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Sanagas, Grassy Featured in Bowling Green

Sanagas may find himself in the perfect spot to notch his first graded stakes win as he faces six other turf males in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap, the opening-day feature of Belmont Park’s 37-day fall meet.


The German-bred gelding came from far back to win the 1 5/8-mile John’s Call at Saratoga Race Course on August 5, his second start in the United States. Winner of four of his five starts in Germany, Sanagas finished seventh in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in his American debut on July 9, his lone off-the-board effort.


“It seems to be a logical progression from an overnight stakes to a graded stakes without getting too carried away,” said Motion, who trains Sanagas for Andreas Jacobs. “He’s had one nice work on the grass since the John’s Call. He’s a horse with a lot of potential, but he’s a quirky horse to ride. In first race, he lugged in through the stretch and we put an extension blinker on him; then in the last race he lugged out. It’s a bit confusing, but he hasn’t run that much for an older horse.”


Rajiv Maragh is back aboard Sanagas, who drew post position 3 as the 2-1 favorite in the 1 3/8-mile turf race.


Also returning from the John’s Call are runner-up Center Divider, 5-1; third-place finisher Bold Hawk, 10-1, and Kindergarden Kid, who was fifth and is listed at 10-1 on the Bowling Green morning line.


The 7-year-old Bold Hawk, who resumed his racing career last fall after a three-year absence, will be outfitted with blinkers in the Bowling Green as he makes his fifth start of 2011.


“He’s still learning so we’re trying to keep him from ducking all over the place,” said trainer Jimmy Toner of Bold Hawk, who in 2011 has finished off the board in the Grade 1 United Nations, the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan, and the Three Coins Up turf overnight stakes. “He’s trained twice in blinkers, and last time he seemed to handle it pretty well. In the John’s Call, I don’t think he would have gotten to the winner, but I think had he been more focused he would have held on for second.”


Jose Espinoza will ride Bold Hawk from post position 4.


High weight at 117 pounds is 2010’s Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap winner Grassy, one of two Bowling Green entrants saddled by Christophe Clement. Most recently fourth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine on August 21, Grassy is seeking his first victory of 2011, having finished second in both the Grade 3 Singspiel on June 26, also at Woodbine, and the Three Coins Up over a yielding course at Belmont on May 22.


“He may have been a little unfit the last time,” said Clement of Grassy. “But he is training well, and he likes yielding turf.”


Garrett Gomez comes in to ride Grassy, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, from the outside.


Clement also sends out Sal the Barber, winner of the 2010 Three Coins Up who was most recently sixth in the Grade 3 Monmouth on June 12.


“It’s a little ambitious, but again, he is training well,” said Clement, who will give a leg up to Cornelio Velasquez, named to ride the 8-1 morning-line choice from post position 2.


Making his stakes debut and completing the field for the Bowling Green is the Bill Mott-trained Colonialism. The 4-year-old has been no worse than third since breaking his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs last December, and enters the race off a nearly last-to-first victory in an optional claimer at Saratoga on August 10.


“It’s a step up,” said Mott. “His last race was very good, but they always have to prove themselves.”


Eddie Castro rides Colonialism, 6-1 on the morning line, from post 5.


The field for the Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap:








Kindergarden Kid (KY)

A Garcia


B Tagg



Sal the Barber (KY)

C H Velasquez


C Clement



Sanagas (GER)

R Maragh


H G Motion



Bold Hawk (KY)

J L Espinoza


J J Toner



Colonialism (KY)

E Castro


W I Mott



Center Divider (KY)

J Castellano


C C Brown



Grassy (KY)

G K Gomez


C Clement





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