SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Big Invasion is one of two contenders, along with Nobals, bringing a four-race win streak into Sunday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Quick Call presented by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for sophomores at Saratoga Race Course.
The Christophe Clement-trained Big Invasion, by Declaration of War, graduated at second asking in February over the Gulfstream Park turf and followed one month later over the same course with a three-length score in the five-furlong Texas Glitters.
Big Invasion shipped to Churchill Downs in May and captured the 5 1/2-furlong William Walker with a close stalking trip. Last out, Big Invasion demonstrated a new dimension, blitzing from nine-lengths off the pace under Joel Rosario to post a 3 1/4-length score in the seven-furlong Paradise Creek on May 29 at Belmont.
“That’s Joel, he rides him and decides what style he wants to be ridden,” said Clement. “He’s a very nice horse. I’m just hoping for some good weather because I don’t want to run him on soft turf.”
Big Invasion will exit post 8 under Rosario.
Clement has also entered multiple-stakes winner Senbei for the main-track only.
Trainer Larry Rivelli has entered a pair of top contenders in Nobals and One Timer but said only one will contest the Quick Call as both are to be cross-entered in the $100,000 My Frenchman on Sunday at Monmouth Park.
Rivelli said Patricia’s Hope’s Nobals, a six-time winner by Noble Mission, is most likely to run at Saratoga. He enters on a four-race win streak dating to January 8 with a score in the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue over the synthetic and followed at the same track in April with a gate-to-wire win in the six-furlong Animal Kingdom. The bay gelding then shipped north to Woodbine to capture the six-furlong Woodstock over the Tapeta and followed last out with a 1 1/2-length win in a 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance on June 5 at Churchill Downs.
While his last four wins have come on the front end, Nobals captured the Arlington-Washington Futurity at seven furlongs over the synthetic in August with an off-the-pace approach. He stretched out to one mile on the turf in a productive juvenile campaign that ended with a close fifth, utilizing a closing approach under Irad Ortiz, Jr., in the Golden Mile in November at Del Mar on the Breeders’ Cup undercard.
Rivelli said he went into the Del Mar race with high expectations, but the result prompted him to change tactics with the $3,500 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale purchase.
“I thought that was going to be his lick. But we reserved him and rated him and we might have choked the speed out of him. I was disappointed in the effort and at that point I thought maybe we just had a horse,” Rivelli said. “So, we worked with him at the gate and put a little more speed into him and it all just worked out. As he got older, he got better and figured it out. The other day they ran right up to him and I thought they were going to run right by him at Churchill and he just re-broke.”
Rivelli said the revitalized Nobals is capable of taking his racetrack with him.
“He’s a good shipper and runs on any surface,” Rivelli said. “He’s just got faster and quicker since he’s got older. He jumps out of there now a lot faster than he used to. The other day was a pretty good race at Churchill.”
Ortiz, Jr. retains the mount from post 4.
Patricia’s Hope and Richard Ravin’s One Timer, by Trappe Shot, is named in honor of Rivelli’s son, Dominick, a promising hockey player.
“He’s a real good hockey player. He’s going to go to Miami of Ohio on a hockey scholarship. He plays juniors now,” Rivelli said. “My son is known for having one of the best one-timers, so it’s a fitting name. Usually, when you name them after someone they’re never any good, but this one worked out.”
A winner of 4-of-5 starts, the bay gelding captured the Victoria over the Woodbine synthetic last July and then shipped to Santa Anita in October to win the Speakeasy at five furlongs on turf. He closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a ninth-place finish, defeated just two lengths by the victorious Twilight Gleaming, in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November at Del Mar.
One Timer made a successful seasonal debut last out, posting a 6 1/4-length score in the six-furlong Tom Ridge on May 23 over the Presque Isle Downs synthetic.
“He’s been all over. He went to the Breeders’ Cup. He went to Canada. The two of them are almost identical horses as far as their running style and the surface they run on,” Rivelli said. “I do want to get One Timer on the dirt at some point as he trains great on it.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano is named on One Timer from post 6.
Rebecca Hillen’s Asymmetric, an Irish-bred Showcasing colt, captured the Group 2 Richmond last July at Goodwood before finishing third in the Group 1 Prix Morny in August at Deauville for former conditioner Alan King.
He debuted for conditioner Wesley Ward last out as the pacesetter in the Paradise Creek, opening up a six-length lead before settling for runner-up honors to Big Invasion.
Asymmetric, who races with blinkers off, will exit post 7 under Jamie Spencer.
Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso’s New York-bred Run Curtis Run was a game second in the Grade 3 Futurity in October traveling six furlongs over the Belmont turf ahead of an off-the-board effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Trained by Mike Maker, the Summer Front bay launched his sophomore campaign with a pair of starts at Churchill Downs, finishing third to Big Invasion in the William Walker and second last out to Nobals in a June 5 turf allowance.
Ricardo Santana, Jr. retains the mount from post 3.
Rounding out the field are allowance winner Sky and Sand [post 1, Tyler Gaffalione]; three-time state-bred winner Surprise Boss [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche]; and Dance Code [post 5, Abner Adorno],a stakes-winner on dirt. Hagler is entered for the main-track only.
The Quick Call is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s 10-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
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Photo: Big Invasion after his Paradise Creek victory (NYRA/Coglianese)