Bill Heller’s New York-Breds at the Races: August 30 to September 4

Bareeqa Wins Her Second Straight in a Bizarre Grass Race Monday

By Bill Heller

Midwest Thoroughbreds’ four-year-old filly Bareeqa came flying down the center of the inner turf course under Jose Lezcano to win her second straight race, a strangely run one-mile $78,000 New York-bred grass allowance/optional $40,000 claimer, by three-quarters of a length on closing day Monday at Saratoga. Sent off at 5-1 odds in the field of nine, Bareeqa won in a final time of 1:40.59 over a “yielding” grass course.

Lady Joan, sent off at odds of 5-1 under Luis Saez, led late before settling for second, one length ahead of 7-2 Style Drift and Irad Ortiz, Jr. B Rockett, who went off at 7-1 odds under Joe Bravo, checked in fourth, a length and a half behind Style Drift.

The loss by Style Drift, trained by Chad Brown, clinched the 2017 Saratoga training title for Todd Pletcher, whose two horses in the race, 2-1 favorite Driven by Speed, with John Velazquez up, and 9-1 Iron Mizz, with Joel Rosario in the stirrups, failed to hit the board.

Before the race began, both Driven by Speed and Style Drift broke through their stalls in the starting gate. Style Drift only took a few steps and was easy to control, but Driven by Speed nearly went to his knees when he broke through, tossing Velazquez. The assistant started made a great catch to keep control of Driven by Speed. After a couple minutes, Velazquez got back on his horse and both horses were reloaded into the starting gate.

Flaunting the speed she used to win her last race wire-to-wire at Saratoga to make her grass record two-for-two, Driven by Speed went straight for the lead from the two post. She opened a two-length lead on 11-1 Belle of the Spa and Florent Geroux through a :24.16 first quarter-mile. Heading for the half-mile, Belle of the Spa moved within a half-length of Driven by Speed before 29-1 Free N Clear, who had been far back under Junior Alvarado, made a three-wide sweep to move into second.

Around the far turn, Free N Clear gained a three-quarter-length lead then completely blew the turn. At the same time, Driven by Speed stopped dramatically.

There was a wild scramble for the front, with Lady Joan taking the lead in deep stretch. But Bareeqa was closing powerfully on the outside, and went right past her to win again.

Bareeqa is now six-for-17 on grass with four seconds and one third. She also has one win from six dirt starts with three thirds, for combined earnings topping $280,000.


In Monday’s finale, the final race of the 2017 meet, co-owner/trainer Rick Schosberg and Clear Stars Stables’ three-year-old filly Sandy Belle rocketed to the front under Jose Lezcano, opened a gaping lead and never had an anxious moment, coasting home by 5 ¾ lengths as the 9-5 favorite in a field of eight in a 5 ½-furlong $73,000 New York-bred maiden special weight switched from the turf to the “good” main track.

First-time starter Connie A, sent off at odds of 4-1 under Luis Saez, finished second, three lengths ahead of 4-1 Grandpa’s Arianna and Irad Ortiz, Jr. Amanda Lane, who went off at 7-2 odds under John Velazquez, finished a distant fourth.

Mina Equivest bred Sandy Belle, a daughter of More Than Ready out of Unbridled Grace by Unbridled Jet who sold for $80,000 as a two-year-old in May 2016. Sandy Belle had finished second in her two previous races, both on grass.

She broke quickly Monday, set a fast pace of :21.96 and :45.05 and cruised under the wire by herself in a final time of 1:05.61.

Sandy Belle is now one-for-three on dirt with one third. She also has two seconds from three turf tries, for total earnings of more than $70,000.



Engineers Report Gets Up in Sunday’s Rainy Finale

In the eleventh-race finale at sloppy Saratoga Sunday, Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, the Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ two-year-old colt Engineers Report and Manny Franco collared front-running first-timer Brockmoninoff to win a 5 ½-furlong $73,000 New York-bred maiden special weight for two-year-olds switched from the turf to the sloppy main track by a half-length. Engineers Report was sent off at odds of 6-1 and Brockmoninoff went off at 12-1 odds in the field of nine.

First-timer Zigmund, sent off at 5-1 odds from the rail under Rajiv Maragh, finished third, a length and a quarter behind Brockmoninoff while a length and a quarter ahead of 13-1 firster Anything Pazible and Kendrick Carmouche.

Twin Creeks Farm bred Engineers Report, a son of Mission Impazible out of Pink Lollipops by Silver Deputy who is trained by Rudy Rodriguez. Engineers Report was making just his second career start after finishing ninth at 12-1 odds in his debut at Belmont Park on a good track July 14th.

