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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – State-breds will take center stage Friday at Saratoga Race Course, with an 11-race card offering a half-dozen stakes for horses bred in the Empire State comprising New York Showcase Day.
Friday’s card is headlined by the $250,000 Albany, a 1 1/8-mile main track contest for sophomores in Race 9. The lucrative card will include the $200,000 Fleet Indian for sophomore fillies going 1 1/8 miles in Race 7; the $200,000 Funny Cide, presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, for 2-year-olds sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track in Race 4; the $200,000 Seeking the Ante for 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs in Race 2; the $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf in Race 8; and the $150,000 Yaddo, a handicap for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course in Race 10. The 6 stakes are worth a combined $1.15 million.
“Saratoga New York Showcase Day is the flagship event on the calendar for our state’s breeders and owners,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. “We’re proud to partner with NYRA to feature an all New York-bred card at the premier racing meet in the country with competitive fields, lucrative purses and six state-bred stakes totaling $1.15 million. This day is a culmination of the hard work our breeders and everyone involved in the New York-bred program do daily to make our program great. It also highlights the advantages of breeding and owning state-breds in New York.”
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Trainer Christophe Clement will be represented by five horses across four stakes on the card, including Senbei (Funny Cide), Pay Grade (Fleet Indian), and Classic Lady (Yaddo), along with Therapist and City Man in the West Point.
“It’s a big deal,” Clement said of the all state-bred card. “I’ve got a quite a few New York-breds and with the clients we have and the money we have to spend, we concentrate on the New York-breds because we have a better chance to get a stakes horse in the division.”
In the featured Albany, Americanrevolution (post 2, Luis Saez) will look to continue his upward trajectory following a 7 ¼-length victory in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes.
The son of Constitution handled his two-turn debut with flying colors, arriving at the New York Derby off a narrow triumph against next-out winner Water’s Edge in a June 20 maiden event going six furlongs at Belmont Park.
Trainer Kelly Breen will saddle two contenders for Ron Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stable in It’s a Gamble (post 1, John Velazquez) and It’s Gravy (post 9, Joel Rosario).
It’s a Gamble, a son of English Channel, earned an open company stakes victory when capturing an off-the-turf edition of the Jersey Derby on May 28 at Monmouth Park. The three-time winner broke his maiden over the Mellon turf last summer at Saratoga and defeated winners over the Aqueduct outer turf in the final start of his 2-year-old season.
It’s Gravy, by Freud, is in search of his first victory since breaking his maiden on January 16 over a muddy and sealed main track at Aqueduct. The bay gelding arrives off of a third-place finish in the NYSSS Cab Calloway on July 28 at Saratoga.
Completing the field are Purple Hearted (post 3, Eric Cancel), Bingo John (post 4, Manny Franco), Bobby Bo (post 5, Flavien Prat), Anejo (post 6, Junior Alvarado), Joey Loose Lips (post 7, Irad Ortiz, Jr.) and Our Man Mike (post 8, Jose Ortiz).
Stakes action will kick off in Race 2 with CJ Thoroughbreds’ stakes-winner Miss Alacrity (post 1, John Velazquez) looking to stay undefeated when headlining the Seeking the Ante.
Miss Alacrity, bred by Milfer Farm, dominated in her debut with a 10-length score in May over the Belmont Park main track. Moved to turf last out, the Munnings filly drew away to a 2 3/4-length score in the Colleen on August 1 at Monmouth. Ward will switch her back to the main track on Friday.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will send out Stonestreet Stables’ Velvet Sister (post 6, Joel Rosario), a 9 3/4-length debut winner in June at Belmont, for her second stakes appearance after running fourth in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on July 15 at the Spa. Velvet Sister was a $500,000 purchase at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
Also in the field is Joseph Bucci’s Laoban’s Legacy (post 2, Irad Ortiz, Jr.), a 7 3/4-length debut winner for trainer Jeremiah Englehart; McConnell Racing Stable and Darlene Bilinski’s Hideout (post 5, Eric Cancel), making her stakes debut for trainer Wayne Potts; November Rein (post 3, Jose Ortiz), who broke her maiden at second asking on July 16 here for conditioner Kelly Breen; and Succulent (post 4, Dylan Davis), looking for her first win, for trainer Phil Gleaves.
In the Funny Cide, Senbei (post 1, Manny Franco), a first-out winner by 4 3/4 lengths on July 18 for Clement, will take the step up in class. The Candy Ride colt, owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Darlene Bilinski and bred by Dr. Jerry Bilinski, earned a 73 Beyer for his victory last month.
