Tacitus seeks sought after Grade 1 win in $500K Woodward
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Juddmonte Farms’ three-time graded stakes winner Tacitus has been Grade 1-placed on four occasions, and will seek his first triumph at such level when he faces a field of five competitors in today’s 67th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward going 1 ¼ miles at Saratoga Race Course.
The prestigious event for older horses honors William Woodward, the late owner of Bel Air Stud who campaigned father-son Triple Crown-winning pair of Gallant Fox and Omaha and was chairman of the Jockey Club from 1930-50. Since its inception in 1954, the Woodward has attracted high caliber horses such as all-time greats Kelso (1961-63), Buckpasser (1966), Damascus (1967), and Forego who won four consecutive runnings from 1974-77. For four straight years, the Woodward was championed by a winner of the Kentucky Derby with Seattle Slew (1978), Affirmed (1979), Spectacular Bid (1980) and Pleasant Colony (1981) all winning the prestigious event. More recent prominent winners of the Woodward include Mineshaft (2003), Ghostzapper (2004), Saint Liam (2005), Curlin (2008), Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Gun Runner (2017) whose Woodward victories would help cement Horse of the Year honors in their respective years.
Trainer Bill Mott’s four Woodward victories is tied with fellow Hall of Famers Elliot Burch and Bobby Frankel. Mott will look to become the race’s all-time leading conditioner in the prestigious race when saddling Tacitus, who boasts lifetime earnings of $2,817,500.
Mott has sent out Hall of Famer Cigar (1995-96), To Honor and Serve (2012) and Yoshida (2018) to victory in the Woodward.
The 4-year-old gray or roan son of prolific sire Tapit out of 2014 Champion Older Filly Close Hatches was a runaway winner of the Grade 2 Suburban going the 1 ¼-mile distance on July 4 at Belmont Park. With Hall of Famer John Velazquez up, he tracked a leisurely pace, took command at the quarter pole and drew off by 8 ¾ lengths in a final time of 1:59.40.
This was his first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on May 2 and marked his first victory since taking the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets in April 2019 at Aqueduct.
During his sophomore campaign last year, Tacitus won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby en route to his Wood Memorial score. He finished in the money in his remaining five starts during his 3-year-old season when elevated to third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby followed by runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, Grade 2 Jim Dandy and Grade 1 Runhappy Travers at Saratoga. He capped off his 2019 campaign with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 28.
Jockey Jose Ortiz, who piloted Tacitus to his two graded stakes wins last year, will return to the saddle from post 2.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will attempt to level up to even terms with Mott, Burch and Frankel in terms of Woodward victories when he saddles the formidable duo of Moretti and Spinoff.
Owned by Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Moretti arrives at the Woodward off a victory in the 1 ¾-mile Birdstone on August 2, which he won by 1 ½ lengths. Second in the Grade 2 Suburban to Tacitus, Moretti defeated allowance company at Oaklawn Park on May 2 at Oaklawn Park as the lukewarm favorite before winning his first stakes race in the Flat Out on June 11 over a sloppy main track at Belmont Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Thor-Bred Farm, Moretti is by multiple champion producing stallion Medaglia d’Oro out of the Grade 1 winning Concerto mare Rigoletta, who also produced Grade 1 winner Battle of Midway. He was acquired for a lucrative $900,000 from the Gainesway consignment barn at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale.
Jockey Jose Lezcano will have the mount from post 3.
Pletcher also will send out Wertheimer and Frere’s Spinoff, a newly minted stakes winner who took the Alydar on August 9 at the Spa where he registered a career-best 99 Beyer.
The homebred son of Hard Spun out of Grade 1-winner Zaftig was previously stakes-place three times, including a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in 2018. During his sophomore season, Spinoff was a close second to By My Standards in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds en route to off-the-board placings in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. He capped off his 3-year-old season with a decisive 5 ¾-length victory against winners last August at Saratoga defeating graded stakes winners Lone Sailor, Cairo Cat and Control Group exactly one year prior to his last out win.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pilot Spinoff from post 5.
Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm’s Global Campaign will attempt to replicate his winning ways from the last out Grade 3 Monmouth Cup when making his Grade 1 debut in the Woodward for trainer Stanley Hough.