Engineers Report got away third as Brockmoninoff took the field to a quarter in :22.61 and a half-mile in :46.63 while maintaining a two-length lead. Then Engineers Report made his bid outside as Zigmund gained on the rail. Engineers Report rallied in deep stretch for the win in a final time of 1:07.00.


Luis Saez saved ground the whole way with Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred three-year-old filly Land Mine, and she rallied strongly in early stretch to win a mile-and-an-eighth $73,000 New York-bred maiden special weight switched from the grass to the sloppy maiden track by 5 ¼ lengths. Sent off at 5-2 odds as part of an entry of Broman homebreds, Land Mine won in a final time of 1:53.34.

Front-running Got the Gist, sent off at odds of 6-1 with Kendrick Carmouche aboard, finished a clear second, 6 ½ lengths ahead of 3-1 Smart and Sassy and Jose Lezcano. First-time starter Bayshore Beauty, who went off at 5-1 odds under John Velazquez, finished a distant fourth.

Phil Serpe trains Land Mine, a daughter of Mineshaft out of Khancord Kid by Lemon Drop Kid who had finished a distant 12th and eighth in a pair of sprints to begin her career.

Saez got her away in third Sunday as Got the Gist set the pace with a two-to-three-length lead through three-quarters in 1:12.72. Then Land Mine made her bid for the lead and she blew by the pacesetter and opened up to win easily.


Displaying great courage under Manny Franco, Brian and Kerry Novak, Inc.’s New York-bred filly Unbridledadventure refused to let Feed Me Carats and Kendrick Carmouche pass her, winning her second straight race, a $56,000 mile-and-an-eighth $32,000 claimer for three-year-old fillies switched from the grass to the dirt, by a nose. Feed Me Carats’ trainer, Jeremiah Englehart, claimed foul on the winner, but the stewards let the order stand after a head-on shot revealed that, if anything, Feed Me Carats might have come in on Unbridledadventure as they battled head-to-head the length of the stretch.

Unbridledadventure was the 8-5 favorite and Feed Me Carats went off at odds of 2-1 in the field of five. Front-running Can’tcatchtheraxx, sent off at 9-1 odds under Luis Saez, finished a distant third, more than 12 lengths behind Feed Me Carats.

Thomas Moran bred Unbridledadventure, a daughter of Courageous Cat out of Serene Ditty by Unbridled’s Song who is trained by Raymond Handal. In her previous start on a muddy track at Saratoga on July 29th, Unbridledadventure won by 3 ¾ lengths at 9-2 odds.

Franco let her settle in third Sunday as Can’tcatchtheraxx took the field through three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.77.

Unbridled Adventure and Feed Me Carats rallied on the far outside around the far turn. They both rallied past the pacesetter and began an epic battle the length of the stretch, with neither filly giving an inch. Unbridledadventure just refused to lose, winning narrowly in a final time of 1:55.22.

Unbridledadventure is now three-for-11 on dirt with three seconds and two thirds. She also has one third from six turf tries, for combined earnings topping $130,000.


He had to work hard to do it, but Repole Stable’s homebred four-year-old gelding Sudden Surprise got the job done as the 4-5 favorite in a field of five in Sunday’s opener to notch his second straight victory. Sudden Surprise finally wore down front-running gray Smokem’s Charge, then held off Pegasus Red to take a six-furlong $50,000 New York-bred $25,000 claimer by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:11.60 on the sloppy track.

Pegasus Red, sent off at odds of 10-1 under Jose Lezcano, edged Smokem’s Charge, who went off at 4-1 odds from the rail under Joel Rosario, by a neck for second. Mighty Zealous, sent off at 8-1 odds with Manny Franco up, finished fourth, a length and a quarter behind Smokem’s Charge.

Todd Pletcher trains Sudden Surprise, a stakes-winning son of Giant Surprise out of Ready and Good by More Than Ready who aired by three lengths at 6-5 odds in his previous start in the same company at Saratoga on August 10th.

Sudden Surprise broke well from the four post, and Velazquez settled him on the flank of front-running Smokem’s Charge. Smokem’s Charge led Sudden Surprise by three-quarters of a length after an opening quarter-mile in :22.03, then by a half-length after a :45.35 half-mile.

Sudden Surprise then drew almost even on Smokem’s Charge’s outside, but Smokem’s Charge was resolute and the two battled head-to-head until the final 200 yards, when Sudden Surprise edged away and held off Pegasus Red, who closed quickly on the outside.

Sudden Surprise is now nine-for-16 on dirt with one second. He’s also raced once on turf and has total earnings of more than $590,000.


