SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Three Diamonds Farm’s Cross Border, who missed winning his past 2 graded stakes starts by a neck and a length, drops down to the state-bred level for Wednesday’s $85,000 Lubash Stakes at Saratoga.
New for 2020, the Lubash is a 1 1/16-mile outer turf route restricted to New York-breds ages 3 and up that have not won a stakes. The inaugural running attracted a field of six and has a local post time of 1:54 PM Eastern while slated as the third event on Wednesday’s 10-race card.
Here is a look at the full field for the Lubash:
1. Cross Border 1/2 – The overwhelming morning line favorite nearly earned his stakes stripes on July 4 in the Manhattan Stakes (G1), leading much of the race before getting outfinished and finishing fifth. Here, the Mike Maker trainee cuts back considerably from that 1 1/4-mile jaunt, keeps the ever-dangerous Jose Ortiz in the saddle, and returns to a track where he has won all 3 prior starts.
2. Yankee Division 4/1 – The field’s lone Main Track Only entry will need more than a spot of rain to fall in order for him to run here. He won a mile-long dirt sprint at Belmont Park on July 3 against state-bred allowance rivals, but his 2 prior wet track attempts saw him finish a combined 46 lengths behind the winners.
3. The J Y 10/1 – The hard-trying veteran earned a victory and a runner-up finish in his 2 starts against optional claiming state-breds last year, then had a decent fourth-place effort at the same level in his 2020 debut. He has yet to hit the board at Saratoga after 5 local appearances, but trainer Mark Hennig is 3-for-12 with horses making second starts after a layoff.
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4. Dante’s Fire 8/1 – The “other” Maker entry defeated fellow New York-breds at this same distance 3 races prior to his stablemate’s near-miss in the Manhattan. He earned a career-best 82 Beyer speed figure and should take another step forward in his third start after a six-month layoff – but is his ceiling high enough to topple the heavy favorite?
5. Rapt 12/1 – The longest shot on the morning line has not won on turf since July 4, 2017, and has not hit the board against his kinsmen since the 2018 Mohawk Stakes. He returned June 25 from a six-month layoff to finish third against open $40k claiming company at Belmont Park and has reason to improve in his second start back.
6. Blewitt 2/1 – After compiling a record of 11-4-3-0 on dirt, he makes his first competitive appearance on turf for trainer Todd Pletcher, who historically has a 14% strike rate with such moves. The lightly-raced Uncle Mo son returned to face New York-breds last time out in the Commentator Stakes, finishing fourth (beaten 2 lengths) after setting the pace.