The well-bred Curlin colt was a determined winner of his last effort, where he controlled a moderate pace throughout, lost the lead at the furlong marker to last year’s Woodward runner-up Bal Harbour, but re rallied along the rail to get the victory by 1 ½-lengths over fast-closing Woodward-rival Math Wizard. A consistent five-time winner of eight starts, Global Campaign won his first two races which took place at Gulfstream Park before making the grade in the Grade 3 Peter Pan at Belmont Park last May over eventual Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston. In his only start at Saratoga, Global Campaign was third in last year’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy.
Bred in Kentucky by co-owner WinStar Farm, Global Campaign is out of the A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, making him a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro.
Leaving from post 4, Global Campaign will be piloted by Luis Saez.
Following a well-beaten fifth in last Friday’s Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, Math Wizard will seek to make amends while attempting his second Grade 1 victory for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.
Owned by John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash Is King Racing, LC Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stable, Ioannis Zoumas and Bassett Stables, Math Wizard was a deep-closing winner of last year’s Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx in his only graded staeks victory to date. The chestnut son of Algorithms owns three others placings against graded stakes company, where he was third in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby last July and second in both the Grade 3 Ohio Derby last June and Grade 3 Monmouth Cup in July.
Jockey Joel Rosario, who guided Yoshida to a 2018 Woodward score, has the mount from post 1.
Rounding out the field is William L. Clifton, Jr.’s Prioritize, a winner on both dirt and turf.
Trained by Jimmy Bond, Prioritize began his career on grass, where he was a first out winner over the Gulfstream Park green in April 2018 before third-place finishes against stakes company on the NYRA circuit in the Better Talk Now at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont Park, where he was beaten by a length both times.
In his dirt debut, the son of two-time Grade 1 winner Tizway won for a $35,000 tag on December 20 at Aqueduct and defeated allowance company three starts later at Saratoga, where he defeated Grade 1 Kentucky Derby contender Money Moves.
Jockey Eric Cancel piloted Prioritize to his last two efforts and retains the mount from post 6.
The Woodward is slated as Race 11 on today’s action-packed 12-race card, which also features the Grade 2, $150,000 Jim Dandy for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the main track, the Grade 2, $200,000 Glens Falls for older fillies and mares over the inner turf at 1 3/8 miles, and the Grade 2, $200,000 Prioress for sophomore fillies at six furlongs. Today’s program offers a first post of 11:45 a.m.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dr Post, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes in June, will make his Saratoga Race Course debut as one of two talented entrants for trainer Todd Pletcher in today’s Grade 2, $150,000 Jim Dandy for sophomores going nine furlongs.
The 57th running of the Jim Dandy is one of four graded stakes on the final Saturday of the Saratoga summer meet, joining the Grade 2, $200,000 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies; the Grade 2, $200,000 Glens Falls for older fillies and mares going 1 3/8 miles on turf; and the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up contested at 1 1/4 miles.
St. Elias Stable’s Dr Post hasn’t finished off the board in four starts this year. After running fourth in his lone start as a juvenile, the Quality Road colt won his first two races of 2020, breaking his maiden in March going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park before stepping up to stakes company at the same track, winning the 1 1/16-mile Unbridled in April.
Handling the stretch out in distance encouraged his connections to try deeper waters, and Dr Post responded with a game second to Tiz the Law in the 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes on June 20, finishing 3 ¾-lengths back to the eventual Grade 1 Runhappy Travers winner and the morning-line favorite in today’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
Pletcher brought Dr Post back in the Grade 1 Haskell, where he overcame a wide trip to still finish third behind Ny Traffic and the winner Authentic, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for the second straight time.
Though skipping what is for this year only the middle jewel of the Triple Crown with the Kentucky Derby, Dr Post could parlay a potential stellar effort in the Jim Dandy into a spot in the Grade 1 Preakness on October 3 at Pimlico Racecourse.
Irad Ortiz, Jr., aboard for his Unbridled win and the Belmont Stakes, will have the return call from post 6.
His stablemate, Wertheimer and Frere’s Happy Saver, started his career 2-for-2 with a 5 ½-length debut score on June 20 and a four-length win at the Jim Dandy distance against allowance company on July 26 at Saratoga.