Voodoo Song Wins Fourth Straight in the Grade 3 Saranac

Taking his incredible 2017 Saratoga season to a whole new level, Barry Schwartz’s homebred, the New York-bred speedster colt Voodoo Song, benefitting from an incredible ride by Jose Lezcano, gamely captured the 110th running of the mile-and-an-eighth $300,000 Grade 3 Saranac Stakes on turf Saturday by a neck at Saratoga. Sent off at 6-1 odds in the field of eight, Voodoo Song won in a final time of 1:46.18. Yoshida, sent off at odds of 3-1 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished second, a half-length ahead of previously unbeaten Bricks and Mortar, the 2-1 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario.

In winning his stakes debut, Voodoo Song upped his record at this meet to a perfect four-for-four, giving trainer Linda Rice an incredible accomplishment with a horse she only began to train this summer when Schwartz’s long-tenured trainer Mike Hushion retired after the Belmont Park summer meet.

The last horse who went four-for-four at Saratoga is Native Dancer, who won four stakes races as a two-year-old in 1952: the Flash, Saratoga Special, Grand Union Hotel and Hopeful.

“It’s great to be in the same company as Native Dancer,” Rice said. “It’s been a real thrill for us. I’ve had a couple win three here now, including City Zip (who in 2000 swept the Sanford, Saratoga Special and Hopeful, the latter in a dead heat with Yonaguska) and New York’s Finest (this year), but this is just really something.”

Voodoo Song had won his lone turf try for Hushion, and Rice elected to let her new colt make his first start for her in an open $40,000 claimer on the grass at Saratoga on July 22nd. With Jose Lezcano riding Voodoo Song for the first time, he won the mile-and-a-sixteenth race wire-to-wire by 5 ½ lengths.

Rice then took a huge gamble, running Voodoo Song back just four days later. Voodoo Song responded by winning a mile-and-three-eighths New York-bred allowance on the front end. At one point in mid-race, he was 16 lengths in front. He held on to win by three-quarters of a length.

Rice gave Voodoo Song nearly a month to recover, and he won another New York-bred allowance, this one at a mile and a sixteenth, wire-to-wire by one length on August 23rd.

Once more, Rice not only brought her colt back on short rest, she asked him to make his first start in a stakes race in the Grade 3 Saranac 13 days later, when he would take on the undefeated winner of the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes, Bricks and Mortar, and Yoshida, who finished second in the Hall of Fame by three-quarters of a length.

Surprising nobody, Lezcano sent Voodoo Song, who broke inward at the start right into Bricks and Mortar, to the lead from the six post. Voodoo Song opened a three-length lead, then stretched it to 5 ½ lengths. Then Rosario made a bold rush with Bricks and Mortar.

Heading into the far turn, Bricks and Mortar got within a neck of Voodoo Song, but Lezcano still had plenty left and Voodoo Song spurted away, taking a two-length lead in mid-stretch.

Then Yoshida rallied on the far outside, while Bricks and Mortar came again between horses. Voodoo Song dug in and gamely held them both off to win again.

“The reason I’ve run him back so many times is he likes this course, he likes the configuration,” Rice said. “Obviously, it hasn’t rained much, and he likes the firm going, and that could change very quickly. So I thought, `Let’s take advantage of it. We can rest him later.’”

Lezcano was happy to be along for Voodoo Song’s incredible ride. “He broke on the lead and that was it,” Lezcano said. “That was the only strategy going in: let him go and let him break loose. I know we were going fast, but that is how he likes it: running free. He’s happier that way, and you saw the rest.”

Voodoo Song is now five-for-five on turf with one second from four dirt starts and total earnings of $360,000 – half of that total came with his victory in the Saranac, the culmination of an incredible streak of gutsy decisions made by Rice.


Sugar Maple Farm’s talented three-year-old homebred filly Bluegrass Jamboree, co-owned and trained by Charlie Baker, swept up four-wide on the far turn under John Velazquez then wore down game front-running Might Be and Rajiv Maragh to win a six-furlong $75,000 New York-bred allowance by one length, giving Velazquez his third win Saturday in the third race. Sent off the 3-2 favorite in a field of eight, Bluegrass Jamboree won in a final time of 1:11.29.

Might Be held on for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of 10-1 Never Hungover and Luis Saez. There was a three-length gap back to 17-1 Bree’s Got Heart in fourth.

Bluegrass Jamboree, a daughter of Bluegrass Cat out of Anjorie by A.P. Jet, is putting together quite a resume. She followed a nose win in her debut on April 16th with a half-length victory in an open allowance race. She then finished second twice in New York-bred allowance company.

Velasquez, riding Bluegrass Jamboree for the first time,  placed her third early as Might Be, who left sharply from the rail, set the pace under pressure from Bree’s Got Heart through a quarter in :22.57. Heading for the far turn, Never Hungover rushed past horses on the inside to join the leaders as Velazquez sent Bluegrass Jamboree four-wide.

When the field hit the top of the stretch, Might Be was still in front as Bluegrass Jamboree continued her rally on the far outside. Bluegrass Jamboree edged ahead past mid-stretch and then gradually increased her margin to the wire.

Bluegrass Jamboree now has three wins and two seconds in five starts, with earnings of more than $130,000.


New York’s Finest Gets a Late Equipment Change and Wins Anyway

In one of the strangest races in Saratoga’s long history, Tic Stable’s home-bred, three-year-old gelding New York’s Finest survived an equipment problem and breaking through the starting gate early to dominate 11 rivals and win his third consecutive race Friday. Caught after he broke through the starting gate by an assistant starter, New York’s Finest re-entered the starting gate without a bridle, got a new bridle and blew away the competition, taking a 5 ½ furlong $78,000 New York-bred grass allowance/optional $40,000 claimer by 1 ¾ lengths. Sent off at 3-1 under Jose Lezcano, New York’s Finest won in 1:02.26.

With Exultation, who was 15-1 under Angel Arroyo, finished second, a nose ahead of 7-1 D’ funnything and John Velazquez. The Crocheron Kid, who was 63-1 on the rail under Eric Cancel, finished fourth, just a nose behind D’ funnything. Uncle Youdge, who was 11-1 under Kendrick Carmouche, was fifth, a half-length behind The Crocheron Kid.

But the race wasn’t over. Stewards immediately announced an inquiry, saying they were looking at the second place finisher, With Exultation, and the third place finisher, D’ funnything. Then they announced they were only investigating With Exultation. And then they disqualified With Exultation and placed him fifth.

Linda Rice trains New York’s Finest, a son of City Zip out of Is It Safe by Yes It’s True who upped his unblemished Saratoga grass record to four-for-four.

He almost didn’t get to race. He broke through the starting gate before the start with a broken bridle. The assistant starter made a phenomenal catch as Lezcano held the reins to keep New York’s Finest from running off. It took several minutes for New York’s Finest to be loaded, without a jockey or a bridle, in the starting gate. A new bridle was attached and Lezcano got back on, and then New York’s Finest broke quickly to take immediate control of the race.

He set splits of :22.65 and :45.18 and cruised home much the best.

The inquiry revealed that With Exultation, who had been on the rail, came out at least three paths just before the wire and bumped Uncle Youdge. With Exultation was then disqualified and placed behind Uncle Youdge in fifth.

New York’s Finest is now four-for-five on grass with earnings of more than $160,000.


Midwest Thoroughbreds’ five-year-old mare Amazing Anne tracked the early pace from fourth, then rallied under Kendrick Carmouche to win a mile and a sixteenth $75,000 New York-bred grass allowance by a half-length over fast-finishing Frosty Lady and Irad Ortiz Jr. Amazing Anne was 6-1 and Frosty Lady 7-1 in the field of 12.

Munchkin Money, who was 7-2 under Louis Saez, finished just a neck behind Frosty Lady in third. There was a gap of 2 ¾ lengths back to 4-1 Lem Me Dance and Jose Ortiz in fourth.

Anthony Grey bred Amazing Anne, a daughter of Freud out of Plinking by Talkin Man who was second by a half-length in her previous start Aug. 10th.

Carmouche set up Amazing Anne in fourth as a pair of 7-1 shots, Alabama Bound and Javier Castellano and Hollywood Cat and John Velazquez battled on the front end and Munchkin Money raced three-wide in third through a quarter in :23.42 and a half-mile in :47.36.

Then Hollywood Cat took over as Munchkin Money, Amazing Anne and Frosty Lady rallied strongly. The trio fought it out to the wire with Amazing Anne proving strongest to win in 1:41.41.

Amazing Anne improved her turf record to four-for-21 with five seconds and five thirds. She also has one third from two dirt starts for total earnings of more than $275,000.


Not panicking when his mount, Midwest Thoroughbreds’ New York-bred ridgling Italian Syndicate, leapt at the start and got away last in the field of five, Kendrick Carmouche rallied him to a length and a half victory in a six furlong $40,000 purse for $20,000 claimers. Sent off at 2-1, Italian Syndicate won in 1:12.28.

Front-running Buddy Anthony, the 6-5 favorite piloted by Irad Ortiz Jr., saved second, a length and a quarter ahead of 7-2 New York-bred Ethan Hunt and Rosario Montanez.

J Rita Young Thoroughbreds bred Italian Syndicate, a won of Girolamo out of Lady Giacomo by Giacomo who is now trained by Danny Gargan. Midwest Thoroughbreds claimed Italian Syndicate on May 21st when he was a front-running sixth.

