Mott hoping history repeats itself with Scotland in G1 Travers | NYRA
Aug 24, 2023
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Mott hoping history repeats itself with Scotland in G1 Travers

by NYRA Press Ofiice

  • Mott hoping history repeats itself with Scotland in G1 Travers
  • Winchell Thoroughbreds has three chances to dethrone a Champion on Travers Day
  • Proxy on target for G1 JCGC
  • Summers hopeful private purchase Clapton will be cream of the crop in G1 JCGC
  • Ebbert enjoying the ride with G1 Belmont Stakes-winner Arcangelo
  • Amoss sends out Sixtythreecaliber and Alys Beach in Saratoga stakes; Hoosier Philly to G3 Charles Town Oaks
  • Malloy steps up to the task in G1 Personal Ensign
  • G2-placed Sterling Silver looking to spring upset in G1 Ballerina
  • Rookie Report: Well-bred Shop Lifting ready for career bow on Travers undercard
  • Early look at Saratoga Race Course Week 8 stakes probables

LNJ Foxwoods’ Kentucky homebred Scotland will have history on his side when he tackles Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Mage, Grade 1 Preakness hero National Treasure and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets victor Arcangelo in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers at Saratoga Race Course.

This will be just the fourth time in its 154-year history that the three Triple Crown race winners will meet in the Travers. In each of the three previous instances, they were beaten by a horse that was not on the Triple Crown trail.

Sun Briar (1918), Runaway Groom (1982) and West Coast (2017) all delivered upsets in the Travers. To add his name to the list, Scotland will also have to defeat Grade 1-winning stablemates Forte, the Champion 2-Year-Old Colt of 2022 that is the Travers program favorite, and Tapit Trice; as well as graded stakes-winner Disarm.

Scotland will be making just his fifth start and first against graded company in the Travers, but is coming in off back-to-back wins including a 3 1/4-length triumph in the July 21 Curlin, both his Saratoga and two-turn debut.

“Well, we couldn’t have picked a tougher spot,” Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said. “I think it’s a great race. You’ve got the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont winner plus the Champion 2-year-old and another one that’s coming off a couple good races. It’s a good field. You can’t ask for much more than that. They’re all here.

“By this time of year with your 3-year-olds, the ones that have made it and are tough enough to make it this far are usually a pretty high-quality type of horses,” he added. “A lot of horses [got] eliminated in the Derby or the Preakness or the Belmont and people discovered, ‘Well, we don’t need to be running against Forte or the group that’s in there.’ They sometimes go to different spots. It becomes a really good, usually a seasoned, quality group of horses.”

Such is the case in the Travers, where Scotland and Tapit Trice are the longest shots on the board at morning-line odds of 12-1. By Good Magic, who ran ninth in the 2018 Travers, Scotland went unraced at 2 before graduating at first asking in a seven-furlong maiden sprint March 4 at Gulfstream Park.

Scotland was beaten a nose when second to subsequent Ellis Park Derby winner Tumbarumba in an open seven-furlong allowance April 23 at Keeneland, and returned with a one-mile optional claiming victory June 3 at Churchill Downs in his Curlin prep.

“We think he’s a good horse and he’s been training well and he’s shown us that he deserves an opportunity,” Mott said. “So, he’ll get his chance.”

Mott dominated the Saratoga trainer standings winning or sharing eight titles in 10 years between 1992 and 2001. He has had 11 starters in 10 Travers, running both Vision and Verse (second) and Unbridled Jet (eighth) in 1999. Mott also finished second with Hold Me Back in 2009 and Tacitus in 2019, and puts the Travers near the top of his bucket list.

“Absolutely,” he said. “There wasn’t many there that I really wanted and hadn’t won. I wanted to win the Met Mile and we got that taken care of [with Cody's Wish]. I’ve always been fascinated by that race and even if I didn’t have horses in it, I’d want to watch because I think it’s a great race.

“We’ve finished second in the Travers a few times,” he added. “I’d love to win it.”

Mott will have starters in three stakes on the Travers undercard. He entered both reigning Champion Male Sprinter Elite Power, riding an eight-race win streak, and High Oak in the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego; will give Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire Channel Maker a sixth straight start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer, and Caramel Swirl in the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina.

