Saratoga: Adirondack devoid of New York runners
SARATOGA SPRINGS There’s a filly entered in the Grade II Adirondack at Saratoga Race Course today named Who’s in Town.
If that’s a question, the answer is: Nobody from town.
Despite a $100,000 bonus to entice New York-based horses to run in juvenile graded stakes on the NYRA circuit, none of the seven fillies in the field for the Adirondack has raced in New York, much less broken their maiden, which is a requirement of the bonus.
Remarkably, trainer Todd Pletcher doesn’t have a horse entered in the Adirondack, after winning it three times in the last seven years with Kauai Katie, Position Limit and Octave. He does have two — Corfu and Danza — in today’s companion stakes for colts, the Grade II Saratoga Special, however.
The 7-5 morning-line favorite for the Adirondack is Fiftyshadesofgold off an eight-length win in the listed Debutante at Churchill Downs in June, after a 10-length maiden win at Lone Star.
In fact, the seven Adirondack fillies have broken their maiden at seven different tracks outside New York.
The grey/roan Fiftyshadesofgold debuted at five furlongs and was just as impressive at six in the Debutante, beating big fields both times.
She’s by My Golden Song out of the Hadif mare Hadif Cat.
“She’s very fast,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “What excites me the most is how she might be able to carry her speed. She has a high cruising speed and has a good mind. I was surprised she was that close to a hot pace in the Debutante, but she was able to put them away. I think everybody dreams of having a horse like that.”
The second choice in the Adirondack is Untapable, a Tapit filly who broke her maiden by a length at Churchill Downs in June, and trainer Michael Matz has the third choice, Who’s in Town, who debuted at Delaware Park 26 days ago.
“She looks real good, doesn’t she?” Matz said of Fiftyshadesofgold. “We were happy the way she [Who’s in Town] ran down at Delaware. It wasn’t that big of a field, but she did it awfully nice. I spoke with [owner] Mr. [Richard] Golden, and when I saw the Schuylerville, they went so slow the last eighth of a mile, so we said, ‘Let’s give it a try.’ ”
The bay Who’s in Town is by the champion sprinter Speightstown out of the Cozzene mare Who’s Cozy.
Ridden by Alex Cintron, she beat a small field at Delaware Park on July 15, but the runner-up, Con Gee, who was four lengths back, came back to win at Saratoga on Thursday. Who’s in Town will be ridden by Joel Rosario in the Adirondack.
“I don’t know what she beat, but she did it pretty handily,” Matz said. “She was very professional. She was on the one hole, he took her back, went to the outside and she galloped out real strong. I think, being out of a Cozzene mare, the six-and-a-half [furlongs] should absolutely be no problem.
“She’s a nice-looking filly, she behaves herself well and it is a big jump, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
The Adirondack will be the ninth race on the program and followed by the Saratoga Special, which has also drawn a field of seven.
Of those, five broke their maiden in New York, and one, Wired Bryan, has already cashed a $100,000 bonus with a debut win at Belmont Park followed by a win in the Grade II Sanford on opening weekend.
Trainer Michael Dilger, a former Pletcher assistant, became a head trainer in January and had started just 22 horses through Saturday.
He’s wheeling Wired Bryan right back in 21 days.
“He had 32 days between his maiden win and the Sanford; that’s probably ideal,” Dilger said. “This is maybe a little short, but he’s got a good disposition, he’s held his weight well and he’s trained well and breezed well. It was a case of why not?”
Pletcher’s two are Corfu, who actually is coming back more quickly than Wired Bryan, and Danza, who skipped the Sanford because it fell just nine days after he won his debut at Belmont Park.
Corfu broke his maiden at Saratoga on July 25 and is the 5-2 Saratoga Special favorite, just ahead of 3-1 Candy Dandy, who won by five lengths at Churchill Downs in June.
“It was a very fast race,” Pletcher said. “I think he showed some courage. There was a lot of pace pressure early, and he seemed to bounce out of the race really well, so we hope to take advantage of his speed and give this a try.”
Twang, trained by Al Stall Jr. for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, is also coming back on short rest after breaking his maiden by 3 1⁄4 lengths at Saratoga on July 27.
“Two-year-olds can do that,” Stall said. “They lay it down and try, but leave themselves a lot of room for improvement. He’s a big horse, a strong horse, a sound horse, so we just thought it might be a race to take a shot in.
“He was very hard-pressed to stay in front, so I’m not sure how much natural speed he’ll show, especially going 6 1⁄2 [furlongs]. Whatever Rosario wants to do is fine with me.”