In the 13 years since City Zip swept Saratoga Race Course's trio of
open graded juvenile dirt stakes - the Grade 2 Sanford, Grade 2 Saratoga
Special and Grade 1 Hopeful - there hasn't been one horse to as much as
compete in all three races.
streak will end on Monday, when Wired Bryan takes on nine challengers,
including a triple threat from meet-leading trainer Todd Pletcher, in
the 109th renewal of the $300,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds going seven furlongs.
as the ninth of 10 races, the Hopeful and Grade 3, $150,000 Glens Falls
highlight the Closing Day program as Saratoga wraps up its 150th anniversary meet.
by former Pletcher assistant Michael Dilger for Anstu Stables, Wired
Bryan broke his maiden at Belmont Park on June 19 and rolled to a 5
¼-length victory in the Sanford on July 21, Dilger's first starter at
brought Wired Bryan back in the Saratoga Special on August 11, dueling
with fellow Hopeful contender Corfu around the track before falling a
nose short at the wire.
got a lot of try," Dilger said. "I think his biggest asset is his
attitude. He's a very laid-back horse, borderline lazy. That helps when
you're trying to put together three races in quick succession. We're
running him in these races because that's the way he's presented
himself. He shows that he's able to handle it. Hopefully, he'll be able
to handle the next one."
Shaun Bridgmohan, aboard in the Sanford, will ride Wired Bryan, second choice at 7-2 on the morning line, from post 8.
has presented himself as a very straightforward horse," Dilger said.
"He's had no hiccups along the way and, touch wood, he's been a very,
very sound horse. The fact that he's talented, we can't train that."
has won the Hopeful twice, including last year with eventual Champion
Two-Year-Old Male Shanghai Bobby. He returns this year with Corfu and
maiden winners All in Blue and King Cyrus.
a bay son of Malibu Moon, won his debut on July 25 at Saratoga, and
came back 17 days later to take the Saratoga Special, both in
front-running style. The 3-1 program favorite, he will leave from post 4
in the Hopeful with his regular rider, Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
pretty fast, and speed is his weapon, so we'll look to continue to take
advantage of that," Pletcher said. "In both of his races he's shown
he's got some fight to him, so we hope that he'll be able to carry his
speed a little further."
maiden winner in July at Belmont, All in Blue stumbled at the break and
came wide into the stretch to finish fourth in the Sanford. Irad Ortiz,
Jr. will be aboard the More Than Ready colt, owned by Starlight Racing
and listed at 15-1 on the morning line.
back on short rest and stumbling at the start I think compromised his
chances in the Sanford," said Pletcher. "He's trained well since then,
and we feel like he deserves another chance."
by WinStar Farms, King Cyrus turned heads with an 11-length romp in his
unveiling on August 5 at the Spa at the Sanford distance. He is the
only horse in the field to have run beyond 6 ½ furlongs.
one start was impressive," Pletcher said. "He's a horse that is going
to appreciate more distance down the road, but in a race that looks like
it's going to have a lot of pace, it could set up well for him. You're
always concerned going from one start to a Grade 1, but that's sort of
where today's racing is. You're forced to jump into the deep end of the
pool right off the bat."
Meet-leading rider Javier Castellano gets a return call on King Cyrus, 10-1, from the outside post 10.
Steve Asmussen takes aim at his first Hopeful victory with both Big
Sugar Soda and Southern Blessing. Big Sugar Soda is coming off a Spa
maiden victory on July 22 where he posted a 94 Beyer Speed Figure, tops
in the field. Southern Blessing won first time out in May at Churchill
Downs, and returned to finish second to Wired Bryan in the Sanford.
of Famer Mike Smith will ride Big Sugar Soda, 4-1, from post 6, while
Rosie Napravnik has the mount on Southern Blessing, 20-1, from post 1.
in the Hopeful are Casiguapo, an 11-length maiden winner on July 20 at
Calder Race Course; Long On Value, unbeaten in three starts and making
his debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; Lunarwarfare, beaten less
than two lengths while fourth in the Saratoga Special; and Strong
Mandate, who graduated with a 4 ½-length victory on August 17 at the Spa
with a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.