Pletcher Has Pair for Saratoga Special; 'Fiftyshades' Seeks Adirondack Gold
By Jon Forbes | 08/08/2013 04:54 PM ET
Juveniles will be showcased on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course, which will host the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special, open to all 2-year-olds, and the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack for fillies.
Both the Adirondack (race 9) and the Saratoga Special (race 10) are 6 ½ furlongs and will be shown on the NBC Sports Network.
Four of the seven Saratoga Special entrants will be making their second start in Sunday's race, and trainer Todd Pletcher will send out two of them in Corfu and Danza.
Corfu is stretching out in distance off a hard-fought, half-length triumph in a five-furlong maiden race on July 25 at Saratoga. Leaving from post 1, the Malibu Moon colt dueled for the lead from the inside and prevailed following a lengthy battle with Pure Sensation.
"It was a very fast race," said Pletcher, who trains Corfu for Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Derrick Smith. "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. I was interested to see how he'd bounce back, and he bounced back with very good energy. He's in great condition, and there's every indication the race moved him forward."
Corfu, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, will have the services of Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez from post position 4.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Danza enters the Saratoga Special off a three-quarter-length debut win on July 12 at Belmont Park.
"The Sanford [on July 21] was too quick back, and we zeroed in on this during that time," said Pletcher. "I think there will be more pace in a race like this, and I think the horse will prefer to settle and make a run."
Javier Castellano will ride Danza, 8-1 on the morning line, from post 6.
Cathy and Bob Zollars' Candy Dandy stalked the early pace before running away to a five-length victory on June 30 at Churchill Downs. Both the runner-up (Dunkin Bend, August 3) and third-place finisher (Base Case Scenario, July 27) returned to break their maidens at Saratoga.
"He's been training good up here," said trainer Steve Asmussen of Candy Dandy. "He was ready the first time, and he's very professional and easy to train. He puts plenty into everything he does."
Rosie Napravnik has the call aboard Candy Dandy, 3-1, from post 3.
Invading from Florida is Lunarwarfare, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92 for his debut victory on July 14 at Gulfstream Park. That figure has been surpassed only by the 94 Big Sugar Soda received when he broke his maiden in his second start on July 22 at Saratoga.
In his debut, Lunarwarfare raced in the clear just off the early leader in third, offered a challenge at the quarter pole, quickly dispatched the pacesetter and drew off to a 6 ½-length triumph in the 4 ½-furlong dash.
"[The extra distance] should be beneficial," said Michael Yates, who trains the Shadybrook Farm homebred. "He has a good mind and he's easy to rate if need be. In his debut we rushed him a little more than he wants to be, but he responded well, finished well, and galloped out well. I was impressed with the race."
Lunarwarfare, 6-1, will depart from the rail with Juan Leyva aboard.
Wired Bryan is the only stakes winner in the field and is being wheeled back off a 5 ¼-length triumph in the Grade 2 Sanford on July 21 at the Spa. The Anstu Farm homebred also has a 7 ½-length victory against New York-bred maidens on June 21 at Belmont Park to his credit.
Trainer Michael Dilger, who won his first stakes and race at Saratoga in the Sanford, admits Wired Bryan is making a quick turnaround.
"He had 32 days between his maiden win and the Sanford; that's probably ideal," said Dilger. "This is maybe a little bit 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?'"
Wired Bryan, 7-2, will leave from the outside post in the field of seven with Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons.
The Saratoga Special will be the third start as well for Twang, who is also coming back off short rest. After finishing third in his debut in June at Churchill, the son of Dixie Union led the field from gate to wire in a 3 ¼-length maiden win on July 27 at Saratoga.
"We're happy he broke his maiden and we started thinking about spots," said Al Stall, who trains Twang for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. "[Nominations for] the Saratoga Special closed that afternoon after he ran, so we shot him into that race before it closed. We're just trying to catch the right spot. He came out of the race well, so we're looking sooner rather than later. He's a strong horse, and, win or lose, it seems like the right thing to do.
"He's professional," Stall added. "He doesn't need to be on the lead - he just found himself on the lead the other day. We just took what they gave us. He's a laid-back type of horse."
Joel Rosario has the call aboard Twang, 5-1, from post 5.
The Saratoga Special field also includes Ogermeister, who defeated New York-breds on May 16 at Belmont before finishing 15th of 24 in the Windsor Castle Stakes on June 18 at Royal Ascot.
Fiftyshadesofgold brings an unbeaten record into the Adirondack, having posted a 10-length win against Texas-breds in May at Lone Star Park and dusting open company by eight lengths in the Debutante Stakes on June 22 at Churchill Downs.
"She's very fast," said trainer Bret Calhoun. "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."
Corey Lanerie will ride Fiftyshadesofgold, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, from post 2.
Also entering the Adirondack off a win at Churchill is Untapable, a one-length debut winner on June 20. Rosie Napravnik, aboard Untapable for her maiden score, has the assignment once again in the Adirondack.
Trained by Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, Untapable was installed as the 3-1 second choice and drew post 1.
The Adirondack field also drew Thank You Marylou, Who's In Town, Designer Legs, Charmed Hour, and Hop the Six.
The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special:
The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack: