The 40-day Saratoga meeting ends on Monday with the $300,000 Saranac, a 1 1/8 mile test on turf for three-year-olds.
The Graham Motion trained Ring Weekend is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The gelding is 0 for 2 on turf but did win the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on dirt in March and was fifth in the Preakness Stakes (G1). The gelding comes into the race off a runner up finish in the Sir Cat Stakes over the Spa turf going a mile.
The Mike Pino trained Wallyanna figures to attract plenty of wagering action off his win in the Hall of Fame (G2) here on Aug. 8. The colt came up the inside with a good late rally under jockey Irad Ortiz to pull off the upset at 23-1.
The co-feature on the card is the $350,000 Hopeful (G1) for two-year-olds that will go off as the fourth race on the 10-race card. The race drew a field of seven with six betting interests.
The Todd Pletcher trained Competitive Edge was one of the most impressive juveniles at the Spa meeting, breaking his maiden in his debut by 10 ¼ lengths and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.
His main foe will be the Tony Dutrow trained I Spent It, who broke his maiden in his debut at Belmont Park on July 2 and came back to win the Saratoga Special (G2) here on Aug. 10.
Belmont Park will open for its Fall Championship meeting on Friday.
Let’s head out to the Spa for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The Saranac G3 (Post time 5:21 ET)
1 Ring Weekend 8-5
10 Walllyanna 7-2
4 Cabo Cat 4-1
5 Storm 5-1
Analysis: Ring Weekend makes just his third career start on turf and is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish in the restricted Sir Cat here going a mile on July 18. The gelding tracked the early pace and could not get to the loose on the lead gate to wire winner Tourist, who came back to run a good second in the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park in his next start on Aug. 16.
The Graham Motion trainee won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on the main track but has now lost four in a row. He has a decent turf pedigree, by Tapit out of a stakes placed Cryptoclearance mare that has dropped one turf winner. Motion has won 10 races at the meeting, seven on turf including the Sword Dancer (G1), Coronation Cup and the Lake George (G2).
Wallyanna stalked the early pace and came up the inside with a good late rally to get up and win the Hall of Fame (G2) in an upset, returning $49.20. The colt has now won three of his four career starts on turf for the sharp Mike Pino barn. The colt won the James Murphy at Pimlico three back and won that race over ground labeled as good and we may have less than form conditions today.
Pino claimed this guy for just $35,000 back in March at Gulfstream Park. He draws the outside post and did get a dream trip last out. The main knock is he won’t be close to 23-1 today.
Cabo Cat exits the Sir Cat where he trailed the pack early and made a mild late run to finish fourth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths for the top spot. The colt won the Manila two back over the turf at Belmont Park turf going a mile.
The colt has landed in the exacta in five of his nine trips on the turf and has enough pedigree to handle going nine furlongs. He is by Kitten’s Joy out of a Swain mare, her first foal to race.
WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,10 / 1,4,5,10
TRI: 1,10 / 1,4,5,10 / 1,4,5,6,10
Michael Dempsey’s full card reports for the entire Fall Championship meeting at Belmont Park from Sept. 5 until Oct 26. The package includes “Super Saturday” on Sept. 27 which will feature six graded stakes, including five Grade 1 races, headed by the 96th edition of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 ¼ miles. New York Showcase Day will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18, and will be comprised of eight stakes races restricted to New York-breds, with purses totaling $1.75 million.