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Rose Junction 5-2 Sanford Favorite

Saratoga Race Course 2012 logo
Photo: NYRA
Todd Pletcher, eight times the leading trainer at Saratoga Race Course, always links his success at the meet to the performance of his 2-year-olds. Among his promising juveniles this year are Rose Junction and Onetwentyeight, who make their stakes debuts in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Sanford.


Both Rose Junction, owned by Starlight Racing, and Mike Repole’s Onetwentyeight were maiden winners at Belmont Park, making them eligible for The New York Racing Association’s new $100,000 juvenile bonus, awarded to any 2-year-old maiden winner at Belmont Park or Aqueduct that goes on to win a graded stakes at NYRA track in 2012.


Rose Junction earned an 88 Beyer Speed Figure for his three-length victory on June 8, having run the five furlongs in 57.17 seconds. The Dixie Union colt was a $310,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland sales in September.


Onetwentyeight, a half-brother to multiple-graded-stakes winner Tackleberry, was bought for $150,000 in March at the OBS Select Sale of Two-Year-Olds. Like his stablemate, Onetwentyeight was a front-running winner of his debut as he scored by five lengths in 1:04.33 for the 5 ½ furlongs on June 28.


“They’re both in the same position as they broke their maidens in their first start at Belmont,” said Pletcher, a five-time winner of the Sanford including last year’s edition with Overdriven. “We’ll see where they fit. We would like to collect the bonus.”


With Javier Castellano aboard, Rose Junction drew post position 5 and was tabbed the 5-2 favorite on the morning line. Onetwentyeight, 8-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh from post position 8.


Co-second choice on the morning line are Handsome Jack, who earned a 90 Beyer in finishing second to Shanghai Bobby in the Track Barron overnight stakes at Belmont on June 27, and Bern Identity, a second-out maiden winner at Belmont on June 1.


Handsome Jack, a Mineshaft homebred owned and trained by Wesley Ward, was fifth in his debut over Keeneland’s artificial surface in April and broke his maiden going 4 ½ furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 10.


Bern Identity, who fetched $75,000 at the Keeneland yearling sales in September, earned an 86 Beyer for his 13 ¾-length victory, accomplished in 57.55. He is also eligible for the NYRA juvenile graded stakes bonus.


Having drawn the rail, Handsome Jack will be ridden by Joel Rosario, while Bern Identity gets the services of Rosie Napravnik from post position 3.


One of the more experienced colts in the Sanford is John Gordon, who will be making his fourth career start Sunday. The Orientate colt was second in his first two starts at Churchill Downs this spring and came from just off the pace to break his maiden going five furlongs there on June 22.


“He’s well seasoned for a 2-year-old,” said Dale Romans, who trains John Gordon for his breeder, Mike Tarp. “I think having a couple of races under his belt gives him a little edge. He’s doing well, so we’re going to run him.”


Alan Garcia will ride John Gordon, 12-1 on the morning line, from the outside.


Completing the field are Brave Dave, who led every step in his debut at Calder Race Course on June 30, and Special Jo, Hightail, and Good Tickled, third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor on June 30.


The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Sanford:









Handsome Jack (FL)

J Rosario


W A Ward



Brave Dave (FL)

P Lopez


E Plesa, Jr.



Bern Identity (KY)

R Napravnik


K J Breen



Hightail (KY)

E S Prado


D W Lukas



Rose Junction (KY)

J Castellano


T A Pletcher



Special Jo (KY)

J R Leparoux


S M Asmussen



Good Tickled (KY)

R A Dominguez


D Miller



Onetwentyeight (FL)

R Maragh


T A Pletcher



John Gordon (KY)

A Garcia


D L Romans






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