Mo Diddley set for Saratoga Special

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mo Diddley will step up to stakes company looking to build on a winning debut as part of a nine-horse field in the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special for 2-year-olds on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.

Owned by Gary Barber and Cheyenne Stables, Mo Diddley overcame a severe outward break to rally for a debut victory by a head in the 4 ½-furlong sprint on May 18 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Mark Casse said he has high expectations for the Uncle Mo colt as he stretches out to the Saratoga Special distance of 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.

Newly minted Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will have the call from post 2.

Copper Bullet is 1-2-0 in three starts, including a runner-up finish in his graded stakes debut when he finished 1 ½ lengths behind Ten City in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor on June 30 at Churchill. The son of More Than Ready has breezed three times on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track since that effort as he prepares to race for the first time at the Spa for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Copper Bullet will be stretched out to the Saratoga Special distance for the first time, drawing the outside post with jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.

Albaugh Family Stable’s Hollywood Star won his first start for trainer Dale Romans, capturing a six-furlong maiden special weight on June 28 at Churchill. The son of Malibu Moon was a $550,000 Keeneland September acquisition, the most expensive colt of his sire’s 44 yearlings to sell last year. He will now take the step up in class, breaking from post 3 with Robby Albarado in the irons.

Barry Lee will have the services of jockey Jose Ortiz from post 4.

Pletcher will saddle a pair of entrants in Bal Harbour and Tempestad. Bal Harbour was fifth in the Grade 3 Sanford on July 22 at the Spa after running second and first, respectively, in his first two maiden races at Gulfstream Park. John Velazquez, also a Hall of Famer, will ride from the rail.

Tempestad, like Mo Diddley a son of Uncle Mo, won his first start on May 18 at Belmont and has been training at Saratoga since June on both the main and training tracks. Joel Rosario will break from post 6.

Rounding out the field is Diamond Oops, who is 2-for-2, including a win in the Kiss a Native on July 1 at Gulfstream Park, for trainer Patrick Biancone from post 8; Vino, a maiden winner for trainer Kelly Breen, will exit post 7; and Crea’s Bklyn Law for trainer Michael Dilger from post 5.