In his first two starts for his new connections, Italian Syndicate was a front-running third in a $25,000 claimer, then a tiring sixth in his turf debut in a New York-bred allowance race. Gargan returned him to dirt and dropped him back to open claimers.

He couldn’t have started any worse Friday, leaping at the start. In his prior six dirt starts, Italian Syndicate had been on the lead each time. Carmouche, though, kept cool and let Italian Syndicate gain his normal stride before asking him to begin passing horses. And that’s exactly when Italian Syndicate did under a masterful ride by Carmouche.

Italian Syndicate passed 15-1 My Friend on the outside, then moved inside and passed three others before Carmouche took him back to the outside for his best shot at Buddy Another, who had set a modest pace of :23.11 and :46.51.

Buddy Anthony had a length and a half lead in mid-stretch, but Italian Syndicate charged up to engage him and then pass him to win going away.

Italian Syndicate is now three-for-10 on dirt with two seconds and earnings of more than $100,000.


Vince Scuderi’s five-year-old New York-bred gelding All About Ashley overhauled front-running New York-bred Global Positioning, then held off New York-bred Lyrical Miracle to win his second straight race, a seven furlong $25,000 purse for $12,500 claimers, by a half-length under Paco Lopez in 1:24.29. Lyrical Miracle was second, a half-length ahead of War Eagles Return.

All About Ashley was 5-2, Global Positioning 8-1 under Kendrick Carmouche, Lyrical Miracle 18-1 under Eric Cancel and War Eagle’s Return 2-1 under Joel Rosario as part of entry with New York-bred Tug of War and Irad Ortiz Jr.

Hidden Lake Farm and Jeremy Peskoff bred All About Ashley, a son of Colonel John out of Nootka Island who is trained by Michelle Nevin. All About Ashley won a seven furlong $12,500 claimer by a head at 13-1 August 6th with Lopez aboard for the first time.

Lopez settled All About Ashley in third Friday as Global Positioning set the pace and 4-1 Major League and Jose Ortiz chased in second through a first quarter in :23.01 and a half-mile in :45.96.

All About Ashley rushed up to engage and then pass Global Positioning as Lyrical Miracle and War Eagle’s Return rallied strongly. All About Ashley held them both off for a repeat victory.

All About Ashley is now five-for-25 on dirt with four seconds and three thirds. He also has started three times on grass and has total earnings of more than $205,000.


Winning like a 1-5 favorite should, Brooklyn Boyz and MEB Stables’ home-bred three-year-old colt Follow the Signs, who is co-owned by St. Elias & Texas Viola Racing Stables, swept to the lead with a breath-taking rush around the far turn and went on to an 11 ¼ length victory under Joel Rosario in Friday’s finale, a mile and an eighth $45,000 New York-bred maiden $40,000 grass claimer in 1:46.99.

The stunning white gelding Artic Storm, who went off at 16-1 on the rail under Chris DeCarlo, finished second. Morning Dad, who was 55-1 under Eric Cancel, finished third, seven lengths behind Artic Storm, and 99-1 Victory Cash and Rosario Montanez checked in a distant fourth.

Chad Brown trains Follow the Signs, a son of Colonel John out of The Funky Express by Freud who was dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time off a fourth at Saratoga August 6th.

Rosario got him away fourth as O Captainmycaptain and Irad Ortiz Jr. set the pace, hitting three-quarters in 1:10.81. Then Rosario let Follow the Signs roll and he quickly rushed to the lead and took off, pouring it on through the stretch.

Follow the Signs is now one-for-two on turf. He also has one second and one third from four dirt starts for combined earnings of more than $55,000.


Grand Sky Dominates in Open Company for His Second Straight Win

Enjoying a sweet trip under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Michael Dubb’s five-year-old New York-bred gelding Grand Sky powered past front-running New York-bred Royal Asset and Joe Bravo in mid-stretch and went on to a three-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong $85,000 grass allowance at Saratoga Thursday. Sent off at 3-1 odds in the field of seven, Grand Sky won in a final time of 1:01.67. Royal Asset went off at 7-2 odds from the rail.

Somekindofmagician, sent off at odds of 17-1 under Joel Rosario, finished second, a neck ahead of Royal Asset.

Michael Mandara bred Grand Sky, a son of Sky Mesa out of Alfonsina by Grand Slam who won his previous start in a New York-bred allowance by 2 ¾ lengths on August 5th.

Grand Sky broke first Thursday, but Ortiz led him settle behind dueling pacesetters Royal Asset and 7-2 New York-bred Banana Thief through a :22.75 opening quarter-mile.

