SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Gainesway Stable’s multiple graded-stakes winner Wit will make his turf debut in Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, a one-mile inner turf test for sophomores at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the dark bay Practical Joke colt made two graded starts on dirt last summer at the Spa, capturing the six-furlong Grade 3 Sanford ahead of a troubled second to Gunite in the Grade 1 Hopeful after stumbling at the break. He completed his juvenile campaign with a distant third in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont.
Wit returned with a flourish in April in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct Racetrack, rallying three-wide to post a nose score over Highly Respected. Last out, Wit was a non-threatening fourth in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Woody Stephens on June 11 at Belmont Park.
Wit has breezed twice over the Oklahoma training turf, including an impressive bullet half-mile breeze in 47.95 working to the inside of graded-stakes placed Scottish Star on July 22.
“He seemed to really take to the turf,” Pletcher said. “It seemed pretty clear that he took to it. It was a good strong work and an energetic gallop out. It just seemed that he enjoyed himself out there.”
Pletcher enjoyed similar surface-switch success this year with Emmanuel, who was graded-stakes placed on dirt before taking the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge over the Belmont turf in June.
The veteran conditioner said the $575,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Numero d’Oro, is bred to be good on grass.
“The Medaglia d’Oro bottom side kind of made you think about [turf], it was mainly just about giving him a try on it,” Pletcher said. “There was enough pedigree that suggested it could work.”
Jose Ortiz will pilot Wit from post 3.
Pletcher will also saddle Harrel Ventures’ Chanceux [post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], who will look to break through after hitting the board in 3-of-5 stakes attempts led by a runner-up effort to stablemate Grand Sonata in the Dania Beach in January at Gulfstream Park.
By Speightstown and out of the Grade 1-winning Broken Vow mare Rosalind, Chanceux enters from a prominent fourth in the one-mile Manila on July 4 at Belmont which was won by stablemate Annapolis.
Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb cuts back in distance following a ninth-place finish on July 9 in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational.
Trained by Kenny McPeek, the Hit It a Bomb bay made the grade in the Grade 2 Bourbon traveling 1 1/16-miles over good Keeneland turf ahead of a rallying runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Del Mar.
He posted a pair of synthetic wins at Turfway Park, taking the John Battaglia Memorial in March and the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks in April ahead of a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in May at Churchill Downs.
Julien Leparoux has the call from the outermost post 9.
Jeremy Brooks’ Wow Whata Summer upset the Pletcher-trained Annapolis two starts back on June 3 in the Grade 2 Penn Mile, which was contested over very soft going.
With regular rider Tyler Conner up, the dark bay Summer Front gelding opened up a two-length lead at the stretch call and dug in deep to secure the 1 1/4-length score at odds of 83-1.
“We’d been frustrated with him because we always thought he was a really talented horse right from the beginning,” said trainer Chuck Lawrence. “It was very pleasing to finally see him show what he had been showing in the morning.”
Wow Whata Summer left the gate at odds of 10-1 last out in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Kent on July 2 over firm going at Delaware Park, but failed to fire finishing fifth.
Wow Whata Summer graduated at first asking, via disqualification, in a five-furlong turf sprint last July at Colonial Downs. He has competed mainly in stakes company since while compiling a record of 8-2-0-2 for purse earnings of $302,000.
Lawrence said Wow Whata Summer has trained well at Fair Hill, including a six-furlong breeze in 1:13.60 on July 27 over the all-weather surface.
“He stands out from just an ordinary horse in his breezes. Hopefully, what he showed in the Penn Mile he can show again in New York,” Lawrence said. “I think he prefers a little softer turf course and sometimes we get that at Saratoga. We’re coming into it very well and I’m hoping we’ll have a little give to the ground.”
The National Weather Service is calling for a 40 percent chance of precipitation on Thursday and Friday this week in Saratoga Springs.
Conner retains the mount from post 4.
Stolen Base, trained by Mike Maker for Three Diamonds Farm and Deuce Greathouse, captured the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs in May on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
The Bodemeister bay was a rallying second in last year’s Grade 2 Bourbon at Keeneland ahead of a seventh-place effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The consistent bay, who sports a ledger of 10-2-3-1 for purse earnings of $468,700, enters from a distant 12th in the Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational.
He will leave post 5 in rein to Flavien Prat, who was aboard for the American Turf effort.
Rounding out the field is the Brad Cox-trained stakes winner Ready to Purrform [post 6, Joel Rosario] for owner Donegal Racing; the Tom Amoss-trained stakes winner Dowagiac Chief [post 2, Tyler Gaffalione], who adds blinkers, for owner Michael McLoughlin; Calumet Farm’s stakes-placed Double Clutch [post 7, Manny Franco] for trainer Rusty Arnold; and Stuart S. Janney’s stakes-placed Celestial City [post 8, Javier Castellano] for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
The Hall of Fame is slated as Race 8 on Friday’s 10-race card which also features the Grade 3, $200,000 Troy in Race 9. First post 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.
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Photo: Wit (#9) winning the G3 Bay Shore (Susie Raisher)