The Sword Dancer and Ballerina are ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifying races for the Grade 1, $4 million Longines Turf and Grade 1, $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint, respectively, November 4 at Santa Anita.

Channel Maker earned his way back to the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer, a race he won in 2020, with a front-running two-length triumph in the Grade 2 Bowling Green July 30 at Saratoga. All 10 of the 9-year-old gelding’s wins have come in stakes, seven graded, including other Grade 1 triumphs in the 2018 and 2020 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and 2019 Man o’ War. He is approaching $4 million in purse earnings.

“I can’t say enough. What can you say? He just sort of seems like an oddity in this day and age that he’s able to stay around and still be in somewhat close to top form,” Mott said. “There were plans that if he hadn’t have run well last time that he’d be retired, but as long as he’s doing well [he’ll run]. I don’t think any of us want to see his form go five races beaten double digits or something like that. That’s not going to happen.”


Winchell Thoroughbreds has three chances to dethrone a Champion on Travers Day

Lining up against three defending Eclipse Award-winning Champions at Grade 1 level is no easy task, but Winchell Thoroughbreds will have three golden opportunities on Saturday’s loaded Travers Day program at Saratoga Race Course.

Winchell Thoroughbreds will be well-represented as they send out Grade 1 winner Gunite for a rematch against 2022 Champion Male Sprinter Elite Power in the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego. Echo Zulu, a Champion in her own right, will be joined by stakes-winning millionaire Wicked Halo, as they square off against Goodnight Olive – last year’s Champion Female Sprinter – in the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina.

After winning last year’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers with eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Male Epicenter, Winchell Thoroughbreds will seek their second straight Travers triumph with graded stakes winner Disarm, who will face three American Classic winners and 2022 Champion 2-Year-Old Forte. All the Winchell-owned horses are by 2017 Horse of the Year and leading North American sire Gun Runner and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

“It’s unusual for us to run in three Grade 1s on the same day, especially at Saratoga, but to win those three races and you have to beat a Champion in every race to win – that’s pretty tough. It’ll be a good day and hopefully things go our way in a couple of those races,” said Winchell Thoroughbreds’ racing manager David Fiske.

Gunite, who captured the Spa’s 2021 Hopeful and the Grade 2 Amsterdam last year, has finished second to Elite Power twice this season. After a four-length seasonal debut triumph in Oaklawn Park’s King Cotton, Gunite shipped to Saudi Arabia to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Elite Power in the Group 3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint on February 25 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. The earner of over $1.8 million enters from a narrow runner-up effort to Elite Power in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on July 29 over sloppy and sealed conditions at the Spa. He held a 1 1/2-length advantage in the stretch drive, but was unable to stave off Elite Power’s late advance and was beaten a head.

“Gunite seems to be getting bigger and faster as a 4-year-old. Hopefully, at some point, we can see him turn the tables,” Fiske said. “Those two seem pretty evenly matched at the moment. With a small field it can be strategic and it turns into a rider’s race.”

When asked if he would like to see anything different this time around, Fiske quipped: “I’d like to see him win, that would be the first thing.

“Somewhere in upper stretch, I thought we had a big chance to win but Elite Power tipped out at the top of the stretch. He is a formidable individual, which is why he’s the Champion,” Fiske added.

Although there is still ground to cover for the remainder of the season, Fiske said there is a “possibility” that Gunite could return to action for his 5-year-old year.

Winchell Thoroughbreds, in partnership with L and N Racing, campaign 2021 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and Ballerina aspirant Echo Zulu, who enters the prestigious seven-furlong test from a career-high 112 Beyer Speed Figure earned when capturing the Grade 2 Honorable Miss on July 26 at the Spa.

The 4-year-old bay has never lost at Saratoga, earning a debut win in July 2021 before capturing the Grade 1 Spinaway at the end of the year en route to prominent scores in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar.

After rounding out her sophomore season with a second-place finish behind Goodnight Olive in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Keeneland, Echo Zulu returned with vigor when capturing the Grade 3 Winning Colors on May 29 at Churchill Downs.

Echo Zulu’s 112 Beyer is the co-leading figure of any thoroughbred this year, tying the number registered by Cody’s Wish in the Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan on June 10 at Belmont.

