There will be six new inductees to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on Friday morning at the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, and then in the afternoon a field of eight will line up in the feature at the Spa in a Grade 2 race named after the hall of fame and sporting a $200,000 purse.
The 2012 class includes jockeys John Velazquez and Anthony Hamilton, trainers Roger Attfield and Robert Wheeler and thoroughbreds Ghostzapper and Planet.
Hall of fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas sends out an entry in the Grade 2 fixture, which is carded for 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course.
Optimizer, who ran in all three of the Triple Crown races and is coming off a troubled fourth in the Virginia Derby (G2), and American Derby (G3) third place finisher Skyring are the 3-1 second choices in the race.
The morning line favorite is Daddy Nose Best (2-1), who came off a two month break to run a close up fourth in the American Derby, beaten ¾ of a length for the top spot.
Trainer Chad Brown, who won the race last year with Big Blue Kitten will saddle recent Alw-1 winner Yari (7-2).
Completing the field is last year’s Pilgrim (G3) winner Shkspeare Shaliyah (20-1), Kaiser winner Csaba (4-1), American Derby fourth place finisher Quick Wit (8-1), and Duluth third place finisher Spring to the Sky (12-1).
The Todd Pletcher trained Reconteur (5-1) is a main track only entrant.
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Saratoga each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
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Let’s head out to Saratoga for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) Post time 5:30 ET
3 Yari 7-2
6 Quick Wit 8-1
1 Skyring / 1a Optimizer 3-1
7 Daddy Nose Best 2-1
Yari makes his stakes debut here for the Chad Brown barn off a game gate to wire score against Alw-1 optional claimers on the grass at Belmont Park. This guy broke his maiden for a $35,000 tag back in March at Gulfstream Park. Brown saddled last year’s winner of the race Big Blue Kitten, who also had broken his maiden for a $35K tag at Gulfstream Park. The gelding makes his third start of his current form cycle and there is not a ton of legit speed in here so Rosie may be able to steal it on the front end. The gelding is out of the stakes winner Message Red ($240K) who has dropped two other foals to race, both winners, top earner stakes winner Li Me Geaux ($171K).
Quick Wit was off a beat slow and made a mild late run to finish fifth in the American Derby (G3). The colt got no pace to run at in the race, the early fractions of 50.56 and 1:15.74. He won his only race on turf two back beating Alw-1 foes at Churchill Downs. He looks as if he is heading in the right direction and looks as if he is going to get overlooked in the spot. If he gets an honest pace he could be around late at a decent price.
Optimizer ran in all three Triple Crown races and was clobbered in each. He returned to turf last out in the Virginia Derby (G2) where he checked in fourth. The colt had to steady when in tight along the rail in the stretch and instead of waiting for the rail to open the jock angled him out four wide and finished up well but too late. Lukas was very critical of the ride that day by the KMan. His previous start on grass was a solid second in the With Anticipation (G2) last September here at the Spa. His entrymate Skyring has a pair of good efforts on turf including a win in the James Murphy at Pimlico on Preakness Day.
WIN: Yari to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3,6 / 1,3,6,7
TRIFECTA: 3,6 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,3,5,6,7