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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Bankit is back for another go at his first win of 2020 in Thursday’s John Morrissey Handicap at Saratoga, following a string of near-misses that litter his 2020 form.
The Morrissey is a 7-furlong dirt sprint restricted to New York-breds 3 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 5:46 PM Eastern.
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Here is a look at the full field for the Morrissey:
1. Pat On the Back 6/1 – He ran well in 2019, putting together a 6-3-0-2 record that saw him miss the board only once, in the Cigar Mile (G1) to end the season. His 2020 debut was a dull sixth in June’s Commentator Stakes, but the venerable 6-year-old should improve in his second start back.
2. Kazmania 30/1 – You have to go all the way back to last July to find his last victory, which came against New York-bred allowance foes. He has been a consistent trier on the Empire State circuit, but he failed to finish better than fifth in 4 prior tries against his own kind at the stakes level.
3. T Loves a Fight 15/1 – He either won or hit the board in 5 straight efforts last fall/winter, but he has not yet gotten back on track in his 2 starts since May. Those came against open company, so perhaps returning to the state-bred level will reawaken the talent that he showed in 2019 when putting together a 16-5-2-3 record.
4. Amundson 2/1 – The morning line favorite defeated fellow New York-breds in February’s Hollie Hughes Stakes, then hit the board in back-to-back sprints against open company optional claimers. He has looked like a new horse at age 4; every effort this year has earned him Beyer speed figures of 95, 95, and 97, which few in this field can match.
5. Bankit 3/1 – He has the talent and the class, but will today be the day that he finally heads back to the winner’s circle? He twice missed winning open company stakes by a head (twice) while wintering at Oaklawn Park and was a solid third in the Commentator Stakes last time out.
6. Funny Guy 5/2 – He pulled off an 11/1 upset in the Commentator Stakes while making his 2020 debut and is likely to build upon that effort in his second start off the bench. That was his third stakes score against fellow New York-breds and he retains the services of Joel Rosario, one of the nation’s strongest finishers.
7. Freaky Styley 30/1 – After 3 straight runner-up finishes, he broke his maiden last December and followed that with a first-level allowance score in February. Though he’s unraced since then, trainer Jorge Abreu is a respectable 11% with horses returning from similar layoffs and has won 4 of his past 13 shared mounts with Eric Cancel, aboard in his last start.
8. My Boy Tate 12/1 – He won 5 straight earlier in his career, beginning with his maiden and ending in back-to-back state-bred stakes. He finished second to Amundson in the Hollie Hughes earlier this year, but he needs to rebound from his most recent effort, which was a complete no-show eighth in the Commentator Stakes.
9. Celtic Chaos 12/1 – The defending champion fell off form considerably after taking last year’s edition, hitting the board just once in 4 subsequent starts. He is unraced since finishing last of six in January’s Say Florida Sandy Stakes against his fellow New York-breds, but trainer Brad Cox wins 18% with horses returning from extended layoffs.
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