The final week of racing at Saratoga Race Course is upon us, and a huge weekend it will be with eight graded stakes events to be held. One of the bigger ones will come on Saturday in the form of the $600,000 Woodward S. (G1). A fine field is assembling for this historic event, including recent Whitney H. (G1) hero Moreno, for conditioner Eric Guillot. The four-year-old son of Ghostzapper loves this main oval and ran huge last time to defeat a top field at nine panels and will get the same distance to work with in this spot. Expect him to be on the lead early.
Lea is unraced since a fine win in the Donn H. (G1) ion the winter but clearly has a lot of class and ability for trainer Bill Mott. The five-year-old chestnut has been training well and wouldn’t be a total shocker. Defending champ Alpha, Chad Brown’s Zivo and Brooklyn (G2) winner Norumbega, are also likely.
The $500,000 Forego S. (G1) is shaping up to be a fine betting race and could attract some very good one-turn horses. The lightly raced Bakken was second while favored in the True North (G2) last time and could be sitting on a big one for Chad Brown. The four-year-old colt by Distorted Humor has run pretty well in each career outing and might just take to tis oval after a nice series of morning drills.
Palace was a very game winner of the Vanderbilt (G1) on this surface and could be the one to beat for trainer Linda Rice. This superb former claimer ran down a clear one late and looked to have a lot in the tank after the wire. Clearly Now set a course record at Belmont in his Sprint Championship (G3) tour de force and anything like his last should give the Brian Lynch trainee a lot of reason for optimism in this tough spot.
Barclay Tagg’s Confrontation has rolled home to a pair of fine allowance wins in succession and looks set to tackle graded foes for the first time. The former maiden claimer is 3-for-3 on this oval and is versatile in running style while peaking. Sensational allowance winner Eastwood is also likely.
A lot of fleet fillies are being mentioned for the $300,000 Prioress S. (G2). Acorn S. (G1) second Sweet Whiskey, Test S. (G1) runner-up Miss Behaviour, stakes-winning speedster Red Velvet, Princess Violet, who stayed on for second in the Mother Goose S. (G1), Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up My Miss Sophia, and impressive allowance heroine La Madrina, are some of the top draws.
Reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan looks all set to make his return in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch H. (G2). Trained by Charlie Lopresti, the sublime son of Wiseman’s Ferry is 21-for-29 lifetime including eight for nine since the start of 2013, and is training like he is ready according to his connections. The gelding will be a very low price and impossible to defeat with his best.
Seek Again narrowly lost to Wise Dan at Churchill on Derby Day and has since bagged a graded race for conditioner Bill Mott. Silver Max was the last horse to beat Wise Dan when wiring the field on the synthetic in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) in the fall. He will likely try and lead the cast from gate to wire for Dale Romans. The aforementioned pair will be the main dangers to the superstar.
Sunday will host a pair of graded races, including the $350,000 Spinaway S. (G1) for juvenile fillies. The top trio from the Adirondack S. (G2) – Cavorting, Angela Renee and Wonder Gal – are possible, and could be joined by super game debut winner Winter Dawn, Michelle Nevin’s By The Moon and Curalina, who was a very nice second in a sloppy debut on this oval.
The $150,000 Glens Falls H. (G3) will top the Sunday undercard.
Closing Monday will play host to another p[air of graded races, topped by the $350,000 Hopeful S. (G1) for juveniles. Competitive Edge was likely the most impressive debut winner at this meeting and the expensive son of Super Saver will be extremely tough if he runs that same race back. The colt has superstar written all over him.
Saratoga special (G2) winner I Spent It might go in here, and he would be the main danger to the surefire favorite. The Tony Dutrow overcame all kinds of trouble to win going away last time and has a bit of a seasoning edge on his main rival. George Weaver’s Requite, Larry Rivelli’s sharp debut star Zip’s Moondance and the Graham Motion-conditioned Pride of Stride, could land in this dash, also.
The $300,000 Saranac S. (G3) will also be held on closing day.