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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – A pair of stakes winners for trainer Wesley Ward will each look to notch another score in their respective Saratoga Race Course debuts, as Into the Sunrise and Arrest Me Red compete as part of a competitive field of 3-year-olds in Wednesday’s $120,000 Mahony going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon turf course.
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The third running of the Mahony – named for Patrick Mahony, NYRA’s long-time senior vice president of mutuels who retired in 2016 after more than 50 years in the racing industry – will see M Racing Group’s Into the Sunrise look for this third consecutive win.
Last out, the Into Mischief gelding went gate to wire to capture the Dade Park Dash at the Mahony distance on July 4 at Ellis Park, building on his 1 1/2-length victory against allowance company in May over Belmont Park’s turf.
“He’s been training great,” Ward said. “He’s up here and been super. Once we gelded him last winter, because we didn’t think he’d go on to be a great stallion, we thought it would really help him, and it has. He’s been a real good turf sprinter this year.”
Into the Sunrise raced five times as a juvenile, breaking his maiden at second asking in his first start on turf last July at Ellis Park before graduating to stakes company in a runner-up effort in the Soaring Free in August at Woodbine. Ward moved him up to graded stakes competition, where he set the pace before fading to fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon (G2) in October at Keeneland.
After shortening to 5 1/2 furlongs on the same track for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), where he ran 13th, Ward gave Into the Sunrise a break of nearly 6 months. Following a fifth-place effort in the William Walker in April at Churchill that knocked off the rust, Into the Sunrise won at Belmont before his Ellis Park stakes win that netted him a personal-best 83 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He was always good. We tried him on dirt and he didn’t like that, so we moved to the turf and boom, he was gone,” Ward said. “He ran a beautiful race up in Canada in a stakes. He’s always been a really nice turf sprinter and we’re really looking forward to the Mahony.”
Into the Sunrise, purchased for $325,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, will have Irad Ortiz Jr. ride from the inside post.
Lael Stables’ Arrest Me Red will make his sophomore bow after an 8-month layoff following a 2020 that saw him win 2 of his 4 races, including his debut last August at Laurel Park for previous trainer Arnaud Delacour.
The son of Pioneerof the Nile ran fifth, just behind his future stablemate, in the Bourbon in his second start before posting a 2-length victory in the 6-furlong Atlantic Beach in November at Aqueduct Racetrack. Arrest Me Red was then switched to the main track for the first time, running fifth in the Inaugural in December at Tampa Bay Downs to close the curtain on his juvenile campaign.
With Ward taking over the training duties, Arrest Me Red arrived from Keeneland and has breezed 3 times over the Saratoga Oklahoma training turf, inspiring his conditioner to bring him back in against challenging company.
“I got the horse and didn’t know a lot about him, he kind of came in on the blind,” Ward said. “He had a couple of average works – maybe even below average – on the dirt. I moved him to Saratoga and I worked him on the grass and man, they were eye-openers. It inspired me to go in the stake. If we can get lucky and win that, it would mean a lot.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride Arrest Me Red from post 8. Ward also entered Fire Sword for the main track only.
Arrest Me Red apprehends first stakes win with Atlantic Beach score
Ironhorse Racing Stable and Tami Bobo’s Momos, trained by the French-born Christophe Clement, ran a strong second in the aptly-named My Frenchman last out in his return to the grass, finishing just a neck behind Ward trainee Chasing Artie in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over a yielding Monmouth turf course on July 11.
Momos won on the Monmouth main track in his 3-year-old opener in May. The Distorted Humor colt has been a versatile dual-surface threat in his young 6-race career, winning his debut over the Saratoga main last July before running third in the Saratoga Special (G2) on the same track.
First out on turf, Momos finished third in the Futurity (G3) in October at Belmont before posting a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint a month later to close out his year.
“Momos is doing well. He’s a fun horse,” Clement said. “He’s always been very consistent and an honest kind of a horse. He tries very hard and I’m excited to see him run next week, but it won’t be easy. It’s a stakes, so it’s very competitive, but we deserve a shot.”
Manny Franco will have the assignment from post 7.
Multiple stakes winner Jaxon Traveler ran third in the Quick Call (G3) here on July 15 in his turf debut and will wheel back less than a month later for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner, Jaxon Traveler started his career with 3 consecutive victories, including the Maryland Juvenile Futurity in December at Laurel Park. The ultra-consistent Munnings colt commenced 2021 in similarly strong fashion, running second in the Gazebo before winning the Bachelor in April, with both races at Oaklawn Park.
Jaxon Traveler (4-3-1 overall in 8 starts) ran second in the Chick Lang (G3) in May over Pimlico’s main track before running second in June’s Woodstock over Woodbine’s Tapeta surface in June. Asmussen ran him on grass last out in the 5 1/2-furlong Quick Call over good going. Jaxon Traveler drew post 4 with Jose Ortiz aboard.
Golden Pal Puts On A Show In Quick Call
Rounding out the field is Awesome Gerry, marking his first turf start after going 2-1-2 in 10 starts for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. (post 6, Tyler Gaffalione); Rebel Posse, fourth in the Quick Call in his stakes debut, with trainer H. James Bond taking over the conditioning responsibilities for the first time (post 9, Jose Lezcano); Sky’s Not Falling, the last-out runner-up in the Meadow Stable in July at Colonial Downs for trainer Michael Trombetta (post 3, Luis Saez); and Fauci, making his first Saratoga start, for trainer Philip Antonacci (post 2, Ricardo Santana Jr.).
The Mahony is slated as race 9 on the 10-race card. First post is 1:05 PM. Eastern.
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