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Last year on Travers Day, west coast-based horses shipped into Saratoga with great success, and this year, City of Light is one of the biggest names coming east. He headlines this year’s running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego Stakes, which is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race for the Dirt Mile. City of Light has been brilliant in his last two starts while going one turn and has a win this year around two turns, too. However, there is little doubt that this is his best distance. He will leave from the far outside post in a compact field of eight.
“After [he was third in] the Gold Cup, we had circled the Whitney, as Mr. Warren has been wanting to bring him east,” McCarthy said. “He started the Del Mar meet off with a bit of a foot bruise, and we didn’t want to rush things with him. With two Grade 1 wins at seven furlongs, the Forego looked like an ideal spot.”
The winner of the Forego Stakes will receive an automatic position in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile this fall at Churchill Downs. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the person who nominated the foal or racehorse. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based internationally.
The Grade 1 Forego Stakes will be one of many huge races at Saratoga this Saturday. The card features seven graded stakes events in total on the day. Along with the Forego Stakes, there are three other Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events: The Grade 1 Sword Dancer (Longines Turf), The Grade 1 Personal Ensign (Longines Distaff), and the Grade 1 Ballerina (Filly and Mare Sprint). Also on the card is the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, which will likely have a direct impact on the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue next Saturday at Saratoga with the prestigious Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The race serves as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Stakes.
The racing from Saratoga can be found live on two different national television networks throughout the day. The live on-site coverage starts on Fox Sports 2 with Saratoga Live from 1:00 – 4:00 PM ET before continuing on NBC from 4:00 – 6:00 PM ET.
The field for the Forego from the rail out includes: Limousine Liberal, Awesome Slew, Whitmore, Heartwood, No Dozing, C Z Rocket, Warrior’s Club, and City of Light.
#8 City of Light – Not long ago, he looked like one of the top sprinters in the country. He rounded out 2017 with an impressive win in the Malibu, then came right back to dominate the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes. After that win, he stretched out for the first time in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap, where he went toe-to-toe with top older male Accelerate and put him away to win by a neck. Most recently, he was third in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes, which prompted his connections to cut him back in distance for this race.
#1 Limousine Liberal – Before this season, most of his big-time efforts had come at Churchill Downs, but he has successfully taken his show on the road in 2018. He was third in the difficult Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicapbefore winning the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint(a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup TwinSpires Sprint) last time out over Whitmore. He returns here at the 7-furlong distance, which seems to be perfect for him.
#3 Whitmore – This classy 5-year-old has been running well for years now and comes into this spot off of back-to-back runner-up efforts in tough Grade 2 races. He was second to Imperial Hint in the Grade 2 True North Stakesby a neck, and that horse came back to dominate the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Stakesby several lengths. This 7-furlong distance seems to be right up his alley and he seems to be running better than ever.
#2 Awesome Slew – You can pretty much count on this horse to show up with a solid effort each time, having hit the board in 16 of 21 races overall. He was second in this race last yearbehind the run-away winner Drefong and also took third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He has certainly had little trouble finding the winner’s circle but is always competitive.
#6 C Z Rocket – This horse burst onto the scene with three straight victories against maiden and allowance company last year. Those wins earned him a shot in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakesat Santa Anita to end his season, but he was a well-beaten sixth in that spot. He struggled a bit in his 2018 debut at Churchill Downs, but he stayed there and rebounded with a win in the $75K Kelly’s Landing Stakes in his last start. That race should set him up for a nice effort here.
#7 Warrior’s Club – This Churchill Downs Racing Club-owned horse has been a dream come true for all of his owners, having now earned nearly $700K. Last time out, he was second in the Vanderbilt behind Imperial Hint to earn his first-ever Grade 1 placing, and he continues to improve with each start. The winner’s circle will be insane if this horse picks up the win here.
#4 Heartwood – This son of Tapit will give major stakes company another shot in this tough spot. He comes into this race off of two straight victories, including a $75K stakes race at Mountaineer in his most recent start. His last two efforts have been career bests for him, which could mean that he is ready to run much better this time around against tougher competition.
#5 No Dozing – As a 3-year-old, this horse ran in many top-quality races while hitting the board in several graded stakes events. After a fourth-place finish in the $100K City of Laurel Stakes last November, this son of Union Rags got a long break until July, when he impressively took home an allowance race here at Saratoga. That strong performance makes him an interesting prospect as he prepares to jump up to stakes company once again.
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