SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— West Point Thoroughbreds has joined forces with two of racing’s most prominent families in the purchase and management of Juan Valdez, a Medaglia d’Oro colt who debuts in Race 8 on Saturday, a seven-furlong maiden special weight on the Saratoga main track.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Juan Valdez is owned by West Point in partnership with Lane’s End Racing, Woodford Racing, Phipps Stable, Ken Langone and Edward J. Hudson, Jr.
Juan Valdez, a $900,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale in March, is out of the Distorted Humor mare Baffled, making him a half-brother to prominent sire Constitution.
He began serious training at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland before arriving in Saratoga in mid-August and worked five-eighths over the main track on August 26 in 1:00.20.
“He’s made good strides since he came up from Fair Hill and we’re very pumped to get his career started,” said West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley. “We got some great partners involved and we’re starting sort of a new era with new people involved. This horse has grown on Shug the last month and a half or so, and when they grow on Shug they grow on us.”
Finley expressed excitement in sharing the experience of campaigning Juan Valdez with prominent and influential families in racing and breeding.
“It’s a cool thing to have happen. We’re in it and we’re trying to buy good stock at the sale. They’re not cheap but we’re trying to get good prospects,” Finley said.
Luis Saez will pilot Juan Valdez from post 8 [5-1] in the 10-horse field.
Breaking from the outside is Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Crupi, who makes his second career start following a late closing third for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.
The Curlin colt is named in honor of the late horseman and pinhooker James “J.J.” Crupi, who passed in May 2019 and had a longstanding relationship with Pletcher and his owners.
Crupi is by Curlin out of the Malibu Moon mare Don’tforgetaboutme – a half-sister to graded stakes winners Red Ruby and Mo Tom as well as multiple Grade 1-placed Beautician. Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, Crupi was bought for $275,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by his breeder.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. picks up the mount as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Constitution (Lauren King)