Preachintothedevil will face five challengers when he loads into the gate for Saturday’s NY Derby at the Finger Lakes. The New York-bred son of Pulpit nailed the first leg of the Big Apple Triple when he drew away from the field by 4 1/2 lengths on June 26th to win the Mike Lee Handicap.
Preachintothedevil’s trainer, Gary Contessa, is pretty confident about collecting the winner’s share of the NY Derby’s $150,000 purse, declaring “I think he has a hell of a chance to win the whole thing… win the Triple and the bonus.” The NY Breeding Fund, NYRA and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack have put up a $100K bonus to the horse that wins the series for New York-bred three-year-olds at three different tracks: Belmont, Finger Lakes and Saratoga.
In the next breath, Contessa confesses he doesn’t want to hurt ‘devil’s chances, “but I gotta give Socialsaul a shot at the NY Derby. He’s really training great and won two in a row.” He is also the only horse in the race with a higher Beyer figure than Preachintothedevil. Socialsaul, a son of New York sire Read the Footnotes, earned a 92 Beyer in a state-bred allowance going a mile the day before ‘devil earned a 91 in the Mike Lee over 7 furlongs.
The connections of Tap Attack, who finished second in the Mike Lee, are hoping the extra distance of the 1 and 1/16th-mile Derby will help him turn the tables on Preachintothedevil.
Top Finger Lakes trainers Michael Lecesse and Mike Ferraro will give locals two horses to root for in Bristol Harbour and Winners Laugh, respectively.
Talented juvenile Sky Music turned in a nice five-furlong work at Saratoga on July 10th in preparation for the NY Derby, and will be wearing blinkers in an attempt to show stakes-winning form as a sophomore.
There is still time to enter to win the Breeding Fund/NYTB Big Apple Triple contest for the Albany Stakes, including an overnight stay in Saratoga Springs and VIP treatment at historic Saratoga Race Course.
To enter, go to www.bigappletriple.com.
– Executive Director Tracy Egan