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Aug 17, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-TWO YEAR OLDS AT SARATOGA

By: JOE GIRARDI


               Saratoga is known for their two year old races, a chance to see the next star, possibly the next Derby winner go to the post on any given day. On Sunday August 12th they ran two stakes races for two year olds, the Grade II Adirondack for two year old fillies run at 6 ½ furlongs with a purse of $200,000 and the Grade II Saratoga Special for two year olds run over 6 ½ furlongs with a purse of $200,000.

               In the Adirondack there was a field of five that went postward with KAUAI KATIE going off as the 2-5 favorite on the basis of her huge debut win on opening day when she went wire to wire scoring by 12 lengths. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Rosie Napravnik she came out of the gate running again, set solid fractions of 21:3, 44:4, she opened up into the lane and then held on by almost three lengths late in a solid time of 1:16:4. Previously unbeaten SALAMERA shipped in from Calder and closed well through the lane to finish second. That was an impressive race on many levels, she was returning on three weeks rest, she had to stretch out an extra furlong and she set solid fractions again holding on well late. Owned by Stonestreet stables she has unlimited potential based on her first two races and it seems like she will be one of the two year old fillies to reckon with the rest of the year.              

               In the Saratoga Special there was a field of six that went postward with SPURIOUS PRECISION going off as the 3-5 favorite on the basis of his solid maiden win in his debut here just three weeks earlier. Like KAUAI KATIE he had to return on three weeks rest and stretch out an extra furlong. When the gates sprung open he was hustled to the lead just inside the very fast SOUTHERN HONOR as he was pressed through fractions of 21:1, 44 flat, as they moved to the turn the second choice DRUM ROLL, moved into second to try and run down the leader but he just couldn’t keep up as SPURIOUS PRECISION opened up and began to draw away en route to a five length win over closing longshot HE’S SO FINE. IN HARM’S WAY, the New York bred ran on for third by just a head over DRUM ROLL. This Richard Violette Jr trainee has shown plenty of ability in both starts and has the look of a very good two year old. It should make for an interesting fall championship meeting at Belmont.

               On Saturday August 11th, Saratoga hosted the Grade II Fourstadave Handicap for three year olds and upward run over the turf at one mile and it carried a purse of $500,000. Named for the New York bred that was nicknamed the “Sultan of Saratoga” , FOURSTARDAVE had won eight straight years in a row at Saratoga. He was owned by Richard Bomze and trained by Leo O’Brien. There was a field of seven horses that went postward with WISE DAN sent off as the 3-2 favorite. Run over a yielding course because of the rain, the race unfolded with GET STORMY going righit to the lead and setting the pace through fractions of 23:4, 48:3, 1:13:1, he held that lead into the lane but tired some late to finish third. CORPORATE JUNGLE the second choice in the race at 3-1, made a wide move on the turn to get into contention and looked like a winner into the lane but he had to settle for second behind the favorite. Sitting in a perfect spot behind the leaders in third on the rail, WISE DAN waited into the lane, made a burst up the inside and drew away smartly to score by five easy lengths in a time of 1:37:1 over that yielding strip. That was only his third career start on the turf and he ran his record to two wins from three tries. He isn’t too shabby on the dirt either with a Grade I score in the Clark Handicap at the end of last year, a huge win in the Grade III Ben Ali at Keeneland over the Polytrack and just missing in the Grade I Stephen Foster by a head to RON THE GREEK. That win put WISE DAN’S record at 10 wins from 17 tries and ran his earnings to almost $1.4 million dollars. He has showed he can handle all surfaces very well so it would be interesting to see where his connections take him next.



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