State-breds Saratoga Snacks, Saginaw Square Off in John Morrissey
By Jenny Kellner | 07/28/2013 04:53 PM ET
Defending champion Saginaw squares off against the up-and-coming Saratoga Snacks on Thursday at Saratoga Race Course in a contentious renewal of the $100,000 John Morrissey for New York-breds.
The 7-year-old Saginaw is 4-for-4 this year heading into the 6 ½-furlong Morrissey, a race named after the former bare-knuckle boxer who 150 years ago was one of the founders of Saratoga Race Course. Claimed for $30,000 by trainer David Jacobson for Drawing Away Stable in March, 2012, Saginaw tied for the most wins in North America that year with 10, suffering one of his rare defeats when he finished third behind Saratoga Snacks in the Alex M. Robb in December at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"He loves being here in Saratoga," Jacobson said of Saginaw, whose most recent victory was a come-from-behind, half-length win in the Affirmed Success on June 1 at Belmont Park. "We are looking forward to running in the race. At this level, against these horses, he will have to give it his best game."
With Junior Alvarado riding, Saginaw will leave from post position 3 as the 9-5 second choice on the morning line. He, like Saratoga Snacks, will tote 124 pounds.
The 4-year-old Saratoga Snacks, trained by Gary Sciacca for Bill Parcells' August Dawn Farm, has been first or second in all eight of his starts, including a 1 ¼-length victory in the Shy Groom on June 30 at Belmont Park in his first 2013 start.
"He's doing good," said Sciacca. "This could be a stepping stone to the [Grade 1] Forego [August 31]; we'll see what happens. He had a good blowout on Saturday [three furlongs in 37.22 seconds] and he's ready to go."
The 7-5 morning-line favorite, Saratoga Snacks drew post position 2 and will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Already a winner at the Spa's 150th anniversary meet, having taken an optional claimer by 5 ¾ lengths on July 20, Night Maneuver returns to stakes company for the first time since a third-place finish 13 months ago in the Mike Lee at Belmont Park.
Trained by Gary Contessa for Darlene Bilinski, the 4-year-old gelding drew the rail under jockey Rajiv Maragh and was listed at 7-2 on the morning line.
Completing the field are a pair of veterans from trainer Mike Hushion: multiple stakes winner Mine Over Matter and B Shanny, who were second and third, respectively, behind Saratoga Snacks in the Shy Groom.
The field for the $100,000 John A. Morrissey:
PP Horse Wgt. Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Night Maneuver 118 R. Maragh G. Contessa 7-2
2 Saratoga Snacks 124 J Rosario G. Sciacca 7-5
3 Saginaw 124 J. Alvarado D. Jacobson 9-5
4 Mine Over Matter 120 J. Lezcano M. Hushion 8-1
5 B Shanny 118 I. Ortiz, Jr. M. Hushion 10-1