Saratoga: Starlight firing both barrels in today's Hopeful
SARATOGA SPRINGS To Starlight Racing, separating Lawn Man from his stablemate, Shanghai Bobby, is less important than not separating him from his home ground.
Lawn Man was entered in the Sapling at Monmouth Park on Sunday, but scratched so that he can run in the Grade II Hopeful with stablemate Shanghai Bobby as the 144th Saratoga Race Course meet closes today.
Usually, owners prefer not to run their horses against each other in big races, especially when there’s a clear alternative, as is the case with these two 2-year-old colts for Starlight, whose managing partners are Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg and Jack Wolf of Saratoga Springs.
Lawn Man, a son of Flatter out of the Go for Gin mare Holly Park, broke his maiden by 41⁄2 lengths at 10-1 first time out at Saratoga on July 28, the second day in a row that Starlight had a debut winner. Park City won the day before.
Lawn Man is 7-2 on the morning line for the Hopeful, coupled with Shanghai Bobby.
“It’s still early and he’s still figuring things out, so we thought it was better to keep him here, where he knows his surroundings and he’s already won on the track, rather than shipping him to New Jersey and racing him on a track he doesn’t know,” Lucarelli said.
First post is 12:30 p.m., and grandstand and clubhouse admission are free as part of Fan Appreciation Day.
The card also includes the Grade III Glens Falls on the turf for for fillies and mares.
There won’t be any drama in the trainer and jockey title chases this year, as Todd Pletcher clinched his ninth training meet championship on Saturday, and Ramon Dominguez broke the record for wins by a jockey on Sunday.
Except for a few Starlight horses based in the Midwest, Pletcher trains all of the stable’s horses, including Lawn Man and Shanghai Bobby. He also has Repole Stable’s Overanalyze, an impressive debut winner at Saratoga on Aug. 9, in the Hopeful.
The 5-2 favorite is the coupled entry of Vegas No Show and Bern Identity, who broke his maiden by 133⁄4 lengths at Belmont Park on June 1, then won the Grade II Sanford on opening weekend.
Also in the field is Godolphin Racing’s Fortify, who debuted with a smashing 51⁄2-length win at Saratoga on Aug. 4.
Starlight wouldn’t have been in position to run both of its colts against each other if the original schedule hadn’t been altered by a fever suffered by Shanghai Bobby the morning of the Saratoga
He’s undefeated in two starts and, besides Bern Identity, is the other stakes winner in the Hopeful field, having won the listed Track Barron at Belmont on June 27.
The last time Hit It Rich had a bad result in a race, it was at Saratoga a year ago, but she’s been very consistent since then and appears to be a deserving 7-5 favorite for the Grade III Glens Falls for fillies and mares 3 and up on the Hopeful undercard.
The Glens Falls will be run at a mile and three-eighths on the inner turf course.
Stuart Janney’s Hit It Rich, trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Javier Castellano, was eighth in the Paris Opera at Saratoga a year ago.
She’s only a few lengths away from being undefeated in six starts since.
The daughter of Smart Strike started her 2012 season by finishing second by half a length to Snow Top Mountain in the Suwanee River at Gulfstream Park, then won the Grade III Orchid at Gulfstream.
She just missed in finishing second to Aruna in the Grade I Sheepshead Bay and was a length and a half back in third behind Mystical Star and Aruna in the Grade II New York.