“I believe she’s been training better this year than she ever has before. We gave her a little time off over the winter and worked on her ankles a little bit and she’s come back fantastic,” Fiske said. “Of course, just like Gunite, she has run well at Saratoga since she was a 2-year-old. Both of them are stakes winners at 2, 3 and 4 and I think they both have a chance. It should be interesting.”

Wicked Halo, a 4-year-old gray filly, was cross-entered in the Ballerina as well as Friday evening’s seven-furlong Pink Ribbon at Charles Town. She was last seen posting a seventh overall stakes triumph in the Twin Bridges on July 23 at Ellis Park. Like Echo Zulu, Wicked Halo also is unbeaten at the Spa, having captured the 2021 Grade 2 Adirondack – a race won by her Tapit-sired dam Just Wicked in 2015 – before returning to Saratoga the following summer to win the Grade 2 Prioress. She followed with another graded score in the Grade 2 Raven Run in October at Keeneland before rounding out the trifecta in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Fiske expressed hope that adding blinkers will result in the change he is hoping to see with Disarm as he faces Forte, Grade 1 Kentucky Derby-winner Mage, Grade 1 Preakness-winner National Treasure and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets-winner Arcangelo. 

Fourth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Disarm returned to action to capture the Grade 3 Matt Winn on June 11 at Ellis Park before finishing fourth behind Forte in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy presented by DK Horse on July 29 at Saratoga. In all aforementioned starts, Disarm was piloted by Joel Rosario, who maintains the mount for the Travers.

“I think he was a little immature in the Derby. Joel said he wasn’t appreciating the kickback going down the backside all that much. He was kind of starting and stopping,” Fiske recalled. “He’s trained well, his speed figures no matter whose scale you use, seem to be getting better, and he seems to be getting better. The Travers looks like it’ll be the premiere 3-year-old race of the year. It’s unusual that you get the Derby, Preakness and Belmont winners; the horse that would have been the favorite in the Derby [Forte]. It’s pretty deep. I’m not surprised that it’s only seven horses, but they all have a legitimate chance to show up.”

Fiske said the addition of blinkers was made to get Disarm “a little more focused.”

“He’s always been relatively prominent and tends to be about three or four lengths off the pace, but Steve thinks there’s more talent there to pull out of him,” Fiske said. “I don’t know if that will appear on Saturday or if we’ll wait until next year to see it. Hopefully, the blinkers will make a difference.”

Gun Runner was campaigned by Winchell and Asmussen through an illustrious career that included six Grade 1 wins, earnings in excess of $15 million, as well as 2017 Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year honors. Gun Runner, North America’s leading third crop stallion, has already produced a Champion in Echo Zulu, last year’s Grade 1 Preakness winner Early Voting, as well as Grade 1 winners Taiba and Cyberknife.

“I think as fast as they were at two, it’s scary to think they get faster at 3 and 4,” Fiske noted. “He’s the gift that keeps on giving. Steve said one day that he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to and done it easily. Whether it was on the racetrack or in the breeding shed … I don’t even have the adjectives anymore to describe what he does for and means to all of us.”


Proxy on target for G1 JCGC

Godolphin’s Kentucky homebred Proxy, winner of the Grade 1 Clark in November at Churchill Downs, will headline next Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. The 10-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita Park.

The 5-year-old Tapit bay, out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Include mare Panty Raid, was last seen on July 22 posting a gate-to-wire score in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Monmouth Cup.

With Joel Rosario up, Proxy grinded through three-quarters in 1:12.05 and held a narrow head lead at the stretch call over Whelen Springs but drew clear with an eighth of a mile to run and won by 2 1/2-lengths. Whelen Springs exited that effort to win the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin at Monmouth.

Stidham said the odds-on victory was an unorthodox one for the late-running Proxy.

"Going into the race, it looked like the type of field he was a bit superior in and the way the race set up we ended up on the lead, which was very surprising,” Stidham said. “There wasn't much speed and Rosario didn't want to take a chance of getting him shuffled back. We wound up on the lead, and turning for home, it looked like we were in trouble actually. By the eighth pole, he started to inch away and won it pretty easily in the end.

“It turned out to be a bit of a tough race for him, but he came out of it in good shape,” added Stidham. “He's been doing very well. He's had two works and we'll work him again this weekend which will be his final work going into the Jockey Club.”