Royal Asset put away and Banana Thief in early stretch, but had no answer for Grand Sky, who shot past him and drew away.

Grand Sky is now five-for-18 with three seconds and earnings of more than $270,000 in his all-grass career.


Dylan Davis hustled Francis Paolangeli’s homebred three-year-old filly Cozzy Spring up the rail to take the early lead Thursday and she never surrendered it, winning her third consecutive dirt start by a length and a half. Sent off at 5-2 odds in the field of seven contesting a 6 ½-furlong $78,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $40,000 claimer, Cozzy Spring won in a final time of 1:17.71.

Silly Sister, sent off at odds of 7-2 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished second, one length ahead of Shimmering Moon, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Jose Ortiz. Moondance Joy, who went off at 6-1 odds under Angel Arroyo, finished fourth, a length and a quarter behind Shimmering Moon.

Charlie Baker, who continues to have an outstanding Saratoga meet, trains Cozzy Spring, a daughter of Spring at Last out of Pretty Cozzy by Broken Vow. She began her dirt win streak with a 12 ¼-length maiden romp at Belmont Park on a sloppy track June 17. A month later, she won a New York-bred allowance by a length and a half at Belmont. Baker decided to try Cozzy Spring on grass at Saratoga August 6th and she led early before tiring badly to finish seventh.

Cozzy Spring actually broke last on the rail, but Davis gunned her through on the inside of Shimmering Moon and 17-1 Young Anna Lee to take a narrow lead through a quick opening quarter in :21.94. Shimmering Moon drew within a neck of Cozzy Spring after a half-mile in :45.11. But Cozzy Spring had plenty left and repelled Shimmering Moon in deep stretch. Cozzy Spring remained strong all the way to the wire.

Cozzy Spring is now three-for-five on dirt with one second and earnings of more than $135,000.


Confidently ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Michael Dubb and David Simon’s three-year-old colt Control Group overpowered front-running longshot Crafty Concorde and Angel Arroyo, and drew off to his third straight victory Thursday. Sent off the 5-2 second choice in a field of six, Control Group won a mile-and-an-eighth $75,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $25,000 claimer by 2 ½ lengths in a final time of 1:50.93.

Born for a Storm, also sent off at odds of 5-2 under Javier Castellano, finished second, seven lengths ahead of Minsky Moment, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Jose Ortiz. Third Son, who went off at 18-1 odds with Ricardo Santana, Jr. aboard, finished a distant fourth.

Colts Neck Stable and Alan Goldberg bred Control Group, a son of Posse out of We Kept Her by Victory Gallop who sold for just $15,000 as a two-year-old and is trained by Rudy Rodriguez.

Control Group began his winning streak at Finger Lakes on a sloppy track July 13th. He then won an open $35,000 claimer wire-to-wire at Saratoga on August 13th.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. let Crafty Concorde take the early lead Thursday and set up Control Group on his outside. Crafty Concorde led by a neck to a half-length through a half-mile in :47.85. Then Control Group took over and opened up on the field as Minsky Moment rallied into second.

Control Group stretched his lead to four lengths near the sixteenth pole and coasted home an easy winner.

Control Group is now four-for-11 with two seconds, three thirds and earnings of more than $140,000.


Displaying considerable versatility, Fred Desimone and Gregg Kingma’s two-year-old gelding Ultimateenticement, the 8-5 favorite in a field of nine, came from off the pace under Jose Ortiz to win a 5 ½-furlong $73,000 New York-bred maiden special weight by two lengths in a final time of 1:05.90.

New York Hero, a firster who went off at 3-1 odds under Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished a strong second, a neck ahead of front-running Five Star Bunt, sent off at 7-1 odds from the rail under Javier Castellano. There was a gap of five lengths back to 26-1 firster Violent Delights and seven-pound apprentice Luis Reyes in fourth.

Fred Hentrich III bred Ultimateenticement, a son of Drosselmeyer out of Pavati by Unbridled’s Song who sold for $12,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2016 and is trained by Rick Violette. In his dirt debut at Saratoga on August 7th, Ultimateenticement raced on the lead and tired late to finish second by 2 ½ lengths at 7-1 odds.

The start of his race Thursday was delayed when Shiny Medal was a late scratch after acting up in the starting gate.

At the break, 5-1 firster Candy Zip, stumbled and tossed Florent Geroux, who got up immediately.

Ultimateenticement got away fourth as Five Star Bunt and 16-1 firster Foolish Ghost, with Manny Franco aboard, dueled for the lead through a quarter in :22.57 and a half-mile in :46.74.

Five Star Bunt shook off Foolish Ghost as both Ultimateenticement and New York Hero rallied strongly. Ultimateenticement powered to the lead and drew off to win handily.

