Fore Left goes back to turf for Quick Call (G3)
by Ryan Martin
A field of eight sophomore colts will assemble for the 11th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Quick Call going 5 ½ furlongs over the Mellon turf on Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Doug O'Neill will send out three-time stakes winner Fore Left for as he searches for his first triumph on grass. The bay son of Twirling Candy last raced when finishing a distant ninth in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes to Tiz the Law, which came after a victory in the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
Fore Left has recorded one start over grass, which came in the Grade 3 Cecil DeMille on December 1 at Del Mar at the distance of one mile.
As a 2-year-old, Fore Left won the Tremont over the main track at Belmont Park by 4 ½ lengths, following a win on debut over next-out victors Phantom Boss and Raging Whiskey. That October he collected another stakes score when taking the restricted Sunny Slope at Santa Anita, earnings a career-best 83 Beyer Speed Figure.
Fore Left is the field's most seasoned horse in the field, winning four of his 10 lifetime starts, and boasts the highest career earnings at $355,902.
Jockey Jose Ortiz will pilot Fore Left from post 5.
Trainer Jack Sisterson, a protege of O'Neill, will be represented by High Cruise and Flap Jack, a pair of Calumet Farms-owned colts who also are seeking their first victories on grass.
Both High Cruise and Flap Jack worked in company on Sunday morning over the Oklahoma turf training track recording their respective half-mile works in 48.77 seconds - the fastest of 52 recorded works at the distance.
High Cruise was a 7 ½-length winner at second asking going six furlongs at Thistledown, where he lead at every point of call. He made his career debut at Churchill Downs as the favorite where he tracked close to the pace but flattened out to finish a distant eighth.
Sisterson said that one can expect High Cruise to display the same front-running tactics in Friday's race.
"High Cruise will be up there. We added the blinkers at Thistle and he breezed in blinkers this morning, we're keeping them on," Sisterson said. "I expect him on the lead or be forwardly placed. We thought in his prior race at Churchill he would go to the front. In his works, he showed an abundance of speed. [Jockey] Julie [Burke] got off him when he broke his maiden and said 'Don't be afraid to cut him back in distance', he was that quick."
While High Cruise will only make his third career start in the Quick Call, Flap Jack will seek his second career stakes win having won the Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park last September.
The dark bay son of Oxbow broke his maiden in the seven-furlong event at 17-1 odds drawing away by four lengths. He made his 2020 debut in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 7 at Aqueduct, where he was sixth in the one-turn mile event.
Following two unplaced distant efforts against two-turn stakes company, Sisterson shipped the horse to Thistledown, where he defeated winners by four lengths.
"He won the Arlington Futurity impressively last year when he was still sort of a immature colt and still learning," Sisterson said. "When we brought him back in the Gotham, he made a bold move turning for home and just flattened out. We put him in two turns starts and he showed to us in his running that we should cut him back. He was making middle moves and flattening out at the end. It's a matter of the distance for him, not the surface."
Like his stablemate, Flap Jack also will be wearing blinkers.
"He still acts a little green when he hits the front. We figured the blinkers would help him stay focused," Sisterson said. "It's not to get him into the race. It's more so to keep him in line when he hits the front."
Sisterson said that the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam on August 29 could be in play for both horses should they put up a good effort.
"We have the Amsterdam in mind, both horses have talent. We thought, let's have this race be a prep if they both run well," Sisterson said.
High Cruise will break from the rail under Dylan Davis while Flap Jack will leave from post 3 under Tyler Gaffalione.
Gary Barber's Jack and Noah will seek a third stakes win on the NYRA circuit for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse.
The gray or roan son of Bated Breath won the Sir Cat over Belmont Park's inner turf last out earning an 89 Beyer and took last year's Atlantic Beach over the turf at Aqueduct. His lone start at the Quick Call distance came in a Churchill Downs allowance event two starts back where he finished a head behind stakes-winner Chimney Rock.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will attempt his second win in the Quick Call aboard Jack and Noah from post 2.
Completing the field are Old Chestnut [post 4, Junior Alvarado], Power Up Paynter [post 7, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Turned Aside [post 8, Jose Lezcano]. Sky of Hook [post 6] has been entered for main track only.
The Quick Call is slated as Race 9 on Friday's 10-race card, which offers a first post of 1:10 p.m. Eastern. Saratoga Live will present daily television coverage of the 40-day summer meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. For the complete Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
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