SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Abdullah Saeed Almaddah’s Green Mask conquered a field of six other foes in Sunday’s $250,000 Troy Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.
Green Mask stalked the early pace set by Pure Sensation and Bold Thunder through fractions of :21.76 and :43.91. As the field exited the far turn, Castellano moved Green Mask outside of the frontrunners and set him down for the drive home. Green Mask kicked away clear and crossed the line under a brisk hand ride 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Holding Gold and Long On Value.
“It was a great setup,” Cox said. “He broke extremely sharp. Javier did a good job letting the two in front duke it out on the front end, and it set up great. Javier just fits him really well.”
The 6-year-old Brad Cox trainee completed the 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint in 1:00.49 under jockey Javier Castellano, just 0.03 shy of the track record that Lady Shipman set in 2015.
“In the backside, we were rolling because I could feel the breeze coming right in my face, and I was like, ‘Whoa, we’re going fast,'” Castellano said. “Before you know it, they’re going to come back to you, and you have to be very aware in the situation. You don’t want to be behind horses. I used my best judgement. I felt I had the best horse in the race, and I put him outside and just let him roll.”
Undrafted, Mongolian Saturday, Pure Sensation, and Bold Thunder completed the order of finish. Doctor J Dub and Weekend Hideaway were main-track-only entrants.
Green Mask’s win was his third in 2017 after previously taking the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill and the Grade 2 Highlander at Woodbine. The winner’s share of $150,000 pushed his career earnings to $1,064,761. The newly-minted millionaire’s connections will now begin preparations for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in early November.
“From here, we’ll take a look at the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, and then maybe the 5 1/2 (furlong race) at Keeneland, as well,” Cox said. “We’ll take a look at both of them. I believe they’re both three weeks out from the Breeders’ Cup. He can come back on short rest. We definitely want him sharp on Breeders’ Cup Day, so we’ll let him tell us where he’s at, but it’s possible he could make another start before Breeders’ Cup.”
Green Mask paid $5 to win, $2.90 to place, and $2.30 to show. Holding Gold paid $4.40 to place and $3.20 to show, while Long On Value paid $4 to show.