cairo Cat will be ridden by Julien Leparoux from post 2.
Godolphin’s Endorsed will look to replicate his last out winning effort when he breaks from post 7 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The well-bred bay son of Medaglia d’Oro, out of Grade 1-winner Dance Card, made his seasonal debut when besting winners going six furlongs over the Belmont Park main track, where he recorded a 92 Beyer. This was his first start since a distant sixth in the Champagne (G1), where he finished 11 lengths behind Complexity.
Endorsed will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Completing the field for the Curlin are Grumps Little Tots [post 4, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Rowayton [post 5, Joel Rosario], Direct Order [post 6, Luis Saez] and Mo Gotcha [post 9, Junior Alvarado].
The Curlin is slated as Race 9 on Friday’s 10-race card. First post is 1 p.m.