SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After saddling Golden Pal to a superb victory in last year’s $120,000 Skidmore, trainer Wesley Ward will vie for more prosperity in the 5 ½-furlong Mellon turf sprint for 2-year-olds, sending out stakes-winner Overbore and impressive maiden winner Kaufymaker in the ninth edition of the race on Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Peter Leidel, Overbore arrives off a two-month layoff after breaking his maiden in the Tremont on June 4 at Belmont Park. He tracked a swift pace from third to capture the 5 ½ furlong event over muddy and sealed going by three-quarters of a length.
The favorite in all three of his starts, Overbore, a dark bay or brown son of Speightstown, will return to turf two starts after finishing second, beaten a nose to Artos in a maiden race over the Churchill Downs turf on May 21.
“We gave him a little break and he’s back to doing well,” Ward said. “I wanted to give him a little breather after he fired three races like he did. He’s been doing well at Keeneland. We shipped him up to Saratoga and he’s settled right in nicely.”
As the lone stakes winner in the Skidmore field, Overbore boasts $108,500 in earnings.
Purchased for $275,000 from the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Overbore is the first progeny out of the stakes-winning and multiple graded-stakes placed Saffir mare Galina Point.
Jockey Joel Rosario retains the mount from post 9.
Mr. Gregory Kauffman’s Kaufymaker returns stateside following an endeavor across the pond in the Group 2 Coventry on June 15 at Royal Ascot, where she was eighth beaten four lengths.
The chestnut Jimmy Creed filly was outstanding on debut, breaking her maiden by 6 ¼ lengths over a good main track in April at Keeneland.
Kaufymaker resumed training at Keeneland before shipping to Saratoga, where she recorded a half-mile work in 48.11 seconds Sunday over the Oklahoma turf course under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
“She’s doing very well. Ascot was disappointing because I was pretty confident going into that race,” Ward said. “She was really working tremendously on the grass. She had a real nice work this morning over the Oklahoma turf with Johnny V up. She’s doing really well and we’re looking for a big effort with her.”
Velazquez will return to the irons from post 3.
Leading trainer Mike Maker sends a formidable contender in Kendall Hansen’s Pure Panic, who scored on debut last month in a 5 ½-furlong maiden event over the turf at Ellis Park. The gray or roan son of Summer Front will look to give Maker his fourth stakes triumph of the meet.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione will ride from post 8.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Bonus Appreciation after a second out maiden victory in an off-the-turf event on July 11 at Monmouth Park.
Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. picks up the mount from post 6.
Completing the field are Barone Cesco [post 1, Eric Cancel], Catch the Smoke [post 5, Jose Ortiz], and Baytown Warrior [post 10, Brandon Whitacre].
Averly Jane [post 2, Tyler Gaffalione], Backnthewoods [post 4, Jose Ortiz] and Golden Bell [post 7, John Velazquez] have been entered for main track only.
The Skidmore is carded as Race 9 on Friday’s 10-race program at Saratoga Race Course. First post is 1:05 p.m. Saratoga Live will present daily television coverage of the 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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Saratoga Race Course Press Release
Photo: Overbore, (NYRA Photo)