From NYRA Release
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Of all the qualities Backtalk displayed in his rousing victory in Thursday’s 95th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, the one that impressed trainer Tom Amoss the most was his sheer determination.
“I think the ability to come from that far off the pace on a day like today when it looked, to me, as the day went on that speed was a good commodity (and) the wide trip he had … I think those things were very exciting,” said Amoss, who trains the undefeated 2-year-old son of Smarty Jones, out of the Affirmed mare Apasionata Sonata, for GoldMark Farm. “And, I would say, a will to win.”
Patiently ridden by Miguel Mena, Backtalk was reserved well off early fractions of 21.99 and 44.96 set by the dueling Soundman and Activity Report, then moved up on the turn to launch a six-wide bid, charging hard down the middle of the stretch to outkick the late-running Enumerate and win by a neck.
His time for the six furlongs was 1:10.07 over the fast track.
“I knew the pace was going to be fast and they had to come back,” said Mena, in his first season at the Spa. “I was a little nervous because this is my first meet at Saratoga, but I got a great horse with a bright future … he never quit. He fought through the end.”
Enumerate was another neck in front of stablemate Louisvilleluminary, who had taken the lead in midstretch, and who was in turn followed by Nacho Friend, Bulls and Bears, Bricklayer, Activity Report, Interactif, and Soundman.
“They ran well,” said Steve Asmussen of the second- and third-place finishers. “Julien (Leparoux, on Louisvilleluminary) thought he may have hesitated when he made the lead, but they were second and third to a nice horse. Enumerate had to wait a bit at the head of the stretch, but he was even terms with Backtalk.”
Purchased for $250,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sales, the Florida-bred Backtalk broke his maiden at Churchill Downs on June 11 and came right back to take the Grade 3 Bashford Manor on July 3. The Bashford Manor victory gave Smarty Jones, the 2004 winner of the Kentucky Derby, his first U.S. graded stakes victory as a sire.
“I’m very excited,” added Amoss. “These don’t come around in my barn often.”
Sent off as the 3-2 favorite by the crowd of 15,746, Backtalk returned for a $5 for a $2 win bet and earned $90,000, boosting his bankroll to $180,095. As for the chestnut colt’s next start, Amoss said he would sit down and discuss it with GoldMark Farm owner Paul Buhlman and farm manager Todd Quast.
“This team, they’re pretty knowledgeable, so I’ll get together with Todd and Paul and we’ll decide from there,” said Amoss.