Asmussen Sends Out Tough Duo in Saratoga Special

Saratoga Special

A field of 10 will line up in the $150,000 Saratoga Special (G2). (Photo credit: ID 15341343 © Cheryl Quigley |

Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle two top contenders in Friday’s $150,000 Saratoga Special (G2) including the 5-2 morning line favorite Cazadero.

Eleven juveniles were entered but trainer Wesley Ward announced he will scratch Roderick and ship him to Del Mar for the Best Pal (G2) on Saturday.

The Asmussen trained Cazadero is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The colt is the lone runner in the field that has won a stake, taking the Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 27.

“It’s nice to have a couple of races under his belt heading into a race like this at Saratoga,” said Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi. “He came in very well-respected and hasn’t done anything wrong yet.”

His stablemate is Jackie’s Warrior (7-2) who broke his maiden in his debut at Churchill Downs going five furlongs on June 19.

“It was a very impressive maiden special weight at Churchill. Fast times and talented horses as well,” Blasi said. “With these babies you just have to get some experience in them and hope that they continue to move forward.”

2020 Bashford Manor Replay

Ricardo Santana Jr. rode both of the Asmussen runners and sticks with Cazadero while Joel Rosario picks up the call on Jackie’s Warrior.

The only other contender in the field that has beaten winners is Papetu (10-1), who beat Alw-2L optional claimers at Gulfstream Park in his second career outing. The Antonio Sano trainee draws the rail and picks up Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.

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Let’s head out to Saratoga for Friday’s featured race of the day:


Saratoga Race 9 The Saratoga Special G2 Post time 5:46 ET

6 Cazadero   5-2

9 Therideofalifetime   4-1

10 Jackie’s Warrior   7-2

7 Momos   6-1


This colt is the lone stakes winner in the field, taking the Bashford Manor (G3) last out at Churchill Downs in his second career start. The colt tracked the early pace and finished strongly to win by 4 ¾ lengths. Two runners he beat have come back to run, the best effort a runner up finish by Gatsby in the Florida Stallion Series Dr. Fager at Gulfstream Park on Aug. 1. Our top pick broke his maiden in his debut two back at Churchill Downs going five furlongs, drawing away to win by 8 ¾ lengths. Asmussen has been very live with his juveniles this year, winning with 18 of 56 starters (32%). The trainer has won this race four times, the most recent with Copper Bullet in 2017. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and should get a perfect trip sitting just off the pace. The colt is out of the stakes winner Wild Gams ($1.1 million) who has dropped five other winners including stakes winner Mt. Brave ($160,606) and stakes placed Almost Famous ($180,688).


The son of Candy Ride ships in from Keeneland where he took the field gate to wire in his second career start to break his maiden by 8 ¼ lengths as the betting favorite. In his debut two back he tracked the early pace and could not get by Jackie’s Warrior in the stretch in a runner up finish at 9-1. The colt earned the top last out speed fig in his maiden score. Three he beat have come back to run back with one next out winner, Little Alex graduating at Indiana Grand in his next outing on July 22. The Ignacio Correas trainee is out of the stakes winner Cosmic Evolution ($164,810), her first foal to race. The colt owns solid early and mid pace numbers and if he is able to get clear he could prove tough to catch.

Jackie’s Warrior

The Asmussen trainee was a good looking maiden winner in his debut at Churchill Downs going five furlongs. The effort was flattered when our second choice came out of that race to graduate next out. The colt dueled for the early lead, took back on the far turn and came again at the 5/!6’s and pulled away late. He earned a solid number for his win and sports five works since landing at Saratoga. The $95,000 Keeneland purchase is by Maclean’s Music out of a A.P. Five Hundred mare that has dropped one other winner. Santana sticks with our top pick, no real surprise, and Rosario lands on this colt. He looks capable of moving forward off his promising debut.

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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