Proxy has banked in excess of $2 million through a record of 18-6-6-2. He hit the board in five graded stakes before making the grade with a prominent three-quarter length score over West Will Power in the nine-furlong Clark.

Proxy rallied from seventh to finish a close second to Stilleto Boy in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March ahead of a late rush to win the nine-furlong Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap by a head in April.

“He's pretty baffling the way he runs. If the race isn't loaded with speed where he gets shuffled back early, he's able to maintain his position,” Stidham said. “But when they go really fast up front and he gets shuffled back, a lot of times it's difficult for him to make up the ground.

“Although, in the Santa Anita Handicap that happened and he was able to almost get there - he came and made a late surge,” Stidham continued. “It's quite quirky the way he runs, but hopefully things set up well and I think the mile and a quarter only helps our chances as it tends to be a bit of a slower pace early and a little bit more ground for him to make up ground when he needs to.”

Stidham finished second in the 2020 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup with Godolphin homebred Mystic Guide, who went on to capture the Group 1 Dubai World Cup five months later at Meydan Racecourse.

“Getting horses like Proxy and Mystic Guide is every trainer's dream come true. I can't say enough about the opportunities that they've given me,” said Stidham regarding training for Godolphin.

Whether or not his talented bay horse returns for another season of racing will likely depend on how well he finishes up this campaign, but Stidham said he has appreciated the opportunity to watch Proxy develop over four seasons of racing.

“As a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old, he was a tall, narrowish type of colt. You could see he was a big kid that hadn't grown up yet and now he's an absolute picture,” Stidham said. “He's such a big, pretty horse with big dapples all over him and very good conformation. He's matured and developed both mentally and physically into the horse that we hoped he would be.”


Summers hopeful private purchase Clapton will be cream of the crop in G1 JCGC

Clapton, a half-length winner of the Grade 3 Ghostzapper in April at Gulfstream Park, was purchased privately by Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s RRR Racing and has been transferred to trainer Chad Summers. 

The 4-year-old Brethren colt will target next Saturday’s 10-furlong Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita Park.

Summers said Clapton, who finished second to Charge It last out in the 10-furlong Grade 2 Suburban on July 8 at Belmont Park, will be given every opportunity to make the Breeders’ Cup with longer-term targets at the Dubai World Cup Carnival under consideration.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to work for His Highness,” Summers said. “We try and find horses for the carnival and the big races overseas, year in and year out. We've had a few horses on our radar and we were able to get this deal done.

“If he were to run well here, you'd look towards a race like the Breeders’ Cup,” added Summers. “If not, we'll prepare him for races at the carnival like the Maktoum Challenge Round 1 going a mile and it opens up the door to the Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup. There's a lot of window of opportunity over there. How he does Saturday will do a lot to determining his future stateside or overseas.”

Previously trained by Juan Alvarado, the former Florida homebred for Arindel boasts a record of 22-5-4-6 for purse earnings of $522,890. He has competed mainly at Gulfstream Park, graduating at six furlongs in July 2021 and taking the one-mile Gil Campbell Memorial Handicap in October. Clapton has made his last three starts in graded company, finishing third to likely returning rival Rattle N Roll in the 1 3/16-mile Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May ahead of his Suburban effort that garnered a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

“If you go back and watch his races, he's very consistent. He's a cool horse and there's things we look for in our purchases - he's tactical; and he's won at different distances,” Summers said. “His Ghostzapper going a mile and a sixteenth was really impressive. He came back and ran a mile and a quarter in the Suburban last time out running second to Charge It and that is nothing to sneeze at. I love his running style. He just grinds and he keeps trying.”

Clapton worked five-eighths in 1:00.12 Saturday over the Gulfstream Park main track in company with four-time winner The Skipper Too, who recently ran fourth in the Birdstone on July 27 here.

“He did it the right way,” Summers said. “He worked in company with Skipper and blew him away at the top of the stretch. He’s up here now and we’ll look to breeze him on the weekend.”

To win the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Clapton will have to topple a talented field led by Grade 1-winner and $2-million earning Godolphin homebred Proxy.

