There isn’t an abundance of high-level sprint races restricted to 3-year-olds, and when they do appear, there’s rarely a shortage of talent.
A perfect example is the $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Racetrack.
The recent list of winners from Amsterdam includes winners or placed in grade 1 Jackie’s warrior last year’s champion sprinter, yaupon , Shancelot , Promises kept , Watch your cookies and quality road and the trend will continue with the July 31 edition at the Spa.
“It’s a great race despite being a Tier 2 stake,” said Jack Wolf, managing partner of Starlight Racing, co-owner of the Tier 1 winner and Amsterdam starter. pinehurst . “There are four or five stallions that came out of Amsterdam.”
The field of nine 3-year-olds for Sunday’s 6 1/2 stadia stakes includes not only three Grade 1 winners, but also a Grade 1 multiple ranked runner, and in the piece de resistance, the 2-year-old champion male of 2021 who will make his long-awaited debut as a second year.
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Speedway Stable is undefeated Cornice will start for the first time since capping his 2-year campaign with a 1 3/4 win over fellow Amsterdam starter papacap in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1).
A lot has changed for the son of Quality Road, winner of Amsterdam in 2009, since that victory on 5 November. Given time to develop at age 3, Corniche didn’t record his first timed workout until April 15 and missed out on the Triple Crown. Then, with original trainer Bob Baffert facing suspension at New York Racing Association tracks, the colt bred by Bart Evans and Stonehaven Steadings was sent to trainer Todd Pletcher for a New York campaign. which begins on Sunday.
“There are no weak points to land with a horse like him who has already won three races, so hopefully he will be ready enough for a good performance here. We didn’t want to race him in a race like the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) or the Curlin Stakes after a nine-stage long layoff,” Pletcher said. “He’s been training well and I thought looking at his breezes, they’re consistent with what which I saw while watching videos of his breezes when he was with Baffert. He’s a solid workaholic, but also seems like he knows the difference between morning and afternoon.”
Pinehurst also started his career with Baffert and his connections faced a similar choice when they decided to race him on the East Coast, eventually sending him to trainer John Terranova II, also in New York, with intend to stay with him for future participation dates. .
With a line of overflow owners that also includes Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm, Pinehurst will make its first start since a tumultuous trip to the Middle East.
Winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) at 2 years old for Baffert, the son of Swirling Candy won the $1.5 million Al Rajhi Bank (G3) Saudi Derby, a one mile one lap at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. Then he traveled to Dubai for the UAE Derby sponsored by Mubadala (G2) at a distance of 1 3/16 miles and had a radically different experience. Wolf said Pinehurst lost interest in racing after getting a mass of dirt in the eyes and jockey Flavien Prat and essentially walking him under the wire in 16th.
“(Prat) gave him a break and didn’t finish on him. It was a debacle. I don’t think distance mattered,” Wolf said. “This race suits him perfectly. It won’t be an easy race but he seems to be training well. He had circumstances in the Dubai race that are in the past and it seems like the best place for him.”
While Pinehurst and Corniche will be racing in Saratoga for the first time – and incidentally making their East Coast debut – Winchell Thoroughbreds Gunite picked up his Grade 1 win at the Spa, a track well known for its racehorses.
“He did well on the track last year, so we’ll see. They don’t give you too much up there in Saratoga. You have to earn it,” said David Fiske, race director for Winchell Thoroughbreds.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, the landrace son of gun runner won the 2021 Hopeful Stakes (G1) by 5 1/4 lengths over seven furlongs, but after finishing fifth in the Champagne Stakes (G1) he developed a throat problem that sidelined him for eight month. He returned on 3 June with a second in an optional seven furlong allocation seeker at Churchill Downs, then captured the 3 July Maxfield Overnight Stakes, also at seven furlongs.
“He had a throat infection over the winter that was hard to get rid of, so we sent him to WinStar Farm and put him through hyperbolic chamber treatments and finally got rid of him.” , Fiske said. “Anytime you play with a horse’s throat you never know how he’ll come back, but so far he’s been running and training really well.”
Pletcher will also send Lawana and Robert Low my prankster while seeking a record fifth win in Amsterdam. The son of in mischief was second behind Gunite in the Maxfield.
Pappacap, the Rustlewood Farm Grade 2 winner, clinched his third runner-up in a Grade 1 stake last time out when he finished second, 10 lengths behind Jack Christopher in the Woody Stephens Stakes presented by Mohegan Sun (G1).
Coach Chad Brown will be represented by Klaravich Stables’ accretive a Prank call first winner who scored by 5 3/4 lengths in a first run on June 26 at Belmont Park.
Inputs: Amsterdam South (G2)
Saratoga Race, Sunday, July 31, 2022, Race 9
- Class II
- 6 1/2p
- 3 years
- 5:34 p.m. (local time)