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Ward Sends Two For Wide Open Bolton Landing
Poppy Flower (Credit: NYRA)

Ward Sends Two For Wide Open Bolton Landing

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Two contenders from the barn of trainer Wesley Ward will try to rise up into the stakes ranks as part of a large field assembled for Wednesday’s seventh running of the $120,000 Bolton Landing for 2-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.

Ward, a 3-time winner of the Bolton Landing (a race named after a town 38 miles north of Saratoga), will send out maiden winners Poppy Flower (post 5, Jose Ortiz) and Chi Town Lady (post 9, John Velazquez).

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Owned by Arnmore Thoroughbreds, Poppy Flower ensured the third time the charm when leading at every point of call in a 6-furlong maiden special weight on June 20 over the Widener turf at Belmont Park. In her previous effort, she was a distant second to stablemate Twilight Gleaming, who subsequently finished second in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot on June 16 and won the Prix de la Vallee d’Auge on August 7 at Deauville.

Since late July, Poppy Flower has worked consistently over the Oklahoma training turf course. The chestnut daughter of Lea recently went 4 furlongs in 48.24 seconds.

“I think she gets better as she gets older,” Ward said. “She’s been there and kind of a hardy filly. Never had any issues to do deal with and keeps getting better every start. We’re hoping we have a little luck.”

Bred by Brenda Harding and Megan Jones, Poppy Flower is out of the stakes-placed Excellent Art mare Nisharora.

While Poppy Flower has several starts under her belt, Castleton Lyons’ Chi Town Lady graduated on debut, capturing a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on April 11 at Keeneland.

“She had a little bit of shin issues after that first race,” Ward said. “Now, she’s back and ready to go and we got our man Johnny V back on her. Hopefully, we have a little luck with her as well.”

Bred in Kentucky by her owners in partnership with Kilboy Estate and Gavin Tierney, Chi Town Lady is the third progeny out of the dual stakes-placed Harlan’s Holiday mare Toni’s Hollyday.

Ward has also entered Averly Lane and Golden Bell for the main track only.

Also saddling a pair of contenders is trainer Tom Amoss, who will debut Jeff Ganje’s Cartel Queen on the grass in her fourth start while sending out Ellis Park turf maiden winner Kneesnhips for owner Joel Politi.

Kneesnhips, a dark bay or brown daughter of freshman stallion Connect, made up considerable ground in her debut win on July 4 where she scored as the lukewarm favorite, defeating next-out winner My Dawn.

“She worked (Friday) morning on the dirt course even though we’re looking at her for the grass, and it went well,” Amoss said. “She ran great that first race. She didn’t have a lot of speed that day at Ellis Park, but she stayed near the rail, which a lot of horses don’t want to do. Everything went well.”

Kneesnhips will break from post 7 under Eric Cancel.

Following a distant fifth in the Schuylerville (G3) on the Spa’s Opening Day, Amoss searches for new tactics with Cartel Queen.

The dark bay or brown daughter of Cairo Prince sported blinkers for the first time in the Schuylerville, which came after a 2 1/4-length score at second asking going 5 furlongs at Churchill Downs.

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione will ride from post 1.

Trainer Christophe Clement will saddle New York-bred maiden winner Derrynane after a 2-length maiden score at first asking. Owned and bred by Waterville Lake Stable, the bay daughter of champion-producing stallion Quality Road was a 2-length state-bred maiden winner on debut going the Bolton Landing distance on July 22 at the Spa.

“She ran well first time out, it’s a bit ambitious but we deserve to be ambitious,” Clement said. “She took her last race really well and has been training forwardly. We’d like to get some black type early on with her.”

Jockey Joel Rosario, a 5-time stakes winner this meet, will pilot Derrynane once more from post 3.

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse will send out 4-length maiden winner Fulminate after a never-in-doubt romp on July 16 at Gulfstream Park.

Previously owned by Quintessential Racing Florida, Fulminate was privately purchased by Gary Barber, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Wachtel Stable following her last start.

Jockey Luis Saez, who leads all riders in stakes wins this meet, will ride from post 8.

Completing the field are first-out Belmont maiden winner Charlee O (post 2, Manny Franco), William J. Butler’s New York homebred Flip My Id (post 4, Irad Ortiz Jr.), Stand Up Comic (post 6, Jose Lezcano) – unbeaten in 2 starts over the main track – and maiden winner Landslid (post 10, Benjamin Hernandez).

The Bolton Landing is carded as race 9 on Wednesday’s 10-race program at Saratoga Race Course. First post is 1:05 PM.

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