“It's going to be a tough field,” Summers said. “Any time you run against the blue - whether in America or overseas - blue is the one you've got to try and beat. We'll give it our all and hopefully get a little lucky.”

Clapton, a full-brother to stakes-placed Knox, is out of the stakes-winning Afleet Alex mare Alexandra Rylee.


Ebbert enjoying the ride with G1 Belmont Stakes-winner Arcangelo

Jon Ebbert of Blue Rose Farm hit a home run when purchasing Arcangelo for $35,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The Arrogate ridgling, who is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line for Saturday's Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers, lived up to his pedigree last out with a 1 1/2-length score in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

Arcangelo is out of the Tapit mare Modeling, whose second dam Better Than Honour produced Belmont Stakes winners Jazil [2006] and Rags to Riches [2007].

A maiden winner at third asking in March at Gulfstream Park, Arcangelo won his stakes debut in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Peter Pan in May at Belmont before taking the Belmont Stakes for trainer Jena Antonucci, who became the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race.

"It's been an unbelievable experience and a dream come true," Ebbert said. "I visit him all the time. I've made a couple trips up to Saratoga just to see him and I've been here for about 10 days now and go to see him every morning. He looks amazing. It's the best I've ever seen him."

A son of 2016 Travers-winner and stakes record-holder Arrogate, Arcangelo has banked more than 30 times his purchase price and seeks to provide Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano a record-extending seventh Travers coup.

"We're confident. I'm so happy with Jena and Javier - we're blessed to have them," Ebbert said. "Saratoga is an amazing place with the history here. Just to be at the track and in the town, it's like you're walking back in time."

Ebbert said Arcangelo made a memorable first impression at the sale.

"I've still never seen a horse like that. He caught my eye and he was the most beautiful horse I've ever seen," Ebbert said. "I had an idea that he could mature into a great horse. He was scrawny and there wasn't much to him, but he was leggy and I thought he'd mature. He looked athletic. I saw what he could be."

Ebbert is looking forward to debuting a Hard Spun 2-year-old colt out of the graded stakes-placed Jump Start mare Maude later this year. Purchased for $35,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the unnamed chestnut is a half-brother to the multiple graded stakes-placed Crowded Trade.

He also spent $50,000 on a Vino Rosso yearling at the recent Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale. The colt is out of the winning Bernardini mare Turn and Bern, who is a full-sister to multiple stakes-winner Haul Anchor and a half-sibling to multiple stakes-winners Mark My Way and Hard to Stay Notgo.

"He looked like a fast Vino Rosso - not all of them that I've seen look like they have a quick turn of foot and he looked like he has speed. So, we'll find out in about a year," Ebbert said.

The frugal Ebbert said despite his recent success, he remains steadfast in trying to find the right horse at the right price.

"I'm a little pickier than I used to be. I'm looking for Arcangelo, but they really don't make them like that," Ebbert said. "It's a little tougher to find something I like for the right price."


Amoss sends out Sixtythreecaliber and Alys Beach in Saratoga stakes; Hoosier Philly to G3 Charles Town Oaks

MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm’s graded stakes-winner Sixtythreecaliber will try the top flight again in Friday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Personal Ensign, a nine-furlong main track test for older fillies and mares, at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Tom Amoss, Sixtythreecaliber won last out going one mile in an optional claiming tilt on July 19 at the Spa. The 4-year-old daughter of Gun Runner settled along the rail about three lengths off the pace in fourth-of-5 through the top of the lane. To the delight of many MyRacehorse owners waiting outside of the winner’s circle, Sixtythreecaliber surged from the three-path in mid-stretch to win by a neck.

“She’s a little quirky. She’s a horse that likes to be in her own little world and does not run well inside of horses,” said Amoss. “It took her a long time to get out and get the kind of trip where she had some room. As soon as she did, she responded well.”

Despite winning after an undesirable trip, the Personal Ensign will be a tall order for Sixtythreecaliber, taking on last year’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Nest, multiple Grade 1-winner Clairiere and last year's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner Secret Oath.

“It’s a very difficult spot. You got a Champion in there who’s come back and run just as impressively or more than when she was three-years-old,” Amoss said. “Sixtythreecaliber deserves an opportunity in a race like this. She’s been ultra-consistent and is a graded stakes winner who’s already won this summer over the Saratoga track.”

