Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 19, 2016 at 3:12 PM
NATIONAL RACE MASTERS SARATOGA TRIP NOTES
(Monday 8/15 - Thursday 8/18)
Monday, August 15
(Turf Courses Good - Main Track Fast Throughout)
PAZ THE BOURBON - Juvenile MSW filly was four to five wide in early going, tucked in at the half mil pole then moved out 4 wide to commence a rally that fell a neck short. Breaks maiden in next.
LOVE AND LEMONS - The juvenile MSW turf filly improved significantly from first to second straight in last. She broke sharply to press the pace in the 5½ furlong sprint moved to the lead inside the sixteenth pole but was late to change leads and just dropped a neck decision while clear of the show finisher. Slightest further improvement gets the graduation.
HARLAN PUNCH - The well-traveled Tom Amoss trainee faced entry level allowance dirt sprinters after a prior effort vs allowance/optional 30K claimers at Indiana Downs in a 7½ furlong turf sprint. The gelding broke sluggishly and was last. He remained at the rear until the quarter pole, swung 4 wide and got up for second. Should love 6½ or 7 panels or could handle a mile on grass. Follow closely.
Wednesday, August 17
(Turf Courses Good - Main Track Fast Throughout)
WILL DID IT - After 19 tries to break his maiden while in the once capable barn of Wayne Lukas this 4 year old shipped in from CD off a brief break and closed swell at 7 furlongs to get the show. The biggest note from the race was that the gelding was haltered by David Jacobson for the 40K price and the way the conditioner is thing up is worth betting first off the claim…especially if he comes back quickly like he did with Indycott off a 6 day break later on today's card.
LORD OF LOVE - For the second straight time at the meet the turf sprinting gelding settled at the back of the pack, moved out wide in the lane, closed strongly and settled for a close place finish after making up a tom of ground. Might not return here but at Belmont going 6 or 7 furlongs he is a must play vs allowance does.
Thursday, August 18
(Turf Courses Firm - Main Track Fast Throughout)
NORM THE GIANT - The 14K claiming gelding had turn in a pair of strong efforts sprinting vs 16K foes at Belmont then shipped to PARX to win a 15K claimer there. He shipped back for this 6 furlong test, was bumped at the start , traveled 3 wide in mid-pack, swung four wide for home and kicked on belatedly for the show. In good enough form to handle NW3L rivals sprinting at the level.
ETHAN HUNT - For the second straight time this Todd Pletcher Mission Impazible colt ran into a buzz saw in 3-5 first time starter Mirai. The colt battled throughout, weakened a bit in the lane but for the second time in a row took runner up honors well clear of the show runner. The colt won't jeep running into this kind…breaks through in next.
PRIEST N THE RABBI - First start since mid-October, third lifetime and first off 40L Asmussen claim in the last race. Kitten's Joy gelding was bumped at the break in the 1 1/16th mile turf 40K maiden claimer, checked hard again at seven-sixteenths marker, went five wide on the turn and finally flattened out a bit in the lane but still got show honors. Needed the race and if he gets the trip he graduates vs the same.
RECENT SARATOGA TRIP WINNERS 8/15 - 8/18
CHRISTENING - WIN $20.40 - Daughter of hot young sire Girolamo stumbled and lost jockey Jackie Davis in NYSB juvenile MSW sprint 7/9 an was wheeled back 8 days later in a stakes. She flashed good speed early before giving way and returned to sprint off 4 week freshening and got Irad Ortiz, Jr. Most ignored her…not John.
A CHIP N A CHAIR - WIN $20.00 - One of the best angles is to back a maiden that showed good speed sprinting vs better then flashed speed before giving way in two turn test before returning to the spring. Gary Contessa did this vs 40K maiden claimer on the turf and the son of Freud went wire-to-wire under Javier Castellano and held off the rallying favorite.
GREYJOY - WIN $13.80 - The Rockport Harbor gelding closed well twice at 6 furlongs on the IDT in February and March, took a break and closed at a mile on Turf at Belmont, then in his next to last rallied from well back at 6 furlong on the Belmont main track. In this one he was sent 6 furlongs on the main track vs 20K maiden claimers, the lowest he'd ever faced and it was a race loaded with weakening speed. He ran his race…got the trip and scored.
NIGHT OFFICER - WIN $22.80 - It isn't often that you get a hard trying, consistent turf sprinter who gives his best effort each time. Three of his last 4 were in stakes races and he hit the board in each. In his last pair he just missed at 5 ½ panels when a close third behind perennial champ Ben's Cat and in his last was pinched back to last in the 5 furlong Turf Sprint Stakes on Preakness Eve. Given a breather he returned vs slightly softer and this time got the perfect trip and lit up the tote.