A Kentucky homebred son of Super Saver, Happy Saver will arrive at his first stakes start looking to stay undefeated, drawing post 1 with Jose Lezcano set to ride.
Godolphin’s Mystic Guide will have an equipment change as he makes his second straight graded stakes appearance.
Jose Ortiz will be in the irons again, drawing the outside post 7.
Jesus’ Team has registered three consecutive Beyers of 90 or better, including a career-best 96 last out when second to Pneumatic in the Pegasus on August 15 at Monmouth Park. Trained by Jose Francisco D’Angelo, Jesus’ Team was moved up to stakes company in his eight career start with an ambitious spot, running fourth in the Haskell in Monmouth’s premier race.
The Jim Dandy’s most experienced entrant with nine starts, Jesus’ Team is 2-3-1 entering his first appearance at Saratoga. Luis Saez piloted him to a win against claimers in May at Gulfstream and again drew the assignment, breaking from post 4.
Celtic Striker, fourth in the Peter Pan, won the Easy Goer contested at 1 1/16 miles on June 25 at Belmont. The Ray Handal trainee has three wins and a second-place finish in eight career starts to his credit. Joel Rosario has the call from post 5.
Liveyourbeastlife will run in his first stakes in six starts, facing higher caliber for the first time since a sixth-place effort in the Grade 3 Nashua last November at Aqueduct Racetrack. Trained by Jorge Abreu, Liveyourbeastlife will pick up the services of Junior Alvarado and will exit post 2.
First Line, off first career win on July 29 at Saratoga, will make his stakes debut in his fifth start for trainer Orlando Noda, drawing post 3 with Dylan Davis aboard.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Trainer Tom Albertrani entered the improving pair of Beau Belle and Lovely Lucky in today’s Grade 2, $200,000 Glens Falls, a 1 3/8-miles inner turf marathon for older fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course.
Mark T. Anderson’s Beau Belle, a 5-year-old Giant’s Causeway mare, is out of the graded-stakes winning Royal Solo mare Binya, who produced Dynaire – the dam of the popular Grade 1-winning Albertrani trainee Sadler’s Joy.
Beau Belle graduated in her 15th start last July over a yielding Saratoga turf in a maiden special weight and followed with an allowance score a month later again over yielding turf, both races at 1 3/16-miles.
Albertrani stepped Beau Belle up significantly since that run of form, including a fifth in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational in October at Belmont, a third in the River Memories in July at Belmont and a last-out fourth under Manny Franco in the Grade 3 Waya on August 8 at the Spa, a race won by Glens Falls-rival My Sister Nat.
Elizabeth Mateo’s Lovely Lucky, a 4-year-old Lookin At Lucky bay, has found new life competing on turf. After three off-the-board efforts on dirt at Aqueduct over the winter, Lovely Lucky showed promise with a rallying fourth on turf in May at Gulfstream Park.
A modest $5,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, Lovely Lucky graduated by a nose on June 21 on the Belmont Park turf with a strong rally in a one-turn mile maiden claiming event in which jockey Jose Ortiz lost his crop.
She followed last out with a dominant 6 ¾-length score in a 1 3/8-mile turf allowance on July 24 at the Spa, utilizing a prominent approach under Ortiz.
Albertrani cross-entered Lovely Lucky in Thursday’s ninth race at the Spa, a 1 3/16-mile optional-claiming turf event, but said the Glens Falls distance would suit the improving bay.
Luis Saez has the call on Beau Belle from post 2, while Jose Lezcano would pick up the mount on Lovely Lucky from post 3.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will saddle the Peter Brant-owned French-breds My Sister Nat and Eliade.
My Sister Nat, a 5-year-old Acclamation bay, captured the 2018 Group 3 Prix Bertrand de Tarragon at Longchamp and moved to Brown’s barn last year where her best result was a close second, defeated a neck to Si Que Es Buena, in the Grade 3 Long Island in November at 11 furlongs on the Big A turf.
She made her seasonal debut by running second to Mean Mary in the Grade 2 New York in June at Belmont ahead of her rallying effort to defeat Mrs. Sippy by a neck in the Waya.