Sixtythreecaliber boasts a 12-6-1-1 record with a win in the Grade 3 Comely in November at Aqueduct to close her sophomore campaign. She returned to action in January with an off-the-board effort in the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston then tried Grade 1 company in May in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs, finishing eighth-of-10.

Gold Standard Racing Stable’s Hoosier Philly was entered for July’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at the Spa, but scratched with a minor foot issue. The talented Grade 2 winner will be back in the starting gate on Friday in the Grade 3, $750,000 Charles Town Oaks, going seven furlongs.

“She’s doing well. We feel very comfortable in a bull ring type [of oval] with her, she’s very athletic,” said Amoss. “I’ve raced on this track before and had success there. I do think you have to be in a situation where you get a clean trip. That’s going to be really important.”

Last out on June 17, Hoosier Philly bested next-out CCA Oaks-winner Wet Paint in the one-mile Monomoy Girl at Ellis Park. The gray daughter of Into Mischief ran uncontested on the front end before drawing away, a strategy she attempted a month earlier when caught by Taxed for second in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

Hoosier Philly, a $510,000 purchase at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, now holds a 7-4-1-1 record with a win the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs as a juvenile.

Greg Tramontin’s Alys Beach is a promising filly for Amoss, winning first time out in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden tilt on July 30 at Saratoga. The daughter of Omaha Beach rallied inside of several foes to win her debut in a photo finish. Amoss was impressed with the rail-running stretch drive, and said the filly lived up to his expectations.

“I remember her at the sale. She walked out of the shed and the first thing that caught my attention was her engine, her rear end,” Amoss recalls. “I thought to myself ‘she’s going to have to have a lot wrong with her up front for me not to be interested.’ I was very impressed.”

Amoss added Alys Beach will be pointed towards the seven-furlong Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway on September 3.


Malloy steps up to the task in G1 Personal Ensign

Three-time winner Malloy will step up to the plate for trainer Wayne Catalano in Friday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga Race Course.

Owned by Bob Cummings and Annette Bacola’s Coffeepot Stables, Malloy enters from a 5 1/4-length win in an off-the-turf allowance optional claimer going one mile and 70 yards at Hawthorne Race Course. The 5-year-old Outwork bay ended a 12-race slump in proving two-turn capabilities, having not won since defeating winners going seven furlongs in June 2021 at Churchill Downs.

Malloy will face the daunting task of taking on last year’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Nest, multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Clairiere and last year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath. Although a David amongst Goliaths in the nine-furlong Spa test, Catalano said his mare has given him all the indications that she’s sitting on a big race.

“She’s grown up, filled out and doing much better. I really like the way she’s progressing and I’m looking forward to running her. I think she’ll run a nice race for us,” Catalano said.

Catalano said a Personal Ensign triumph would be a sweet one for the owners, who spend lots of time in Saratoga Springs.

“We know that we’re in a real tough race, but the Cummings like Saratoga and they want to give her a try in the race.” Catalano admitted. “In a race like this, you never know if you’re going to be third or what. We’re just going to let her run her race and let the race unfold.”

Malloy is out of the dual stakes-winning Lemon Drop Kid mare Hello Maggie May, who also produced dual Louisiana-bred stakes winner Late September. She was bought at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale for $175,000.

She will break from post 2 under Dylan Davis at 50-1 morning line odds.

On the Travers undercard, Catalano will unleash first time starting juvenile filly Willowy – a third generation Coffepot Stables homebred by More Than Ready.

The dark bay filly has breezed consistently at Saratoga since arriving in late July and last breezed on Sunday morning, going five furlongs in 1:02.41.

Willowy is one of several juveniles for Coffepot Stables under the care of Catalano.

“Right now, she’s come the furthest along. She’s shown a little more and showing some talent and I think maybe she’ll run well up there, so I brought her on up,” Catalano said.

Willowy is out of the two-time winning Fusaichi Pegasus mare She’s On Parade, whose second dam was 1987 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Sacahuista.

Tabbed at 15-1 morning line odds, Willowy will break from post 7 under Davis.


G2-placed Sterling Silver looking to spring upset in G1 Ballerina

In an otherwise quiet summer, trainer Tom Albertrani is hoping to make some noise with Mark Anderson’s Sterling Silver in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina at Saratoga Race Course.

