SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Jockey Dylan Davis secured his first graded win at Saratoga Race Course when John C. Oxley and Breeze Easy’s Boppy O staved off a late bid from Battle of Normandy to capture Wednesday’s Grade 3, $175,000 With Anticipation.
Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, the Bolt d’Oro colt made his grass debut in the 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for juveniles from an off-the-board effort in the six-furlong Grade 3 Sanford on July 16 at the Spa.
Maiden winner El Conejito led the field of seven through splits of 24.93 seconds and 50.09 over the good going with Boppy O tracking in second position in front of the stalking 2-1 mutuel favorite Andthewinneris.
Boppy O continued to track the speed down the backstretch with Andthewinneris comfortably gapped in third in front of Battle of Normandy, who was racing in fourth position to the inside of the Casse-trained maiden Determinedly. Boppy O took over midway through the final turn with three-quarters elapsing in 1:15.65 as Battle of Normandy advanced in tandem with Determinedly.
The Kendrick Carmouche-piloted Battle of Normandy was full of run down the lane under pressure from a lugging-in Determinedly and in need of racing room behind a drifting Andthewinneris. Battle of Normandy surged to the inside of Andthewinneris with a sixteenth to run and angled to the outside of the leader for one last push, falling a neck shy of a determined Boppy O in a final time of 1:46.93.
It was a further 1 1/2-lengths back to Andthewinneris in third with Determinedly, Noble Huntsman, Our Dream Rye’d – who was squeezed at the start – and El Conejito completing the order of finish. Bourbon Therapy and Bramble Blaze – who are cross-entered in Saturday’s Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile – were scratched, as were Quincy Cafe and Lachaise.
Boppy O, out of the graded stakes placed on turf Scat Daddy mare Pappascat, is a half-brother to the Casse-conditioned graded-stakes winner Pappacap. A $190,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Boppy O graduated on debut in May at Gulfstream Park in a five-furlong maiden special weight sprint.
Casse said Boppy O, who provided his sire a first graded winner, performed well in two breezes over the Oklahoma training turf.
“My feeling is that Bolt d’Oro, a lot of them are going to be grass horses,” said Casse, who won this event last year with the New York-bred Coinage. “So it was about the grass, but it was also [that] I wanted to run him farther. I had thought about running him in the Sapling [on August 27 at Monmouth Park], just because it was two turns at Monmouth. But then I said, ‘You know, I’m going to breeze this horse over the grass.’ I thought he breezed good enough on the grass that he deserved a shot. I’m happy, but I’m not shocked.”
Davis, who teamed up with Casse to capture the De La Rose [Our Flash Drive] and Yaddo Handicap [Make Mischief] this summer at the Spa, said he felt confident throughout.
“Going into this, he was showing high energy levels from last time. He was really coming into the race really nicely,” Davis said. “He broke real sharp. I could’ve taken the lead, but I wanted him to get his stride comfortable going into the first turn. The five [El Conejito] went in. He was loving every part of it. I took the lead early, but he was doing it so comfortable and any challenger that came up to him late, he was putting them away. He was still a little green and spotty, but he still had a lot left in the tank. He was moving really nicely.”
Carmouche said Battle of Normandy, by City of Light and out of the multiple stakes winner Adorable Miss, performed well in his stakes debut following an impressive maiden score on August 6 at the Spa.
“I had a perfect trip, I sat inside the whole way. I was just waiting for a spot at the top of the lane to open,” Carmouche said. “I wish I could’ve gotten out a little earlier to get his feet moving faster, but I had to save ground and angle out at the three-sixteenths. I thought he ran even better than last time.
“He’s improving every start which is good, I just hope that he stays sound and keeps moving forward,” Carmouche added. “Hopefully next time it’ll be the Breeders’ Cup win.”
Casse indicated Boppy O will make his next start in the Grade 2 Bourbon on October 9 traveling 1 1/16 miles over the turf at Keeneland. Bred in Florida by Rustlewood Warm, Boppy O banked $96,250 in victory while improving his record to 3-2-0-0. He returned $48.20 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Saratoga with an 11-race card featuring the $150,000 P.G. Johnson in Race 10. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
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By Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office
Main photo: Boppy O wins the Grade 3 With Anticipation (Chelsea Durand)