OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Cypress Creek Equine’s New York homebred B D Saints will look to improve off a runner-up effort in stakes company last out when headlining an overflow field in Saturday’s $500,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong test for eligible state-sired juveniles, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Linda Rice, the bay son of Laoban was last seen finishing a game second to his highly-regarded stablemate El Grande O in the one-mile Sleepy Hollow against fellow state-breds on October 29 over a muddy and sealed Big A main track. There, B D Saints was jostled at the start and trailed in last 10 lengths off the lead before showing a strong turn of foot under returning rider Kendrick Carmouche to pass all but one foe down the lane and come up 1 1/4 lengths shy of victory. He was awarded a field-best 77 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
“He loved the mud that day,” said Rice. “This race is a little short for him, but hopefully it’s the right company.”
B D Saints made his first two outings on turf for trainer Will Walden this summer before transferring to the Rice barn in August. He graduated at fourth asking in his second start for Rice, taking a state-bred maiden by 4 3/4 lengths going 1 1/16 miles on the turf in September at the Big A. He followed with an even sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Pilgrim in October before returning to dirt for his Sleepy Hollow effort.
Rice said the New York Stallion Stakes Series’ lucrative purses were incentive to bring B D Saints back to the main track to target this event.
“He won impressively on the turf and then we tried him in the Pilgrim and he got outrun, period,” said Rice. “We tried the New York-bred stake and he ran a nice second, and now with a nice purse like this, you have to take the opportunity to give it a whirl. It may not work, but we’re going to be in it.”
Out of the unraced Tapizar mare Winsanity, B D Saints is a full-brother to the Cypress Creek Equine-bred and Rice-trained Les Bon Temps, a multiple stakes-winner who captured two legs of the NYSSS in 2022-23.
B D Saints will emerge from post 9 on Saturday.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Brick Ambush [post 12, Junior Alvarado] impressed with a second-out graduation on November 17 here, taking a one-mile state-bred maiden special weight by two lengths with a tidy stalking trip executed by returning pilot Junior Alvarado.
Trained by Danny Gargan, the bay son of Laoban bred in the Empire State by Seidman Stables, improved from a fourth-place finish on debut in October at Belmont at the Big A where he made a mild bid from 13 lengths off the pace to land 5 1/2 lengths back of the victorious Solo’s Fury, who he will face again on Saturday.
“We gave him his first race just to get a race into him, and we were hoping he’d win second time out,” said Gargan. “We’ve been aiming towards the Stallion Stake all along. He stepped up and won, and we were really impressed with that. This horse is going to get better with racing, and I think he could be grass, too.”
Gargan and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing have seen immense success in the New York Stallion Stakes Series over the past two years, taking the Spectacular Bid division in July with Ramblin’ Wreck, and last year’s Spectacular Bid and Cab Calloway with Dakota Gold. Ramblin’ Wreck also finished second in last year’s running of the Great White Way.
“There’s a lot of money in it and we keep capitalizing on it,” said Gargan. “We’ve never won the $500,000 one and finished second in it last year. We’d love to win it. Even if you run second, you get great money. It’s huge.”
Out of the winning Tale of Ekati mare Steve’s Philly, Brick Ambush is a full brother to Yo Cuz, who won three consecutive stakes in 2021-22 that included a score in the 2021 NYSSS Fifth Avenue.
Greyhound Stables and Christopher Dunn’s Solo’s Fury [post 11, Jose Lezcano] is one of four entrants representing top New York sire Solomini.
Trained by Jeremiah Englehart, the chestnut colt was last seen finishing a distant ninth in the Sleepy Hollow after battling for the early lead and fading under Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
“He’s been doing good. We didn’t have much excuse after the last race and weren’t sure if he just didn’t like the track, but he seems like he came out of the race in good order,” said Englehart. “The plan all along was to give him a shot in the Stallion Stakes, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Solo’s Fury, bred in the Empire State by Saratoga Glen Farm, flashed his talents at second asking with a professional two length score sprinting six furlongs on October 5 here, inching clear down the lane to defeat next-out winner Slammin Gold in a final time of 1:11.64.
Englehart said while a cutback to seven furlongs benefits Solo’s Fury on Saturday, a stretch-out could still be in the colt’s future.
“He’s two still, so I’m not sure that he doesn’t want to do the distance, but cutting back is always a decent thing,” said Englehart. “That Stallion Series has been beneficial for New York and for stallion owners, and it’s really helped the program a lot.”
Windylea Farm’s New York homebred Profitability [post 5, Eric Cancel] seeks a maiden-breaking triumph in his first start for conditioner George Weaver. The gelded son of Mission Impazible makes his first start outside of Finger Lakes Racetrack, where he finished on-the-board in his two career outings for conditioner Jonathan Buckley, including a last-out second in a six-furlong maiden on November 20 with an off-the-pace trip.
Profitability has shown promise in the morning since joining Weaver, and has worked in company with the stakes-winning filly Soloshot, who will contest Saturday’s NYSSS Fifth Avenue.
Blair Golen, Weaver’s Belmont Park-based assistant, said the two worked well together on Saturday when covering a half-mile in 50.69 seconds over the training track.
“I’ve had him here for a few weeks and he’s pretty cool. I like him,” said Golen. “He ran a little green in his last race, but he shows like he has some talent.”
Conditioner Rudy Rodriguez will saddle three contenders, led by Antonio of Venice [post 1, Manny Franco], whom he co-owns with Michael Imperio, Robert Cotrone and Hibiscus Stables. The son of Laoban finished a close fourth in the 5 1/2-furlong Aspirant after setting the pace last out at Finger Lakes, and is in search of his first win since graduating at third asking by 4 1/4 lengths against restricted company in July at Saratoga Race Course. The bay colt was bred in the Empire State by Cypress Creek Equine.
Also representing the Rodriguez stable are maiden winner King Freud [post 4, Trevor McCarthy], whom he co-owns with Frank Witz, and Heavyweight Champs [post 3, Ruben Silvera], who debuts for owners Big Dom Racing Stable and Big Toe Stables.
Completing the field are maiden winner Solo in Paris [post 10, Lane Luzzi] for trainer Randi Persaud; maidens The Big Torpedo [post 7, Javier Castellano] for trainer Tom Morley, Liberty Central [post 6, Jose Gomez] for trainer Patrick Quick, and the James Ferraro-trained Solo Empire [post 2, Luis Rivera, Jr.]; and first-time starter Wo Hop [post 8, Joey Martinez] for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Palace Boss and Kaz’ Mega Bank have been listed as also-eligible.
The NYSSS Great White Way is slated as Race 9 on Saturday’s 10-race card, which co-features the $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue for eligible state-sired juvenile fillies in Race 8. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
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