SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Peter Brant’s Sifting Sands ran down pacesetter Dreamer’s Disease in deep stretch from the outside and got up in the final jumps to post a victory by a head in Sunday’s $120,000 Better Talk Now for 3-year-olds contesting at one mile over Saratoga Race Course’s inner turf.
The seventh edition of the Better Talk Now, restricted to sophomores who have not won a stakes at a mile or over, saw Sifting Sands win his first career stakes and improve to 2-for-2 this year at Saratoga while extending trainer Chad Brown’s meet-leading win total to 34 with six racing days remaining.
Sifting Sands broke well from the outermost post under jockey Manny Franco, tracking in third position as Dreamer’s Disease led the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 23.79 seconds and the half in 47.14 over firm going.
Jockey David Cohen kept Dreamer’s Disease tucked inside out of the final turn and maintained the edge into the stretch, with three quarters of a mile going in 1:10.96. Sifting Sands, who Franco put in the three-path when straightened for home, capitalized on running room by displaying an impressive late turn-of-foot, overtaking Wolfie’s Dynaghost to his inside before collaring Dreamer’s Disease in the final sixteenth, completing the course in a final time of 1:35.12.
“We learned not to get in his way too early. You can’t grab him right away,” Franco said. “You have to give him his head and then when you get your position, just leave him comfortable. He seems like he likes it like that.”
The British-bred Sifting Sands won for the third time in five starts and for the second consecutive race after also getting his picture taken when besting allowance company on July 24 at Saratoga. The Dubawi colt, off at 8-1, returned $18.80 on a $2 win wager. He improved his career earnings to $139,190.
Brown said Sifting Sands has turned the corner after running a disappointing seventh in the 1 1/16-mile Woodhaven his stakes debut in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, where he failed to make an impact after a wide trip with Franco aboard for the first time. The conditioner gave Franco the return call next out, with the move paying immediate dividends.
“I really have to compliment Manny. In his last two rides they really worked as a team,” Brown said. “He had a disastrous race down at Aqueduct but we stuck with Manny because we thought we learned something with him and I learned a lot as well. He’s really executed these last two races perfect by just letting him run. He can be a headstrong horse. He let him run into the first turn freely and get into position in his last two starts and that has made the difference.”
Sifting Sands raced just once as a juvenile, running sixth in his debut in September 2020 at Saratoga before being given a six-month freshening.
“Last summer here, [among] my male turf horses, he would have been in my top three I was looking forward to running. It just didn’t work out in his 2-year-old year,” Brown said.
Brown said he could eventually stretch Siftings Sands out even further as he targets the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.
“We’ll see where he goes from here,” Brown said. “I think by the end of this year I could get this horse out to a mile and an eighth in the Hollywood Derby. We’ll see between now and then what we do.”
Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith’s Dreamer’s Disease lost on a bad beat for a second consecutive time, having been bested by a neck last out when Step Dancer got up in the shadow of the wire in the New York Stallion Stakes Series Cab Calloway on July 28.
The Laoban gelding, who finished sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year at Keeneland for trainer Robertino Diodoro, still bested Wolfie’s Dynaghost by two lengths for runner-up honors, earning stakes black type for a second time.
“He’s a horse who can throw out some pretty rapid clips,” Cohen said. “You can see throughout his career for him a 23 and change and 47 is so much in his comfort zone and doing it easily; I was happy with those. Last time, we got away with a little slower times. We got run down by a good horse today. Congrats to the winner, but our horse dug in. I’m happy with his performance and he showed a lot of heart.”
Danzigwiththestars finished fourth, with Dr Jack, Ranger Fox, In Effect and 3-1 favorite Straw Into Gold completing the order of finish.
Better Talk Now Replay
Live racing resumes Wednesday with a 10-race card highlighted by the Grade 3, $150,000 With Anticipation for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf in Race 9. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the 40-day summer meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
By Brian Bohl/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Shifting Sands (Chelsea Durand)