LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s Casa Creed will seek another triumph against some of the country’s elite turf sprinters in Friday’s 18th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy presented by Horse Racing Ireland at Saratoga Race Course.
The 5 ½-furlong turf sprint over the Mellon turf course is one of three stakes events on the eve of Whitney Day, which also includes the $120,000 Alydar for older horses at nine furlongs over the main track and the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame for sophomores going a mile over the inner turf.
Conditioned by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Casa Creed arrives at the Troy off his best performance yet, displaying a devastating late turn-of-foot to capture the Grade 1 Jackpocket Jaipur on Belmont Stakes Day June 5 at Belmont Park, where he earned a career best 105 Beyer Speed Figure. The triumph was the 5-year-old son of Jimmy Creed’s first start at six furlongs since his July 2018 career debut when sixth over the Saratoga main track.
Casa Creed has seen a considerable cutback in distance after two seasons of campaigning primarily around one mile, a distance where he has found prosperity capturing the Grade 2 Hall of Fame in August 2019 at Saratoga. He also has been graded stakes placed three times at one mile, including a third-place finish to Halladay in last year’s Grade 1 Fourstardave at the Spa.
It was a cut back to seven furlongs in the Elusive Quality on April 24 at Belmont Park two starts ago where Casa Creed recaptured winning form for the first time since the Hall of Fame, ending a seven-race losing streak.
“We backed him up to six furlongs and that was okay, five and a half is a bit of a different race on a different type of course,” Mott said. “It’s a tighter course here so we’ll have to see how he negotiates that.”
Casa Creed has gone 11-1-2-3 at one mile, but Mott said he has benefitted going shorter distances.
“I usually try to get horses to run a mile if they can, which he does. It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t get beyond a mile that well,” Mott said. “He was a length, a length and a quarter behind some of the best. He’s run well and makes that run and has just been touched off a couple of times. Something slightly less than a mile is good for him. Of course, when you’re going shorter you need some luck and have to get the right trip.”
Jockey Junior Alvarado has been aboard Casa Creed for both of his graded stakes wins and returns to the irons from post 12.
Mott also saddles Wachtel Stables, Pantofel Stables and Jerold Zaro’s Chewing Gum, who made a late rally to complete a Mott-trained exacta in the Jaipur. The 6-year-old son of Candy Ride seeks his first trip to the winner’s circle since besting allowance optional claiming company going six furlongs in June 2020 at Belmont Park.
Jockey Jose Ortiz will ride from post 2.
Trainer Wesley Ward will saddle Bound for Nowhere, the lone millionaire in the field with a record of 16-7-2-3. Owned by his trainer, the lightly-raced 7-year-old son of The Factor returns to action with a redeeming agenda after setting a swift tempo and relinquishing to third in the final furlong of the Jaipur.
In his prior effort in the Grade 2 Shakertown on April 3 at Keeneland, Bound for Nowhere was forced to switch tactics and come from off the pace after an awkward start, but overcame adversity with a late-closing narrow win, which netted a 105 Beyer. Bound for Nowhere also captured the 2018 Shakertown, when besting talented turf sprinters Bucchero and Disco Partner by four lengths and registering a career best 107 Beyer.
Bound for Nowhere has put together a solid work pattern heading into the Troy. He worked five-eighths in 1:01.43 over the Oklahoma training turf Saturday, one week after a sharp five furlong drill in 59.40 over the same course.
“He’s ready,” Ward said. “He’s doing everything right. We got here early and got a couple of nice breezes here with [assistant trainer and former jockey] David Flores up. His last work was a nice and easy one because he had a stiff one the week before. He’s been working as good of works as he’s ever had. Usually, when you’re coming into a race like this with a horse that’s seven years old, you always are worrying about something, but we’ve got no worries.”
Jockey Joel Rosario rides from post 11.
Breeze Easy’s 7-year-old veteran Imprimis will look to shake off four months’ worth of rust, returning to a distance where he boasts a 16-8-2-2 record having not raced since finishing second beaten a nose to Bound for Nowhere in the Shakertown.
Trained by Joe Orseno, the Broken Vow dark bay crossed the wire first in last year’s Troy but was disqualified and placed third. He was triumphant in his next effort going six furlongs in the Grade 3 Runhappy Turf Sprint on September 12 at Kentucky Downs before finishing 13th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 5 at Keeneland.
Imprimis emerged from the Shakertown with a broken bone in his nose.
“He’s a very good fresh horse. When he came out of the gate in the Shakertown he broke a bone in his nose. We took precautions over it, but he’s been fine and ready to run,” Orseno said. “The Troy has been on our radar since that race. I was thinking about the Jaipur and decided to skip it, but he’s ready to go.”
A six-time stakes winner over five different ovals, the well-travelled Imprimis boasts previous stakes wins in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint in May 2018 at Pimlico, the Wolf Hill two months later at Monmouth, as well as the Silks Run [March 2019] and Janus [January 1] at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s never been the kind of horse that needed a track,” Orseno said. “Obviously, it’s always turf but Kentucky Downs is different than most. Last year, I took him there off a ten month layoff and his first race back was the Troy. He handled it fine and did what he was supposed to do. Unfortunately, they took him down, but he ran his race. It’s kind of the same pattern we’re trying to follow.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Imprimis from post 7.
Trainer Charlie Appleby has garnered success this year in shipping horses across the pond to New York, including Grade 1 triumphs with Althiqa in the Just a Game at Belmont Park and the Diana at the Spa. The Newmarket-based conditioner sends out Godolphin’s dual Group 3 winner Lazuli for the Troy.
The 4-year-old bay son of Dubawi captured the Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy at Newbury on September 20 and won the Group 3 Palace House at Newmarket on May 1 two starts later.
Jockey Luis Saez has the mount from post 10.
Rounding out the field are Brad Grady’s Fast Boat [post 1, Tyler Gaffalione], a winner of the Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs two starts back for trainer Joe Sharp; Louisiana-bred stakes winner Classy John [post 3, John Velazquez]; John Terranova-trained three-time winner Backtohisroots [post 4, Manny Franco]; graded stakes-placed Front Run the Fed [post 5, Ricardo Santana, Jr.]; Calumet Farms’ ultra-consistent Gear Jockey [post 6, Jose Lezcano]; multiple stakes winner Carotari [post 8, Javier Castellano] for trainer Brian Lynch; and Chateau [post 9, Dylan Davis], a graded-stakes winner on dirt for trainer Rob Atras.
The Troy is carded as Race 9 on Friday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:05 p.m. Saratoga Live will present daily television coverage of the 40-day summer meet on FOX Sports. For the complete Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
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NYRA Press Release
Photo: Casa Creed ( Chelsea Durand Photo)