Ultimateenticement has a win and a second in two dirt starts. He began his career on synthetic, finishing second at Golden Gate. He’s already earned more than $60,000.


Digging in gamely under Eric Cancel, Chalk Racing and Our Sugar Bear Stable’s three-year-old gelding Manifest Destiny completed a wire-to-wire victory Thursday, taking a mile-and-a-sixteenth $75,000 New York-bred grass allowance by a half-length. Sent off at 10-1 odds in a field of 11, Manifest Destiny won in a final time of 1:41.08.

The gray Mission Leader, a 19-1 shot piloted by Kendrick Carmouche, finished a strong second, a half-length ahead of 3-1 Storm Prophet and Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ode to the Hunt, sent off at odds of 5-1 with Jose Ortiz up, finished just another head back in fourth.

Barry Ostrager bred Manifest Destiny, a son of City Zip out of Jb’s Golden Regret by Banker’s Gold who sold for $150,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2015 and is trained by Bruce Brown. Manifest Destiny had finished third by a length and a half at 30-1 odds and second by a half-length, again at 30-1 odds, in his prior two starts.

Breaking sharply from the two post, Manifest Destiny shot to the lead. Uncle Chester and Rajiv Maragh, who went off at 40-1 odds from the 10 post, settled in second. Manifest Destiny clicked off a quarter in :23.17, a half-mile in :47.35 and three-quarters in 1:11.60.

Mission Leader, who had been racing in fourth, made a bold rush at the front-runner, but Manifest Destiny was up to the challenge and held him off to win.

Manifest Destiny is now one-for-six on turf with two seconds and one third. He’s also got one third from three dirt starts, for total earnings of just under $125,000.


In a thrilling three-horse blanket finish Thursday, Rajiv Maragh got ELR Corp’s three-year-old gelding Ides of Arch up to win a one-mile $73,000 New York-bred maiden special weight on the grass by a head over Gosilently and Dylan Davis. Favored Appealing Briefs was just another nose back in third under Jose Ortiz. There was a gap of 2 ¼ lengths back to 7-1 Catch a Cab and Joel Rosario in fourth.

There was an inquiry and an objection lodged by Davis against Maragh, but the stewards let the original order of finish stand.

Ides of Arch was sent off at odds of 6-1 from the rail, Gosilently went off at 5-1 odds, Appealing Briefs was 2-1 and Catch a Cab was 7-1 in the field of 10.

Leah Gyarmati trains Ides of Arch, a son of Arch out of Chestoria by Chester House who had finished fourth with blinkers added in his previous start on July 15th at Belmont Park.

Ides of Arch raced in fourth early as St Patrick Frost, who was adding blinkers and went off at 24-1 odds under Kendrick Carmouche, took the early lead as 3-1 Summer Mischief, who broke from the 10 post under Irad Ortiz, Jr., went after him heading into the first turn.

Summer Mischief blew the first turn, allowing St Patrick Frost a clear lead, but Summer Mischief regrouped and set up on his flank in second through a half-mile in :46.39 as Gosilently tracked them four lengths back in third.

Heading for the far turn, Summer Mischief surged to make the front and open a two-length lead. Then Gosilently, Ides of Arch and Appealing Briefs quickly closed in two-, three- and four-wide, respectively. They battled in tight quarters, with Ides of Arch getting up just before the wire.

The stewards looked at the head-on shot, which seemed to show Ides of Arch coming over and bumping Gosilently lightly. The stewards declined to take action.

Ides of Arch is now one-for-four on turf, with nearly $50,000 in earnings.


Barrel of Dreams Ups Her Spa Grass Record to Four-for-Five

Interviewed in the paddock by TVG Network before Wednesday’s seventh race at Saratoga, trainer Charlie Baker said that Newman Racing’s five-year-old New York-bred mare Barrel of Dreams would have to step it up “a lot” to handle open grass allowance company.

She did so, making her grass record at Saratoga four-for-five.

Flawlessly handled by Manny Franco, Barrel of Dreams shot to the lead from the outside post in a field of eight, established a clear lead and maintained it almost to the wire, winning a mile-and-three-sixteenths $85,000 allowance by a half-length to score her second consecutive Saratoga victory. Sent off at 7-1 odds, Barrel of Dreams won in a final time of 1:52.58.

Javier Castellano rallied 8-1 Dovecote to finish second, two lengths clear of her stablemate in trainer Chad Brown’s barn, Durable Goods, the 3-2 favorite ridden by Jose Ortiz.

