Vanzzy carries winning form into G3 Saranac for trainer Pino

August 26, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Daniel M. Ryan’s Vanzzy has proven capable of winning over any surface thrown his way and will try to build off a recent turf stakes victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Saranac, a one-mile test for sophomores over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Michael Pino, the bay son of Verrazano was a last-out winner of the Jersey Derby on July 26 at Monmouth Park, which he won by 3 ½ lengths over the firm turf. Vanzzy began his career over the main track, graduating at second asking going one mile on October 14 at Parx, before winning the Display over the all-weather surface two months later at Woodbine. Two starts later, Vanzzy won another stakes over a synthetic surface when taking the Rushaway at Turfway Park in wire-to-wire fashion.

Vanzzy has recently found a home on grass and finished behind talented graded stakes winners Decorated Invader [Grade 2 Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park on June 20] and Gufo [Grade 3 Kent on July 4 at Delaware Park] in his graded stakes efforts prior to the Jersey Derby.

“His last race was his best, and he’s just getting better,” Pino said. “I think he fits, his last race was good he tucked in saved some ground and pushed away that’s a better trip. It looked like he had a good finish. Where he sits early on depends on how the race goes. He can do either, but I would rather sit a little off it.”

Pino added blinkers to the four-time winner going into the Display.

“Early on, he was looking around a little bit, so we were just trying to help him focus and it looked like it helped him,” Pino said.

Jockey Joel Rosario, a winner of three of the last five editions of the Saranac, will pilot Vanzzy from post 1.

Trainer Graham Motion will send out the Jersey Derby runner-up Bye Bye Melvin and third-place finisher Irish Mias for another crack at Vanzzy.

Alex M. Campbell, Jr.’s Bye Bye Melvin, a dark bay son of Uncle Mo, was beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Jersey Derby, where he was a 37-1 longshot. Prior to two unplaced efforts against graded stakes company, Bye Bye Melvin was a fourth-out maiden winner by 8 ¼ lengths at Tampa Bay Downs en route to an optional claiming score against winners at Tampa.

Bye Bye Melvin is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Mean Mary, who was second in Sunday’s Grade 1 Diana at the Spa. Both horses are out of Grade 1 winner Karlovy Vary.

“Originally, I was going to go to Colonial Downs with this horse, but when the meet got cancelled this spot seemed logical,” Motion said. “This is a better distance for him.”

Motion will add blinkers to Bye Bye Melvin for Saturday’s race.

“He worked really well with them last week, so we’re adding them,” Motion said.

Bye Bye Melvin worked five furlongs in one minute flat over the all weather surface at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland last Saturday.

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who teamed up with Motion to take the 2014 Saranac with Ring Weekend, has the mount from post 2.

Isabelle de Tomaso’s Irish Mias was third as the beaten favorite in the Jersey Derby and seeks his first win since breaking his maiden in the Laurel Futurity on September 21.

The New Jersey homebred makes a return to graded stakes company after finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Kitten’s Joy on January 4 at Gulfstream Park and a close seventh in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland.

Irish Mias is out of the 2019 New Jersey broodmare of the year Irish Score, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winning millionaire Irish War Cry, who also was conditioned by Motion.

“I thought he also ran respectively at Monmouth and it’s a shame I have to run the two against each other,” Motion said. “I’ve had most of the family now and they’re similar types. It’s been a little frustrating this year. We got a little messed up with scheduling because of COVlD, but he’s doing well.”

Irish Mias will break from post 7 under Manny Franco.

Trainer Chad Brown will saddle L’Imperator for his North American debut under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.

Owned by Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Robert LaPenta, the French-bred son of Holy Roman Emperor arrives at the Saranac off three straight wins in his native country, the most recent of which was an easy three-length win going 1 ¼ miles at Toulouse.

L’Imperator has been training over the Oklahoma training turf since July and recently worked five furlongs in 1:01 flat over the grass.

L’Imperator will break from post 4.

Dare to Dream Stable’s Embolden brings a highly consistent record of 7-2-3-2 into the Saranac, where he will attempt his first graded stakes victory. Trained by Michael Stidham, the gray or roan son of The Factor was third to Four Wheel Drive in the Grade 3 Futurity on October 6 at Belmont Park, which was his lone effort in a graded stakes race. He made his seasonal bow in most recent effort when finishing second beaten a length to Largent in the restricted Edward P. Evans on July 29 at Colonial Downs.

Jockey Jose Ortiz will ride from post 9.

Completing the field are Three Technique [post 3, Junior Alvarado], Don Juan Kitten [post 5, Kendrick Carmouche], Big Dreaming [post 6, Jose Lezcano], Bodecream [post 10, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Turn of Events [post 11, Luis Saez]. Ima Pharoah has been entered for main track only.

Global Access wins the 2019 Saranac

The Saranac is slated as Race 3 on Saturday’s 11-race card, which offers a first post of 1:10 p.m. Eastern. Saratoga Live will present daily television coverage of the 40-day summer meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. For the complete Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit

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, NYRA Bets is currently offering a $200 new member bonus in addition to a host of special weekly offers. The NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

Saratoga Entries for Saturday, August 29

Press Release

Photo: Vanzzy wins the 2020 Jersey Derby at Monmouth. Credit: Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

@jonathanstettin congrats on a great hit. Very nice job!!!

Beezer (@Angry_VBK) View testimonials