SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Owner Dean Reeves is looking to end the Saratoga Race Course meet the same way he started it: with a Grade 3 victory with multiple stakes-winner City Man. This time, the talented New York-bred son of Mucho Macho Man will contest the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf.
Trained by Christophe Clement, City Man captured the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 15 at one mile. Racing in mid-pack early on, he was six wide in upper stretch and tipped out in the clear before making his winning move to take command from Get Smokin to win by 2 3/4 lengths. The win garnered a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure.
Under the Reeves Thoroughbred Racing moniker, Dean and his wife, Patti, have won five stakes this meet. In addition to the Forbidden Apple, their sophomore turf sprinter Big Invasion secured scores in the Grade 3 Quick Call presented by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Mahony, while Isolate won the Tale of the Cat to give trainer Tom Amoss his 4,000th career victory. They also won the NYSSS Cab Calloway with the Danny Gargan-trained Dakota Gold.
The 5-year-old City Man captured the Danger’s Hour on April 9 at Aqueduct in his 2022 debut before two unplaced efforts at stakes level at Belmont Park ahead of the Forbidden Apple. Initially slated to defend his title in the state-bred West Point presented by Trustco Bank on August 26, City Man scratched out of the 1 1/16-mile event when weather conditions forced the race onto the main track.
“Hope we can get by this one without some bad weather,” said Reeves, who owns City Man with Peter and Patty Searles. “We’re hoping to finish the way we started. We might have run on the dirt had this race not been a week later, so it just made sense. So we figured, why not? We’ll wait a week, come back and hope we get a good turf course. It’s the same distance and we feel like we can be competitive in it.”
City Man, a dual surface stakes winner, won the 2019 Funny Cide on the Spa main track before winning the following year’s Gio Ponti over the Aqueduct inner turf. Through a record of 22-6-4-3, City Man has amassed field-best earnings of $653,050. He was bred in the Empire State by Moonstar Farm.
“To start the meet with a Grade 3 and finish with a Grade 3 would be unbelievable,” Reeves said. “It really will make the trip home easy. So, fingers crossed, but I think we have a live shot. I would really like the end of the meet on the last day with a win like that.”
Joel Rosario, who won the 2019 Bernard Baruch aboard repeat winner Qurbaan, will return to the irons from post 5.
Trainer Tom Morley will be treading familiar waters when saddling Flying P Stable and James F. Schurman’s stakes-winner Dynadrive.
Last year, Morley captured the Bernard Baruch with Tell Your Daddy, who is a half-brother to Dynadrive. By Temple City, Dynadrive enters from an upset coup in the restricted Lure on August 6 over the Mellon turf course at Saratoga, where he was second-to-last down the backstretch and made an inside rally to collar Sifting Sands to win by a head at 23-1 odds under return rider Eric Cancel.
Dynadrive lit up the Belmont tote board in his previous effort, winning a ten-furlong allowance optional claimer at 45-1 odds in his debut for Morley. Claimed by previous trainer Robertino Diodoro in November, Dynadrive won over a sloppy and sealed Saratoga main track last August. In July 2020, he won for a $40,000 tag over the Saratoga inner turf.
“We were lucky enough to have him moved into our shed row. He’s one that has done very well since coming to us,” Morley said. “He really likes Saratoga. He’s run three times here and won all three races. He was fantastically brave in the Lure and it looks like he’s continued on the right trajectory since then. Eric Cancel has all the confidence in this horse.”
Dynadrive will leave from post 3.
Morley will also saddle New York-bred stakes winner Ocala Dream who, like City Man, also was originally pointing to the West Point. Owned by Thomas Albrecht, Vincent J. Fusaro and James Klein, the son of Effinex will be in search of his first win since the Kingston on May 30 at Belmont.
“There was nowhere else to run him in between [the West Point and Aqueduct],” Morley said. “It’s a perfectly logical spot for the horse to have a crack at a graded stake at his best distance. If you take his form from the Kingston, he’s a very legitimate horse in this race.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, a two-time Bernard Baruch winner, will ride Ocala Dream from post 1.
Four-time Saratoga meet leading trainer Chad Brown will saddle graded stakes-placed Mouillage and Emaraaty.
Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, Mouillage last raced when a close second in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf on March 5 at Gulfstream Park. The effort was the 4-year-old son of Toronado’s first effort away from his native France, where he registered four lifetime victories and has never finished off the board.
“He’s off a layoff but he seems to be training well so we’re happy to get him back on track,” Brown said. “We always liked him, and he ran really well at Gulfstream. Unfortunately, he exited the race with a minor injury, so we had to rest him but he’s good now.”
Three-time meet leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Mouillage from post 2.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Michael J. Caruso’s Emaraaty is a three-time winner of four starts at the Spa, with his only local defeat taking place when fourth in the 2019 Bernard Baruch. The 7-year-old son of Dubawi, out of Group 1 winner Zee Zee Top, enters off a victory in a one-mile allowance optional claimer on August 4 over the inner turf, where he defeated graded stakes placed runners Floriform and Atone.
“He seems to be a horse that has an affinity for Saratoga so it might be good to run him here again,” Brown said.
Emaraaty will be piloted by Flavien Prat from post 6.
Completing the field is Waterford Stable’s Winters Back, who makes his first start in nearly 14 months for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. The 5-year-old son of Summer Front was seventh in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park last July after finishing second in the New Jersey oval’s Grade 3 namesake race. He has won all three of his victories in wire-to-wire fashion.
Luis Saez has the call from post 4.
The Bernard Baruch is carded as Race 3 on Closing Day’s 12-race program, which also features the Grade 1, $300,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds going seven furlongs on the main track in Race 11. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
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Main photo: City Man wins the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple (Dom Napolitano)