Close menu
Saratoga Special Preview: Cazadero Tops Meet’s First Juvenile Graded Stakes
Cazadero winning the Bashford Manor (Credit: Coady Photography)

Saratoga Special Preview: Cazadero Tops Meet’s First Juvenile Graded Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Saratoga meet’s first graded event for juveniles kicks off when 11 well-meant young males – topped by the red-hot Cazadero – enter the gate for Friday’s $150,000 Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite (G2).

The Saratoga Special is a 6-furlong dirt sprint restricted to 2-year-olds that will run Lasix-free for the first time. This year’s edition is scheduled to go off at 5:46 PM Eastern as the penultimate event on a 10-race card.

( Content Continues Below Ad )

Here is a look at the full field for the Saratoga Special:

1. Papetu 10/1 – He joins the morning line favorite as the only two runners with multiple wins heading into this event, courtesy of his twin Gulfstream Park sprint scores in late June and early July. His Beyer speed figures improved greatly from his first start (64) to his second (75), but he will likely need a similar level of improvement to spring the upset here.

2. Hold the Salsa 20/1 – He blew up the tote at 26/1 in his debut at Belmont Park on July 12, defeating fellow New York-breds by over 2 lengths. He will need to make a significant jump in speed figures as he makes his second career start, but that sort of improvement can easily occur in juveniles.

3. Garoppolo 15/1 – He struggled while debuting on a good (sealed) Belmont Park main track on June 3, but he caught fast dirt a month later and showed off his talent with a visually-impresive victory. Luis Saez, aboard for the maiden-breaking effort, retains the mount for trainer Kelly Breen, who has two entered here and enjoys a 26% win rate with 2-year-olds since 2019.

4. Caramel Chip 50/1 – He can be forgiven for his complete misfire on debut in June (not an uncommon result for early-seson juveniles), especially because he returned to win just nine days later. Both wins came while running for a claiming tag, and he had to drop to the $25k level to get the victory, so this is will be a major class test.

5. Pickin’ Time 20/1 – The second entry from the Breen barn was an unsurprising victor on debut, defeating his rivals by 1 3/4 lengths as the 3/5 favorite. The New Jersey-bred Stay Thirsty colt has three consecutive strong local works on his resume since then and has every right to improve upon the 50 Beyer speed figure that he earned in his lone start.

Check our Handicapping Products page to find out who and how we are playing this and every race on the card!

6. Cazadero 5/2 – The Stonestreet Stables homebred has looked unstoppable in his first 2 starts, defeating maiden special weight foes on debut by over 8 lengths before trouncing the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) by nearly 5 lengths. The Street Sense colt has continued working well since arriving to Saratoga and looks ultra-tough no matter how you slice it.

“It’s nice to have a couple of races under his belt heading into a race like this at Saratoga,” said Asmussen’s chief assistant Scott Blasi. “He came in very well-respected and hasn’t done anything wrong yet.”

7. Momos 6/1 – He blew his rivals off their feet in his debut, winning a 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the Saratoga dirt by over 6 lengths and earning a 76 Beyer speed figure. More impressively, he was never asked to run, so if he takes a step forward with that start over the local strip under his belt, he could pose a serious threat to the favorite.

8. Market Alert 20/1 – He defeated fellow New York-breds by over 3 lengths at Belmont Park on June 19 to win his career unveiling, defeating a next-out winner in the process. He’ll need to improve upon the 59 Beyer speed figure that he earned for his efforts, but underrated rider Jose Lezcano staying aboard is a vote of confidence in his corner.

9. Therideofalifetime 4/1 – He lost his debut to a familiar rival in mid-June, but he returned a month later and completely decimated a Keeneland maiden special weight field by over 8 lengths. Jose Ortiz retains the mount on the Candy Ride colt, who earned a field-best 85 Beyer speed figure in victory.

10. Jackie’s Warrior 7/2 – The “other” Asmussen entry did nothing wrong on debut, defeating Therideofalifetime and five others at Churchill Downs to earn an 81 Beyer speed figure. Though Asmussen’s first-call rider (Ricardo Santana, Jr.) is staying aboard Cazadero, this Maclean’s Music colt attracted jockey Joel Rosario, currently second among riders in wins (23) this meet.

“It was a very impressive maiden special weight at Churchill,” Blasi said. “Fast times and talented horses as well. With these babies, you just have to get some experience in them and hope that they continue to move forward.”

11. Roderick 6/1 – He will scratch in favor of running in Saturday’s Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.

Join the Inner Circle

Sign up for exclusive 10% discount on orders, plus be the first to access our daily free and premium horse racing picks, articles, podcasts, and more!

Sign Up