The 4-year-old Cupid filly, still seeking her first open-company stakes win, faces seven rivals, all of whom have graded-stakes credentials led by champions Goodnight Olive and Echo Zulu and fellow multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Matareya.

“It’s a tough spot,” Albertrani said. “We’re coming off of some good races with her, but this will definitely be a big task for her. We’re just hoping that she can run well and pick up some pieces, maybe, and who knows. Whatever happens, happens. We just felt like off of her last race why not give her a shot.”

Sterling Silver exits a one-length optional claiming victory July 29 at Saratoga, giving her a win over the track at the same seven-furlong distance as the Ballerina, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint November 4 at Santa Anita.

Last year the New York-bred Sterling Silver ran in five consecutive graded stakes, two of them at Saratoga. After finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Test, also going seven furlongs, she was cut back to six furlongs for the Grade 2 Prioress and closed to be second by a neck at odds of 37-1 to another millionaire in Wicked Halo, also entered in the Ballerina.

“It all depended on how she ran in her last start,” Albertrani said of the Ballerina. “I could have put her in a New York-bred race again. It was the most logical place to go, but why not take a shot? We ran second in the Prioress last year when we took her out of New York-bred company and she just narrowly got beat that day. She’s run some good races and we’ll be happy just to see her run well.”

Sterling Silver hasn’t faced graded company since running ninth of 12 in last fall’s Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland, where Goodnight Olive, Echo Zulu and Wicked Halo ran 1-2-3. She has two wins, one second and one third in five starts this year.

“The Breeders’ Cup was another race where we kind of threw her in the deep end again and it was no real embarrassment. She ran OK,” Albertrani said. “Still, it’s a task for her. We know that, and we’ll take a chance.”

Sterling Silver, bred by Mallory and Karen Mort, drew the rail in the Ballerina under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, riding for the fifth straight race. Carrying just 116 pounds, she gets from two to eight pounds from her rivals.

“I don’t think [the post] really makes a whole lot of difference with her,” Albertrani said. “She’s going to be probably coming from toward the back end, anyway.”

Sterling Silver’s victory last month is the lone win from just 11 starters at the meet for Albertrani, best known as the trainer of Bernardini, whose 3-year-old championship season of 2006 included wins in the Grade 1 Travers and Grade 2 Jim Dandy. In 2017 Albertrani saddled Sadler’s Joy to a win in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, a race where he also saw Twilight Eclipse run second in 2013 and third from 2014-16.

In his career Albertrani has won more than four dozen graded-stakes, the most recent coming with Astronaut in the Grade 2 Red Smith in November at Aqueduct.

“We enjoy it. It's always nice not just to participate, but to win the big ones. We’ve had a lot of success in the past. Sadler’s Joy and going back to Bernardini, we’ve had some good meets. Hopefully we can just knock one out,” Albertrani said. “We’ve only started 11 horses but at least we got one in the bag. I think we’ve got a couple more lined up the last couple weeks and hopefully we can add a couple more.”


Rookie Report: Well-bred Shop Lifting ready for career bow on Travers undercard

For the past five years, the lucrative Travers Day card at Saratoga Race Course has seen subsequent graded stakes winners graduate in maiden races on the undercard, including Verifying [2022], Jack Christopher [2021], Mutasaabeq [2020], Tap It To Win, [2019], Magic Star [2019] and Forty Under [2018].

This year, Team Spoor’s regally-bred Shop Lifting could be a star in the making for trainer Tony Dutrow as she makes her debut in Race 6 on Saturday off a series of impressive works at the Spa, including a half-mile bullet from the gate in 47 seconds flat over the main track on August 16 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons.

“She’s been well prepared, and she knows the paddock and gate very well,” said Dutrow. “She’s got a solid foundation and all is there except the experience, so I’ll watch the race like everybody else and take it from there.”

Shop Lifting has no shortage of talent in her pedigree, her dam being 2007 Grade 1 Personal Ensign victress Miss Shop, a daughter of Deputy Minister that Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens trained to two other graded scores through a record of 27-9-3-4 and earnings over $1.1 million. Miss Shop is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner and sire Trappe Shot, as well as Shop Again, the dam of dual graded stakes-winner Power Broker.

