SARATOGA SPRINGS — It took an outrider to catch Somelikeithotbrown on Sunday.
He got to the front under Tyler Gaffalione and never looked back to win the Grade II Bernard Baruch by a length over stablemate Mr Dumas at Saratoga Race Course, starting an exacta trained by Mike Maker.
If the Bernard Baruch field couldn’t keep up with Somelikeithotbrown, the outrider pony could, at least after the son of Big Brown tired himself out running back up the main track after dumping Gaffalione.
As the horses left the inner turf course and got on the main track to head back to be unsaddled, Somelikeithotbrown deposited Gaffalione and jog riderless to the finish line, where the outrider easily caught him without further incident.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Halladay, ridden by Luis Saez, has been winning in front-running fashion, but Somelikeithotbrown was left alone on the lead and plenty left to turn back any late-closing horses, including 8-5 betting favorite Good Governance, who was third.
Somelikeithotbrown had tried a front-running bid in the Grade II Fort Marcy at Belmont Park on June 6, but was caught by Instilled Regard and finished third.
“I was a little surprised down the backside when I was all by myself,” Gaffalione said. “I thought there would be a little more pressure, but I was happy with where I was and how he was running. All the credit to Mike and his team, they had him ready today.
“Every time I reached back and threw a cross, and when I got into him a little bit, he kept on responding and giving me more, so I was pretty confident coming to the wire.”
“On paper, I was concerned that him and Todd’s horse might hook up, but Luis took back a little bit and let us have things our own way,” Maker said.
“I thought his last race, he went a little too quick and opened up a little too much. There was a loose horse getting him a little more in the bridle than what we wanted. But I thought it was a very credible race.”
On Sunday, Somelikeithotbrown was the loose horse, but not until he had polished off the Bernard Baruch victory.
“He pulled up coming off the grass course,” Gaffalione said. “He got onto the dirt, it’s still a little heavy, and he just kind of grabbed himself and took a little tumble. Nothing major happened, so hopefully he’s all right and we’ll live to fight another day.”
In the six-horse field, Maker’s two horses, at 8-1, were the longest shots on the board when the gate opened.
Mr Dumas finished a half-length ahead of Good Governance.
“I was very high on this horse, and it looked like he showed up this afternoon, as well,” Maker said.
WHITNEY DAY PROBABLES
On next Saturday’s blockbuster Whitney Day card, Improbable is not just probable, but definite to run in the main event, trainer Bob Baffert told the New York Racing Association.
Last year’s Whitney winner, McKinzie, will stay in California and is entered in the six-furlong Bing Crosby at Del Mar next Saturday.
Others pointing toward the Whitney are Tom’s d’Etat, 2019 Travers winner Code of Honor, By My Standards, Mr. Buff and Owendale.
Bodexpress is scheduled to breeze on the main track on Monday morning and is being considered for the Whitney and the Alydar on Aug. 9.
Also on Whitney Day, horses lining up for the Grade I Personal Ensign are Midnight Bisou, who is breezing on Monday on the Oklahoma, Point of Honor, Abounding Joy, Motion Emotion, Vexatious and possibly Bossy Bride.
The probables for the Grade I Allen Jerkens are Captain Bombastic, Collusion Illusion, Echo Town, Eight Rings, Mischevious Alex, No Parole, Shoplifted, Tap It to Win and Three Technique, with Liam’s Pride possible.
The Grade II Bowling Green field is shaping up to include Channel Maker, Dot Matrix, Highland Sky, Marzo, Pillar Mountain, Sadler’s Joy and Surprise Twist.
The card also includes the Caress, and the field for that $200,000 stakes could include Cariba, Dalika, Getmotherarose, I’llhandalthecash, Introduced , Jakarta, Jean Elizabeth, Miss Gossip and Sweet Bye and Bye.