Well-rated on the lead, State of Play turned back
Optimizer’s stretch bid to win Saratoga Race Course’s Grade 2,
$150,000 With Anticipation for 2-year-olds on Thursday.
State of Play
cleared up front, dictating fractions of 24.24, 49.78 and 1:14.64 before Optimzer
drew to the pacesetter’s throatlatch with a furlong to travel. Given
left-handed encouragement by Ramon Dominguez, State of Play brushed off that challenge to prevail
by a half-length.
The final time for 1 1/16 miles over the firm Mellon turf course was
The With Anticipation was State of Play’s first start around two turns,
having come from just off the pace to win a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint on July 27
at the Spa.
“He just came back to me so great,” said Dominguez.
“[He was] super relaxed. Coming off a 5 ½-[furlong] race, and as quick as
we went last time, I couldn’t imagine in his second race for him to be
Owned by Team Valor International, State of Play returned $8 for a $2 win wager as the
3-1 second choice, with the $90,000 winner’s share of the purse
quadrupling his earnings to $120,000.
“The only concern coming off a sprint was whether he was going to
relax,” said Adrian Rolls, assistant to trainer Graham Motion, who teamed
up with Team Valor to win the following race with Get A Grip. “There was
no speed in the race, but Ramon did a really good job. He was really happy
[with the horse]. He said as soon as he got out in front he just switched off
and slowed it down perfectly.”
With the victory, State of Play
receives a guaranteed berth into the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
on November 5 at Churchill Downs. Team Valor won last year’s
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Pluck.
“The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf would probably be the next
step for State of Play,”
said Brad Weisbord, COO for Team Valor International. “Let’s hope
he comes out OK. For exactly what’s next, we’ll leave that up to
Graham and his team. They did a wonderful job with this horse, getting him to
stretch out from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.”
State of Play
will attempt to emulate Nownownow, who won the 2007 With Anticipation before
going on to capture the inaugural Juvenile Turf. The 2008 and 2010 With
Anticipation victors placed in the Juvenile Turf, with Interactif and Soldat
respectively finishing third and second.
Dullahan was third, followed home by Knock Rock, Splendiferous, favored
Captain Webb, Fox Rules, Sportswriter, and Two Months Rent.