Shop Lifting is a half-sister to Tin Type Gal, a dual graded stakes-winner on turf, and was a $475,000 purchase at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. In addition to her prolific female family, Shop Lifting’s sire Into Mischief has been the leading general sire four times and saw his progeny earn a record $28,106,800 in total purse earnings last year.

“It’s astonishing how talented those Into Mischiefs are,” said Dutrow. “How can a stud pass along that amount of talent to so many of his offspring? He’s incredible. Shop Lifting is a typical Into Mischief with all the talent in the world.”

As far as race strategy on Saturday, Dutrow said he is content to let the race play out however it does.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen – American Pharoah lost the first time – but I have my opinion, and that is, looking at her, you think, ‘Wow,’” Dutrow said. “If you told me she was a 5-year-old, I wouldn’t even question it. When I see her out there on the racetrack, it’s like few can do. I firmly believe that she’s a nicer kind and time will tell just how nice.”

Shop Lifting, tabbed at 6-1 on the morning line, will exit post 4-of-10 in rein to Jose Ortiz.


Early look at Saratoga Race Course Week 8 stakes probables


Wednesday, August 30

$150K P.G. Johnson

Probable: Cynane (Tom Morley), Hard to Justify (Chad Brown), Madame Mischief (Jorge Delgado), Ozara (Christophe Clement), She Feels Pretty (Cherie DeVaux)

Thursday, August 31

G3 With Anticipation

Probable: Carson’s Run (Clement), Manabi (Arnaud Delacour), Market Street (D. Wayne Lukas), Nomos (Todd Pletcher)

Friday, September 1

G3 Saranac

Probable: Freedom Trail (John Terranova), Lost Ark (Pletcher), Mendelssohns March (Ken McPeek), Yacowlef (Jack Sisterson)

Saturday, September 2

G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup (BCWAYI)

Probable: Bright Future (Pletcher), Clapton (Chad Summers), Duke of Love (Josie Carroll), Proxy (Michael Stidham), Rattle N Roll (McPeek), Unbridled Bomber (Jim Ryerson), Warrior Johny (Phil Bauer)

G2 Flower Bowl (BCWAYI)

Probable: Amazing Grace (Clement), McKulick (C. Brown), Tamarama (Sisterson), War Like Goddess (Bill Mott)

Possible: Atomic Blonde (Clement), Sparkle Blue (H. Graham Motion)

G2 Prioress

Probable: Alva Starr (Brett Brinkman), Dazzling Blue (Brad Cox), Leave No Trace (Phil Serpe), Unified Alliance (Morley)

Possible: Unsung Melody (John Ortiz)

$150K Harvey Pack (previously the Lucky Coin)

Probable: Big Invasion (Clement), Mister Mmmmm (Jason Barkley), Our Shot (Terranova), Outlaw Kid (George Weaver)

Sunday, September 3

G1 Spinaway (BC Dirt Dozen)

Probable: Becky’s Joker (Gary Contessa), Brightwork (Ortiz), Closing Act (Steve Asmussen), Lady Moscato (Lukas), Sam’s Treasure (Wesley Ward), Sugar Hi (Mott), Ways and Means (C. Brown)

Possible: Alys Beach (Tom Amoss)

Monday, September 4

G1 Hopeful

Probable: Gold Sweep (Asmussen), Just Steel (Lukas), Nutella Fella (Contessa), Pirate (Pletcher), Rhyme Schemes (Norm Casse), Timberlake (Cox), Valentine Candy (Asmussen)

$150K Bernard Baruch

Probable: Chazzesmee (James Stack), Emmanuel (Pletcher), Wit (Pletcher)

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More Notes

Happy Tenth Stable sends Yo Yo Candy in search of second Saratoga upset in Monday's G1 Hopeful
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NYRA Press Ofiice

Happy Tenth Stable enjoyed their first ever graded stakes win when the Daniel Velazquez-trained Yo Yo Candy edged clear to a 2 1/4-length score at odds of 46-1 in the six-furlong Grade 3 Sanford on July 15 at Saratoga Race Course. The Danzing Candy colt will return to the Spa on Monday in search of another upset in the seven-furlong Grade 1, $300,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds.

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