Eliade, a 4-year-old Teofilo bay, captured the Prix Panacee in October at Toulouse to wrap up her sophomore season. She made her debut for Brown in June at Belmont when sixth and was a closing second last out on August 6 when a neck back of Hungry Kitten in an 11-furlong optional-claiming turf event at the Spa.
My Sister Nat will exit post 4 under Ortiz, while Eliade will be guided from post 5 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Rounding out the field are Civil Union [post 1, Joel Rosario], who captured the River Memories last out on July 12 at Belmont for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey; Pallas Athene [post 6, Kendrick Carmouche], a 4-year-old daughter of Declaration of War trained by John Terranova; and Complicit [post 7, Dylan Davis], a 6-year-old Blame bay looking for her first stakes win for trainer Eric Reed.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Reagan’s Edge will look to turn the tables on Frank’s Rockette in today’s Grade 2, $200,000 Prioress, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Previously campaigned by David Ingordo, husband of trainer Cherie DeVaux, Reagan’s Edge was purchased privately by Lael Stables following a last-out second in the Grade 3 Victory’s Ride held July 4 at Belmont Park.
Reagan’s Edge, a Competitive Edge chestnut named for Ingordo’s 9-year-old daughter, was purchased for $77,000 at the April 2019 OBS Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.
She won by nine lengths in her September 2019 debut at Indiana Grand, a key six-furlong sprint that saw the second and third-place finishers win next out.
Last out, in the Grade 3 Victory Ride going 6 ½-furlongs at Belmont Park, Reagan’s Edge, in second position, pressed the early speed of Frank’s Rockette through splits of 23.11 and 45.52 on the fast main track in a compact field of five. Reagan’s Edge stayed on strong to the wire and was gaining late when a head short of Frank’s Rockette, who stopped the clock in 1:14.47, just a hundredth of a second off the track record recorded by Bear Fan in June 2004.
Reagan’s Edge earned a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure for the Victory Ride effort and will retain the services of Jose Lezcano, aboard for the last two efforts, from post 9.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ Frank’s Rockette boasts a perfect in-the-money record of four wins and four seconds, with purse earnings of $413,063. Two of those runner-up efforts came in graded company last summer in the Grade 2 Adirondack and Grade 1 Spinaway, both races won by Perfect Alibi.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Frank’s Rockette opened her sophomore season in February at Gulfstream Park with a seven-length romp in the six-furlong Any Limit. She followed with a runner-up effort to Prioress-rival Kimari in the Purple Martin in April on a sloppy Oaklawn Park strip ahead of a ridden-out 3 ½-length victory in an optional-claiming sprint in May at Churchill Downs.
She will emerge from post 5 under Junior Alvarado, taking over for Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who is at Churchill this weekend to pilot Gamine in the Kentucky Oaks and Authentic in the Kentucky Derby.
Ten Broeck Farm’s Kimari, trained by Wesley Ward, returns off a more than two-month layoff after finishing second last out on June 19 in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, a six-furlong turf sprint at Ascot.
The versatile Kimari will boast the services of Irad Ortiz, Jr. from the inside post.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will saddle the dangerous duo of Center Aisle and Secondary Market.
OXO Equine’s Center Aisle, an Into Mischief bay, was purchased for $1.5 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training sale. She sprinted to a 3 ¾-length victory in her March 29 debut at Gulfstream Park but was off-the-board next out when fifth after a slow start in a seven-furlong optional-claimer on May 22 at Churchill Downs.
Last out, Center Aisle was a wide third in the Grade 3 Victory Ride.
Klaravich Stables’ Secondary Market, an Into Mischief bay purchased for $275,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall 2017 Mixed Sale, graduated at second asking by 5 ½-lengths in a 6 ½-furlong sprint last September at Belmont. She returned off a nearly one-year layoff on August 9 at the Spa to win a 6 ½-furlong allowance sprint over older company.
Joel Rosario retains the mount on Center Aisle from post 7, while Jose Ortiz picks up the mount on Secondary Market from post 4.
Rounding out the field are Up in Smoke [post 2, Luis Saez], Sound Machine [post 3, Eric Cancel], Hello Beautiful [post 6, Kendrick Carmouche], and Purrfectly Claire [post 8, Eric Cancel].