Combatant sticks to turf in Saratoga's Better Talk Now Stakes

Press Release
August 26, 2018 11:16am
Combatant sticks to turf in Saratoga's Better Talk Now Stakes
Photo: Coady Photography
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing's Combatant will look to capitalize on class relief in headlining the $100,000 Better Talk Now for 3-year-olds Monday on Saratoga's inner turf.

Combatant, fifth in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame on August 3 at the Spa in just his second turf start, will be cutting back from 1 1/16 miles to one mile, where he ran second in the Smarty Jones on January 15 at Oaklawn Park and in the Remington Springboard Mile on December 17 on the main track.

The Scat Daddy colt, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, is looking to post his first win since breaking his maiden at second asking in October. Combatant made headway on the Kentucky Derby trail, finishing second in the Grade 3 Southwest on February 19 before running third in the Grade 3 Rebel on March 17 at Oaklawn. After a wide-running 18th place finish in the Run for the Roses on May 5, Combatant has posted back-to-back fifth-place efforts in graded stakes.

Ricardo Santana, Jr., who has been aboard for all of his races since his maiden-breaking win, will have the return call from post 3.

Strike Power has graded stakes black type, winning the Grade 3 Swale to commence his 3-year-old campaign on February 3 before running second to Promises Fulfilled in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 3, both at Gulfstream Park. The Mark Hennig trainee was the pacesetter in the Grade 3 Amsterdam on July 28 at Saratoga before tiring late.

The son of Speightstown will be making his turf debut, drawing the rail with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons.

Bill Mott will saddle a pair of European imports looking to rebound from disappointing graded stakes finishes, with Westerland running eighth in the Hall of Fame and Irish Territory finishing last of five in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge on June 2 at Belmont Park.

Westerland had two wins and three runner-up efforts in his native Great Britain before arriving in North America, where he ran third in the Manila on July 4 at Belmont at the Better Talk Now distance. The Frankel colt drew post 9 with Manny Franco riding.

Irish Territory returns to the track where she ran second in her stakes debut last year, rallying to finish just one length behind Catholic Boy in the 2017 Grade 3 With Anticipation. After breaking his maiden on May 5 at Churchill, the son of Declaration of War returned to stakes competition two months ago and will look to improve on that effort, leaving post 8 in tandem with Junior Alvarado.

Rose's Vision, second in the Toronto Cup on July 28 at Woodbine, will make his first appearance at the Spa for trainer Stuart Simon, exiting post 5 with Jose Ortiz.

Have At It, third in the Hall of Fame, will make her second start of the summer meet for trainer Christophe Clement. Jockey Luis Saez rides from post 7.

Rounding out the field are three colts making their stakes debuts with Ceevee from post 2; Corot from post 6; and Prioritize from the outside post 10. Roaming Union is entered for the main track only.


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