“He’s doing well,” Clement said. “He’s still very tender and very green.”
Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso’s Run Curtis Run (post 7, Jose Ortiz) will put his 2-for-2 streak on the line for trainer Mike Maker. The son of Summer Front followed his debut win on July 2 at Belmont with a 3 3/4-length victory in the Rick Violette for state breds on July 21 in his Saratoga bow.
Other contenders include the Robertino Diodoro-trained Happy Happy B (post 2, David Cohen); Shipsational (post 3, Luis Saez), a 6 3/4-length first-out winner last month at the Spa for Edward Barker; Montebello (post 5, John Velazquez), a $400,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Sale for Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert; Daufuskie Island (post 8, Dylan Davis), an Englehart trainee who won by five lengths on August 12 here; Bourbon’s Hope (post 6, Joel Rosario), a winner on July 9 at Belmont, for trainer Charlton Baker; and Who Hoo That’s Me (post 4, Ricardo Santana, Jr.), trained by Jorge Abreu.
The Fleet Indian will see A Little Bit O’ Irish Sass (post 5, Luis Saez) attempt a third consecutive triumph for trainer Richard Schosberg. The gray or roan daughter of Laoban broke her maiden over next-out winners Raffinity and Epona’s Dream over a sloppy and sealed main track on July 2 at Belmont Park en route to a score in the New York Oaks on July 26 at Finger Lakes.
Gary Barber’s Make Mischief (post 9, Irad Ortiz, Jr.) brings open company class to the Fleet Indian field, having secured graded stakes black type in this year’s Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, the daughter of leading sire Into Mischief captured the Maddie May on February 20 at Aqueduct in her lone stakes coup.
Clement will saddle two-time winner Pay Grade for owner Robert Evans. The daughter of Tonalist, also trained by Clement and owned by Evans, defeated winners last out on July 10 at Belmont Park going a one turn mile. Pay Grade broke her maiden at third asking on March 26 going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct.
“Pay Grade is coming into this race very well,” Clement said.
Jockey Eric Cancel, aboard for both victories, will retain the mount from post 2.
Completing the field are Betsy Blue (post 1, Jose Ortiz), Byhubbyhellomoney (post 3, Joel Rosario), Out First (post 4, Jose Lezcano), U Guys Are No Fun (post 6, Andre Worrie), Epona’s Dream (post 7, Dylan Davis) and Coffee Bar (post 8, Flavien Prat).
Bond Racing Stable’s graded-stakes winner Rinaldi (post 2, Luis Saez), last-out winner of the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 16 at the Spa, will look to defend his title in the 42nd running of the West Point presented by Trustco Bank.
Clement will saddle a strong pair of graded-stakes placed veteran turfers in Oak Bluff Stables 6-year-old homebred Therapist (post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr.) and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ 4-year-old City Man (post 7, Rosario).
“We know them very well at this point, they’ve been around forever,” Clement said of the veteran duo. “It won’t be an easy race but they are both doing very well.”
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher sends out a strong pair for Repole Stable in Grade 1-placed Mo Ready (post 8, Flavien Prat) and three-time winner Microsecond (post 4, Jose Ortiz). Rounding out the field are Graded On a Curve (post 3, Javier Castellano), Lord Flintshire (post 5, Dylan Davis) and Sanctuary City (post 6, Manny Franco).
A loaded field of 10 line up for the Yaddo headlined by Lawrence Goichman homebred Myhartblongstodady (post 3, Jose Lezcano), who returns to defend her title after scoring gate-to-wire last summer. The 6-year-old Scat Daddy bay, trained by Jorge Abreu, boasts a record of 13-5-2-3 with purse earnings of $344,216.
Strong opposition will be provided by Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ Clement-trained Classic Lady (post 2, Joel Rosario), who finished third in last year’s Yaddo and didn’t re-surface until a fourth-place finish last out on July 31 in an open optional-claiming event on the Monmouth Park turf.
Rounding out the field are Dancingwthdaffodls (post 1, Dylan Davis), Giacosa (post 4, Luis Saez), Kreesie (post 5, John Velazquez), Chocolate Cookie (post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr.), Mike’s Girl (post 7, Ricardo Santana, Jr.), Pecatonica (post 8, Javier Castellano), Dancing Kiki (post 9, Jose Ortiz) and Kilkea (post 10, Flavien Prat).
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