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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Alex M. Robb Next for Saratoga Snacks

alg aqueduct
Photo: New York Daily News

The venerable Saratoga Snacks returns to New York-bred company on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack as he goes in search of his second straight victory in the $100,000 Alex M. Robb.

Trained by Gary Sciacca for NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells' August Dawn Farm, the 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat enters the 1 1/16-mile race off an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap, the first race of his career in which he failed to hit the board. Prior to the Cigar, he captured the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic and the seven-furlong Shy Groom this year, both run at Belmont Park around one turn, and also finished third in the John Morrissey at Saratoga Race Course.

"He came out of there banged up," said Sciacca of his colt exiting the Cigar Mile. "He went all the way down to his knees [at the break]. I think he would have made a race of it; he would have been right there if he was where he was supposed to be, instead of trailing the field in last."

Jose Ortiz will be back aboard Saratoga Snacks, the 4-5 favorite on the morning line. The pair will break from post position 8.

Inner-track aficionado Awesome Vision gets back to his favorite surface, and appears the main danger to Saratoga Snacks based on a sterling record of six wins in eight starts at the Big A. Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Tom Albertrani, the bay son of Awesome Again enters the race off a hard-fought victory in the one-mile Move It Now, run on the Aqueduct main track. Despite his commendable performance that day, Albertrani believes his colt is best suited to two-turn racing, particularly on the winterized inner dirt.

"He's been training really well and apparently likes the inner track at Aqueduct," said the trainer. "He looks like he's in good form and hopefully can continue his winning ways over there. He's definitely better at two turns."

Irad Ortiz, Jr. again takes the mount on Awesome Vision, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line who drew post position 1.

Commandante, who has flourished in the second half of his 3-year-old season for trainer Todd Pletcher, will attempt to carry his speed two turns for the first time in his career. Owned by Three Diamonds Farm, the Pletcher trainee has won two straight races at distances of seven furlongs and one mile, both at the Big A. Byron Hughes, assistant to Todd Pletcher, is very pleased with the way the speedy gelding is entering the race.

"He went a half in 50 4/5 seconds by himself [on Sunday]; he looked good," said Hughes. "He's a very good work horse, looks great, and has been eating everything."

The bay son of Frost Giant will break from post position 6 and be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez. He sits at 6-1 on the morning line.

Rounding out the field are West Hills Giant, who is cross-entered in the Traskwood on Friday; Bake Shop, winner of an optional claiming race in his most recent start; Zetterholm, who finished third behind Awesome Vision in the Move It Now; Moneyinyour Pocket, third-place finisher in the Empire Classic two starts ago; and Sound of Drums, trained by Chris Englehart.



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