A field of six evenly matched New York breds will square off in the $100,000 John Morrisey at Saratoga on Thursday including the runner up, third and fourth place finishers from last year’s edition.
The Charlton Baker trained Gold for the King is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The gelding breaks from the rail with Joel Rosario in the irons. The gelding is back with state breds after a sixth in the True North (G2) in his last start.
Eye Luv Lulu is the co-second choice at 5-2 and ran second in the Morrisey last year. The Jason Servis trainee makes his first start since a runner up finish in the New York bred Affirmed Success on April 26. Jose Lezcano will get a leg up and will break from the five post.
The co-second choice is the Chad Brown trained Build to Suit, who came off a long layoff to beat first level allowance foes by 6 ¼ lengths in fast time on Jan. 26 at Aqueduct. Manny Franco has the return call on the five-year-old.
Completing the field are Celtic Chaos (3-1), Saratoga Giro (15-1) and T Loves a Fight (12-1).
The John Morrissey is the ninth race on Thursday’s 11-race card, which also includes the Grade 1, $150,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial, a 2 1/16-mile steeplechase event which is the opener. First post is 12:45 p.m.
Let’s head out to Saratoga for Thursday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The John Morrissey (Post time 5:15 ET)
#5 Eye Luv Lulu 5-2
#1 Gold for the King 2-1
#2 Celtic Chaos 3-1
#4 Build to Suit 5-2
Eye Luv Lulu
The Jason Servis trainee returns off a three-month break here, last seen running second in the state bred Affirmed Success on April 26 at Belmont Park in the slop. The winner of that race was Pat On The Back, who came back to win the state bred Commentator in his next outing on May 27. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and ran second in this race last year. He has one New York bred win, taking the ’18 Affirmed Success. He runs well fresh, popping a 97 Beyer three back beating open Alw-2 optional claimers at Aqueduct off a short break. He is 0 for 6 over the Spa main track but has run well, landing in the money in four of those trips.
Gold for the King
This gelding is back with state breds after a sixth-place finish last out in the True North (G2) at Belmont Park off a 4 1/2-month break. The gelding was last early and could not make up much ground in the stretch, beaten 3 1/4 lengths over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed that day. The winner Catalina Cruiser came back to win the San Diego Handicap (G2) in his next outing on July 20 at Del Mar. The Baker trainee’s last win came in a New York Stallion Series race last fall at the Big A and he was fourth in this race last summer. He should be tighter second off the short break and just needs to see some pace in front of him.
This guy is coming off a career top speed fig where he beat Alw-3 optional claimers going seven furlongs at Belmont Park in a race washed off the grass. He bounced back after checking in sixth in the Affirmed Success behind our top pick two back. He put in a solid effort three back in a runner up finish in the state bred Hollies Hughes, earning a number good enough to be in the mix in this spot. The six-year-old has run well here, landing in the money in six of seven starts, taking a state bred non-conditioned allowance race at the Spa last summer.
WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5
TRI: no play