SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – While the surface, surroundings and distance will be the same, the stakes will be much higher as Stuart Janney III’s homebred Limited Liability makes the step up from eye-catching debut winner to facing graded company in Wednesday’s Grade 3, $150,000 With Anticipation at Saratoga Race Course.
The 17th running of the With Anticipation for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf course serves as the headliner on a 10-race program that kicks off the final week of the Spa summer meet. First post time is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
By turf champion and prolific grass sire Kitten’s Joy, Limited Liability, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, had been preparing for his debut at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland prior to his July 31 unveiling.
“We did like him. He was at Fair Hill for a good while and he was up here long enough,” McGaughey said. “I had worked him on the Tapeta down there, and he really liked it.”
Limited Liability broke near the outside of eight horses in his career opener, a maiden special weight contested over a turf course rated good. He had one horse beat before rallying five wide through the stretch and sweeping past to win by 2 3/4 lengths at odds of nearly 7-1.
“I was very impressed with his race. I’ve been very impressed since he ran, too,” McGaughey said. “He’s training awfully well. I’m looking forward to it. I think he deserves to be in there.”
Jose Ortiz, up for his debut, gets the return call from post 1 in a field of seven at co-topweight of 122 pounds.
While McGaughey will be seeking his first victory in the With Anticipation, newly inducted Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher has captured a record six editions with Opry , Made You Look , Azar , Bashart , Interactif  and Bittel Road . The only other trainers with more than one win are Patrick Biancone and Chad Brown [with two apiece].
This year, Pletcher will be represented by Donegal Racing’s Gooch Go Bragh, a chestnut son of Distorted Humor that fetched $130,000 as a yearling last fall. The colt also debuted at Saratoga, running second behind Dripping Gold in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight August 7 on the inner turf course. Meet leader Luis Saez will ride from post 3 at 118 pounds.
Another son of Kitten’s Joy with a debut win at the distance, albeit over Saratoga’s inner turf, is Klaravich Stables’ Portfolio Company. Sent off as the favorite over eight rivals July 17, he was rank early before settling down and taking a 2 ½-length lead into the stretch, holding on to win by three-quarters of a length. The victory was one of 30 the meet-leading Brown had trained through the first 31 days, including eight over a two-day span August 25 and 26.
“You’ve got to earn every win at Saratoga. I know we have [the] eight wins and it’s starting to look easy, but it’s anything but that,” Brown said. “You’re going to have to work hard, you’re going to need focus and get good rides from these jockeys, and we’re going to have to do our part to bring over horses that are really healthy and ready to roll.”
Brown’s previous With Anticipation wins came in 2014 with Startup Nation and in 2012 with Balance the Books, both owned or co-owned by Klaravich’s Seth Klarman.
“It’s cyclical, like any professional sport. When you’re doing it long enough, you’re going to realize that you can’t get too high or too low. Right now, we’re in a really good groove, in all different divisions – dirt, turf, long, short, young, old – and the horses are really ready. It’s a testament to my staff and the patience of the owners to see it through week-to-week. And these jockeys. There’s a handful of different jockeys who have participated in this streak,” Brown said. “It just goes to show you how hard everyone is trying in all areas of the game to get wins at Saratoga.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has been named on Portfolio Company from post 4 at 122 pounds.
D.J. Stable and Chester and Mary Broman’s Coinage is entered to make his turf debut for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse after breaking his maiden sprinting 5 ½ furlongs June 17 at Belmont Park and running third in the six-furlong Rick Violette July 21 at Saratoga, both against fellow New York-breds. He is by Tapit out of Grade 1-winning mare Bar of Gold, also bred and owned by the Bromans. Junior Alvarado gets the assignment from post 6 at 120 pounds.
Silipo will be stepping up, stretching out and switching surfaces following his 3 ½-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong maiden claimer August 15 over Saratoga’s main track. Trainer Bruce Brown claimed the Candy Ride gelding for $40,000 on behalf of Buffalo-based White Owl Stable.
“He’s a real good-looking horse. For a 2-year-old he’s just a big, beautiful horse. We were just kind of taking a shot,” Brown said. “You almost kind of wish he wouldn’t have won. It’s a double-edged sword. You liked that he ran well enough to win but then that takes down your options. If he hadn’t have won, we could have run him back in a maiden. But it’s good for him.”
Based on what he has seen since the claim, Brown believes Silipo should handle the transition to grass. Ricardo Santana Jr. will be aboard from post 2 at 120 pounds.
“For 2-year-olds when they break their maiden, there’s not a lot of options for them. This [race] was something that, right when we claimed him and he won, we thought about,” Brown said. “He’s got a good turf foot and he’s kind of a big, scopey horse. He looks like he could turf so we figured it might be a good opportunity to try it. He should like the distance and should appreciate the grass, hopefully.”
Completing the field are a pair of entrants from trainer and co-owner James Chapman in Kavod [blinkers off from post 5, Manny Franco] and Ready to March [post 7, Luis Rodriguez Castro]. Kavod has raced four times, all on dirt, breaking his maiden April 23 and running second in the June 4 Tremont at Belmont prior to a fifth in the Grade 3 Sanford July 17, his most recent outing. Ready to March graduated in his lone start sprinting five furlongs August 23 over Finger Lakes’ main track.
The With Anticipation is slated as Race 9. 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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Photo: Limited Liability winning on his first asking at Saratoga under jockey Jose Ortiz on July 31. (NYRA/Coglianese)