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Mike previews the 2022 Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga, then gives his top picks and longshots. Always tough to beat in turf sprints, trainer Wesley Ward aims at winning his 3rd straight Skidmore title with No Nay Hudson, but is he a lock while making his debut on grass? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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The track press release:
Andrew Farm and For the People Racing’s No Nay Hudson will make his turf debut as he looks to give trainer Wesley Ward his third consecutive score in Friday’s $150,000 Skidmore, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for juveniles at Saratoga Race Course.
Ward won the 2020 renewal with eventual dual Breeders’ Cup-winner Golden Pal and followed last year with the filly Averly Jane. No Nay Hudson, by the Group 1-winning Ward trainee No Nay Never, posted a four-length debut win sprinting 4 1/2-furlongs in April at Keeneland and followed with a troubled fourth last out in the 5 1/2-furlong Tremont on June 9 at Belmont Park.
No Nay Hudson is out of the graded stakes-winning Malibu Moon mare Raw Silk, who captured the 2008 Grade 2 Sands Point at nine furlongs over the Belmont turf.
Ward said No Nay Hudson has trained favorably over the Oklahoma training turf, including a five-eighths breeze in 1:00.96 on August 7. Hall of Famer John Velazquez was aboard No Nay Hudson who went in company with Group 2-winning colt Asymmetric, who was piloted by Luis Saez.
“Johnny V. worked him against a real nice 3-year-old last week named Asymmetric, who broke off a few lengths behind No Nay Hudson and tracked,” Ward said. “Luis eased his horse out down the lane and came to Johnny on this colt and then Johnny drew away.”
Ward said the $190,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase will be looking for firm footing.
“Any give in the ground, he wouldn’t care for that,” Ward said. “We worked him on a soft course here at Keeneland and he just didn’t finish up like we expected. We’re looking for sunshine on the day he runs.”
Velazquez will pilot No Nay Hudson from post 4.
Klaravich Stables’ Appraise, an Irish-bred son of Kodiac, posted a head score in his July 22 debut sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs at the Spa.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown and expertly piloted by Manny Franco, Appraise settled in third behind dueling rivals Clubhouse and Alibi Ike through splits of 21.28 seconds and 44.56 before taking over in upper stretch and holding off the late charge of Inflation Nation to stop the clock in 1:02.49. The winning effort garnered a 74 Beyer Speed Figure.
Franco retains the mount aboard the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale purchase from post 8.
Brown will also send out impressive debut maiden winner Oxymore for his first outing since he was privately purchased by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Morris Bailey and William Rucker after his 6 1/2-length score on July 1 at Belmont Park for previous owner/trainer Adam Rice. He earned a field-best 78 Beyer for the victory.
The son of Astern worked a half-mile over the main track in 49 seconds on Saturday. He will emerge from post 3 with returning rider Jose Ortiz in the irons.
Michael Hui’s Fadethenoise drew off to a six-length score at second asking when making his turf debut in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on July 16 at Ellis Park. Trained by Mike Maker, the Mendelssohn chestnut garnered a 65 Beyer for the impressive coup.
A Kentucky homebred, Fadethenoise is out of the Stay Thirsty mare Hey Paige, who is a half-sister to 2015 Grade 1 Frizette-winner Nickname.
Flavien Prat will ride from post 2.
Maker’s other entrant, Bourbon Therapy, was a last out maiden winner on June 27 at Horseshoe Indianapolis for previous trainer and co-owner John Ennis. The son of Free Drop Billy will be making both his first start for Maker and his first appearance in the Empire State. He was a $40,000 purchase by Three Diamonds Farm at the Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age Sale in July.
Luis Saez has the call from post 9.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will send out Private Creed for his stakes debut after graduating at first asking in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden on July 30 over the Ellis Park lawn. The son of Jimmy Creed closed from 4 1/2 lengths back to score the 1 1/4-length victory in a final time of 1:04.71.
Owned by Mike McCarty, Private Creed will emerge from post 5 with Ricardo Santana, Jr. aboard.
Rounding out the field are Jeremy’s Jet [post 1, Jose Lezcano,] Noble Huntsman [post 6, Javier Castellano], Prove Right [post 7, Trevor McCarthy], and Cadillac Candy [post 10, Tyler Gaffalione].
The Skidmore is slated as Race 10 on Friday’s 10-race program, which also features the $135,000 Summer Colony in Race 8. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
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