New York-breds in the spotlight on annual New York Showcase Day at Saratoga
Stakes Advance
Jun 3, 2024
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New York-breds in the spotlight on annual New York Showcase Day at Saratoga

by NYRA Press Office

Sunday’s Closing Day program of the four-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course will feature six New York-bred stakes to celebrate the best of racing in the Empire State for New York Showcase Day.

Sunday’s card kicks off with the Grade 1, $150,000 Beverly R. Steinman for open older horses at 2 3/8-miles over hurdles before the New York-bred program begins with six state-bred stakes worth $900,000, headlined by a pair of nine-furlong $200,000 contests for 3-year-olds and up in the Commentator and the Critical Eye for fillies and mares.

"The opportunity to kick off the first of our three New York-bred Showcase Days throughout the year and anchor closing day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in Saratoga will be a phenomenal moment to display the depth, quality, awards, and purses New York-breds compete for on racing's biggest stage," said New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. executive director Najja Thompson. "Each New York-bred Showcase Day demonstrates NYRA's commitment to breeders, owners, and trainers who participate in the New York-bred program in partnership with NYTB and the NYS Breeding & Development Fund. We look forward to showcasing to an extremely competitive card."

Michael J. Caruso and Michael Dubb’s graded stakes-placed Dr Ardito [post 3, Flavien Prat], the reigning NYTB Champion Older Dirt Male, headlines the Commentator [Race 6] and adds blinkers as he looks to improve upon a fourth-place finish in this event last year when contested at 1 1/16-miles.

The 6-year-old Liam’s Map gray, bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, boasts a record of 16-8-2-1 for purse earnings of $515,993. He won his lone start over this track last year, taking the state-bred Evan Shipman Handicap at one-mile out of the Wilson Chute when 1 1/4-lengths better than returning rival Sheriff Bianco.

Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, Dr Ardito is a dual state-bred stakes-winner at the Big A where he took the Haynesfield last February and the Alex M. Robb in December. He arrives from an off-the-board effort in the Grade 3 Westchester.

Steep competition will be provided by Robert S. Evans’ homebred Drake’s Passage [post 2, Manny Franco], who captured the nine-furlong state-bred Albany here in August to cap a three-race win streak.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the 4-year-old Tonalist colt has finished a close second in each of his last two starts while contesting open allowance company at Aqueduct.

Donegal Racing’s Donegal Surges [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] sports a ledger of 8-3-1-2 and purse earnings of $212,020 for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.

The 4-year-old Candy Ride colt, bred by Chester and Mary Broman, graduated on debut in August 2022 at the Spa and followed up with a runner-up effort in the state-bred Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. He missed his sophomore season but has returned to racing action with aplomb, besting state-bred winners on two occasions this winter at Aqueduct ahead of a third-place finish last out in the Big A’s state-bred Affirmed Success.

A. Bianco Holding Limited’s Sheriff Bianco [post 1, Jose Lezcano] boasts field-high purse earnings of $648,173 through a 30-6-13-6 record and enters for trainer Linda Rice, who took honors as the 2023 NYTB Trainer of the Year.

The 6-year-old Speightster gelding, bred by SF Bloodstock, will seek his first stakes win and first win at Saratoga, arriving from a game second in the Affirmed Success.

Rounding out a solid field are stakes-winner Whittington Park [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche] for trainer Jeremiah Englehart; stakes-placed Union Fleet [post 6, Andres Chavez] for trainer Jose Magana; and stakes-placed Olympic Dreams [post 7, Trevor McCarthy] for trainer Pat Quick.

Grade 2-placed Fingal’s Cave [post 8, John Velazquez] has won 5-of-8 starts for trainer David Donk and will be a handful for her eight rivals in the Critical Eye in Race 8.

The 5-year-old Carpe Diem mare won her first four lifetime outings in 2022, including both an open allowance and the state-bred Fleet Indian traveling nine furlongs at the Spa. She then shipped to Keeneland and overcame a troubled start to finish second in the Grade 2 Raven Run to complete her sophomore season.

Fingal's Cave, bred by Chester and Mary Broman, made one start last season, returning from a 432-day layoff to capture the state-bred Bay Ridge in December by 4 3/4-lengths at the Big A. She has followed with a pair of starts in graded events at Aqueduct with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Distaff in April and a fourth in the Grade 2 Ruffian in May.

NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded stakes-placed Venti Valentine [post 2, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] finished fourth in this event last year two starts before winning the state-bred Johnstone Mile Handicap in August out of the Spa’s Wilson Chute.

The 5-year-old Firing Line chestnut, bred by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable, has amassed $773,600 in purse earnings through a 20-6-5-5 record for trainer Jorge Abreu.

Trainer Linda Rice will have two chances in the Critical Eye with stakes-placed veteran Bustin Bay [post 9, Kendrick Carmouche] and stakes-winner Amanda’s Folly [post 3, Jose Lezcano].

Winning Move Stable’s Bustin Bay, bred by Robert D. Rosenthal, Peter Rosenthal and Martin Greenbe, has hit the board in 6-of-7 starts over the Saratoga main track. The ultra-consistent 6-year-old Bustin Stones dark bay has earned $740,490 from a 43-13-9-6 record and arrives from a frontrunning open allowance win on March 30 at the Big A.

Amanda’s Folly, owned by Rice and bred by Lambholm, won an off-the-turf edition of the Ticonderoga in October at Aqueduct. She was haltered for $16,000 last April and has posted three wins since, including a nine-furlong state-bred optional-claimer here last year.

Also entered are multiple stakes-placed Midtown Lights [post 6, Manny Franco] for conditioner Brad Cox; stakes-placed Sunset Louise [post 7, Javier Castellano] for trainer Bruce Levine; four-time winner Bon Adieu [post 5, Flavien Prat] for conditioner Rudy Rodriguez; three-time winner Sweet Mystery [post 1, Trevor McCarthy] for trainer Pat Quick; and recent allowance winner Lavon [post 4, Romero Maragh] for trainer Marialice Coffey.

Supporting the lucrative card is the seven-furlong $125,000 Mike Lee for sophomores in Race 3: Antonio of Venice [post 1, Manny Franco], Mischief Joke [post 2, Luis Saez], Elysian Meadows [post 3, Jose Lezcano], Doc Sullivan [post 4, Javier Castellano], Grand Opening [post 5, Jeiron Barbosa] and That’s Money [post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] go postward.

The reigning NYTB Champion Turf Female Silver Skillet [post 1, Joel Rosario] headlines the $125,000 Mount Vernon for older fillies and mares traveling one mile over the inner turf in Race 10. Also entered are: Lady Jasmine [post 2, Flavien Prat], Lisa’s Vision [post 3, Luis Saez], Masterof the Tunes [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche], Marvelous Maude [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Snowy Evening [post 6, John Velazquez], Sweetest Princess [post 7, Luis Rivera, Jr.], Overacting [post 8, Manny Franco], Stonewall Star [post 9, Isaac Castillo] and main-track only Tough Street.

The $125,000 Bouwerie in Race 11, a seven-furlong main track sprint for sophomore fillies, features: P Mutter Pickle [post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Tricky Temper [post 2, Joel Rosario], Caldwell Luvs Gold [post 3, Manny Franco], Sunday Girl [post 4, Katie Davis], La Banquera [post 5, Javier Castellano], Tough Love Torres [post 6, Luis Saez], Landed [post 7, John Velazquez], The Shoe Lady [post 8, Dylan Davis], Bernietakescharge [post 9, Trevor McCarthy], and Carol T [post 10, Eric Cancel].

The $125,000 Kingston for older horses going 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf in Race 12 closes out the card and offers an overflow field of: Spirit of St Louis [post 1, Manny Franco], Disarmed [post 2, Jose Lezcano], Jerry the Nipper [post 3, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Itsallcomintogetha [post 4, Jose Gomez], Maker’s Candy [post 5, Luis Saez], Coinage [post 6, Junior Alvarado], Conman [post 7, John Velazquez], Eye Witness [post 8, David Cabrera], City Man [post 9, Joel Rosario], Dakota Gold [post 10, Dylan Davis], Chulainn [post 11, Flavien Prat], Saratoga Flash [post 12, Edgard Zayas] as well as also-eligibles Ruse [Romero Maragh], Barrage [Luis Rivera, Jr.], and Be of Courage [Javier Castellano]. Jackson Heights is entered for the main-track only.

First post on Sunday’s 12-race card is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

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