Tri County Stables bred Barrel of Dreams, a daughter of Not For Love out of Wide Barrel by Broad Brush. Barrel of Dreams won a New York-bred allowance by one length at 7-2 odds on August 4th. She had won in open company at Saratoga last year, but bettors on Wednesday weren’t overly impressed.

No matter. She left sharply to make the lead and enjoyed a two-to-three-length lead through splits of :23.64, :47.44 and 1:11.27. She cruised through a mile in 1:35.12 with a length-and-a-half lead and had plenty left to hold off Dovecote.

Barrel of Dreams is now five-for-15 on turf with one second and a pair of thirds. She also has a win and a second from seven dirt starts, for combined earnings topping $270,000.


Robert Rosenthal and Bradford Bernstein’s homebred first-time starter Berning Rose broke sharply under Kendrick Carmouche, put away favored Under Suspicion and Luis Saez, and drew off to an impressive five-length score in Wednesday’s finale, a $73,000 New York-bred maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies. She covered the seven-furlong distance in 1:24.55. Berning Rose was sent off at odds of 10-1 and Under Suspicion was the even-money favorite in a field reduced to six with two late scratches.

Another firster, Salty Smile, sent off at 7-2 odds under Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished third, 3 ¾ lengths behind Under Suspicion. Climb the Ladder, who went off at 9-2 odds under Jose Ortiz, finished a distant fourth.

Dominick Schettino trains Berning Rose, a daughter of Freud out of Peach Flambe by Flying Chevron.

Carmouche got Berning Rose away sharply from the three post, as did Saez with Under Suspicion from the six post. Berning Rose led Under Suspicion by a neck after a first quarter in :23.23, then edged away to lead by three-quarters of a length through a :46.42 half-mile.

Carmouche asked a little more from his first-time starter, and Berning Rose drew away to win completely isolated at the wire.


Once Irad Ortiz, Jr. found room in the stretch for Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s four-year-old New York-bred gelding Call Provision, the 2-5 favorite in a field of six, it was game over Wednesday at Saratoga. Ortiz knifed Call Provision between front-running Roman Approval and I’ll Call to win a mile-and-three-eighths $90,000 grass allowance/optional $62,500 claimer by 2 ¾ lengths in a final time of 2:13.35.

Soluble (GER), sent off at odds of 23-1 under Manny Franco, edged Roman Approval by three-quarters of a length for second. New York-bred Iron Power, who went off at 8-1 odds with Luis Saez riding, checked in fourth, 4 ¾ lengths behind Roman Approval.

KatieRich Farms bred Call Provision, a son of Lemon Drop Kid out of Run In by Dynaformer who sold for $140,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2014 and is trained by Chad Brown. In his prior start at the same distance on July 29th at Saratoga, Call Provision finished second by a half-length as the 5-2 favorite.

On Wednesday, Ortiz settled him in fourth as Roman Approval took a two-length lead through a quick :23.03 first quarter.

Call Approval chased in second and Iron Power raced in third.

They remained in that order until the far turn, when I’ll Call rallied two-wide and Iron Power advanced three-wide. Ortiz had a ton of horse on the rail behind Roman Approval, but needed a way out.

At the top of the stretch, he saw daylight between Roman Approval and I’ll Call, and he sent Call Provision through. Call Provision responded immediately to take command and draw away.

Call Provision is now five-for-10 with one second, one third and earnings of nearly $260,000 in his all-grass career.


With great determination under Manny Franco, Transfiguration Stables’ five-year-old New York-bred gelding Swivel ran down favored Dunk a Din and Irad Ortiz, Jr. to win a $25,000 open $12,500 claimer by a head Wednesday at Saratoga. He completed the mile and an eighth in 1:52.64. Swivel was sent off at odds of 6-1 and Dunk a Din was the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight.

Street Heat, sent off at odds of 7-2 under Luis Saez as part of an entry, finished third, 3 ¾ lengths behind Dunk a Din.

Chester and Mary Broman bred Swivel, a son of Tiznow out of Safety Net by A.P. Indy who is trained by Jeremiah Englehart. In his prior start at Saratoga on August 7th, Swivel finished a non-threatening third in the same company at 5-1 odds with Franco aboard for the first time.

Franco placed Swivel in fourth early as 3-1 New York-bred Core Portfolio and Jose Ortiz dueled with Street Heat’s entrymate Castaway and Paco Lopez through three quarters in 1:12.34.

Then Dunk a Din rushed up three-wide around the far turn. Franco followed that move with Swivel.

Dunk a Din cleared the field at the top of the stretch and opened a two-length lead. Then Swivel went after him, gaining throughout the stretch. Dunk a Din was game, but Swivel got him in the final 100 yards to win.

Swivel is now six-for-26 on dirt with one second, six thirds and earnings of more than $145,000.


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