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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro, and James Klein’s Ocala Dream will see an extra 1/8 of a mile when targeting a second career stakes win in Wednesday’s 18th running of the $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway for eligible New York-sired sophomores going 1 mile over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.
The NYSSS Cab Calloway, which honors the late jazz musician and big band leader, is 1 of 2 stakes events on Wednesday’s program, bolstered by the $200,000 Honorable Miss (G2) for fillies and mares going 6 furlongs over the main track.
Ocala Dream arrives at the NYSSS Cab Calloway off a victory in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid on June 19 at Belmont Park going 7 furlongs. The son of the late Effinex settled comfortably in third down the backstretch before angling out a path and establishing command in upper stretch to win by 1 length.
He notched his highest Beyer Speed Figure with an 83 in his previous maiden special weight victory at 1 1/16 miles over the Widener turf when breaking sharply, taking back to third along the rail, and collaring pacesetter Bar Fourteen in the final furlong to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
After making his debut over the main track last June at Belmont Park, Ocala Dream faced open company finishing a good fourth to subsequent stakes-placed Zippy Baby at 58/1 odds last July at Saratoga. He emerged off a 9-month layoff in April when a good third against his New York-bred counterparts at Belmont Park.
“He’s always been a colt that we’ve thought a lot of,” Morley said. “He ran extremely well in his second start last year going long on the turf in an open company maiden. He picked up a bit of a knock training for a maiden at the end of the meet, so being state-bred and a grass horse we put him away for the winter and brought him back earlier this year.”
Morley said Ocala Dream was more poised second time off the layoff.
“I’m not big on tuning these horses up to win first time off the bench so I was pleased to see him finish third,” Morley said. “He was very, very good in his maiden victory. I was little concerned about cutting back to 7/8 at Belmont, but (jockey) Junior (Alvarado) gave me all the confidence in the world that the horse would put himself in a good position and seven furlongs wouldn’t be a problem.”
Ocala Dream will see two turns for the first time since running at Saratoga last year.
“The nice thing about Wednesday is that we’ve already gone two turns and he’s run well here going two turns before,” Morley said. “He’s a very cool customer. He’ll put himself in a good position.”
Ocala Dream was bred by Mahwhinney, Lieberman, Beglin & Coutsodontis and was bought for $50,000 at the 2020 OBS March Sale, where he was consigned by Daylight Farm Racing and Sales.
Alvarado, who has piloted Ocala Dream to both lifetime victories, retains the mount from post 4.
Bell’s The One Headlines Honorable Miss
Trainer Barclay Tagg sends out Step Dancer, who bested open company in the Awad in October at Belmont Park.
Owned by Hayward R. Pressman and Diamond M Stable, the son of War Dancer was a late-closing second in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid last out after finishing a close third by a neck in a New York-bred allowance optional claimer on May 13 at Belmont Park.
Step Dancer, trained by Barclay Tagg, was a 24/1 winner on debut over the Mellon turf course going 1 1/16 miles before finishing third in the Pilgrim (G2) in October at Belmont Park.
Jockey Dylan Davis has never finished off the board when riding Step Dancer and will retain the mount for Wednesday’s engagement.
“He’s a young horse and he’s still learning a little bit,” said Tagg, who saddled 2008 winner Doc N Roll. “Dylan rides him perfectly. He likes him and gets along with him and the owner likes him.”
Step Dancer, bred by Sugar Plum Farm and Richard Pressman, breaks from post 6.
Completing the field are Dreamer’s Disease (post 1, David Cohen), It’s Gravy (post 2, Joel Rosario), Tales of Saratoga (post 3, Jose Ortiz), Gator Bite (post 7, Jose Lezcano), Barrage (post 8, Irad Ortiz Jr.), and Devious Mo (post 9, Luis Saez). Market Alert (post 5) has been entered for main track only.
The NYSSS Cab Calloway is slated as race 3 on Wednesday’s 10-race card, which offers a first post of 1:05 PM Eastern.
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