SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – New York-breds will take center stage on Friday with three handicaps each boasting a purse of $125,000, highlighting the best of state-bred racing at Saratoga Race Course.
The lucrative card will feature the Evan Shipman at one-mile for 3-year-olds and up; the John Morrissey at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up; and the six-furlong Union Avenue for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
The feature card coincides with the Fasig-Tipton New York Bred Yearling sale, scheduled for Sunday, August 14 and Monday, August 15, at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
“We are thankful to partner with NYRA to feature a trio of New York-bred stakes during the Saratoga Race Course meet ahead of the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearling Sale,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders (NYTB). “Each of these stakes races shows the strength and value of participating in the New York bred program. NYTB will also honor the 2021 New York-bred Divisional Champions on Friday evening. These collective events celebrate why it pays to breed, own, and race in New York.”
The stakes action kicks off in Race 3 at 2:15 p.m. Eastern as Wudda U Think Now will seek his second career stakes victory for trainer Rudy Rodriguez in the $125,000 John Morrissey.
Owned by Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group, the 5-year-old son of Fast Anna registered a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in his first two starts this season, which include a stakes win in the Hollie Hughes on February 19 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Out of action until June, he finished a distant fourth at Parx Racing in his only effort outside of New York.
Wudda U Think Now, who finished eighth in last year’s Morrissey, is assigned 122 pounds and will be ridden by Trevor McCarthy from post 2.
Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. sends out Ny Traffic [post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 125 pounds], a finalist for NYTB Champion Older Dirt Male and Champion Male Sprinter. The classy multiple graded stakes-placed son of Cross Traffic attempts his fourth stakes victory after previously capturing the Hudson in October 2021, the Affirmed Success in April, both at Belmont, and the Chocolate Town on June 17 at Penn National two starts back. Boasting field-best earnings of $894,340, Ny Traffic is owned by John Fanelli, LC Racing, Cash is King Racing, Paul Braverman and Team Hanley.
Rounding out the field are Saint Selby [post 1, Kendrick Carmouche, 121 pounds], Listentoyourheart [post 3, Joel Rosario, 118 pounds], My Boy Tate [post 4, Manny Franco, 122 pounds], and Reggae Music Man [post 5, Jose Gomez, 118 pounds].
Trainer John Kimmel will hope to see Nedlaw Stable’s Secret Love [post 2, John Velazquez, 120 pounds], a finalist for NYTB Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, earn her second stakes coup in the $125,000 Union Avenue, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up in Race 6.
The chestnut daughter of Not This Time earned her first stakes win in the Franklin Square against fellow state-breds last January over muddy and sealed going at Aqueduct Racetrack. Two starts later, she picked up another stakes placing when second in the Bouwerie that May at Belmont Park to close out her sophomore campaign.
This year, she won a pair of allowances before off-the-board finishes in the Critical Eye Handicap in May and the Dancin Renee in June, both at Belmont. She was last seen finishing an even fifth in a second-level six-furlong optional claimer on July 20 at the Spa.
Bred by Sequel Stallions NY and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Secret Love will face stakes-performing challengers Mashnee Girl [post 3, Kendrick Carmouche, 118 pounds], who was third in the Critical Eye; Eloquent Speaker [post 6, Tyler Gaffalione, 119 pounds], who was defeated just a neck by multiple stakes-winner Bank Sting in the La Verdad in January at the Big A; and dual stakes-placed Chasing Cara [post 7, Javier Castellano, 118 pounds]. Completing the field are Snicket [post 1, Trevor McCarthy, 118 pounds] and Grudge [post 5, Jacqueline Davis, 114 pounds].
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Bankit and Ten Strike Racing, Four Corners Racing Stable, Broadview Stables and Cory Moelis Racing’s Sea Foam, who are both finalists for NYTB Champion Older Dirt Male, square off in the $125,000 Evan Shipman [Race 8, 5:05 p.m. Eastern] to be contested at one-mile out of the Wilson Chute.
Bankit [post 1, Joel Rosario, 124 pounds], trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, boasts a record of 33-6-10-5 for purse earnings in excess of $1 million. The 6-year-old Central Banker bay, bred in the Empire State by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, will make his first appearance since a sixth-place finish in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 26 at Meydan. Last year, he bested fellow state-breds in the Commentator at Belmont and defeated open-company in the John B. Campbell at Laurel Park.
The Michelle Giangiulio-trained Sea Foam [post 7, Kendrick Carmouche, 122 pounds] won this event last year and added the Alex M. Robb to his ledger on New Year’s Eve at the Big A to close out his campaign. Bred by Waterville Lake Stables, the 7-year-old Medaglia d’Oro bay will look to make his seasonal debut a winning one.
A talented field includes Brooklyn Strong [post 2, Flavien Prat, 118 pounds], Three Jokers [post 3, John Velazquez, 118 pounds], Therisastormbrewin [post 4, Luis Saez, 118 pounds], Tiergan [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 119 pounds] and Market Alert [post 6, Jose Ortiz, 122 pounds].
The Johnstone Mile Handicap, originally slated for Friday, will be run on Sunday, August 14.
First post on Friday’s 10-race card 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.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
By NYRA Press Office