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Breeders' Cup 2017

Flying Zee Well Represented in Bongard

Flying Zee Stables looks to be well represented in both Showcase Day juvenile races with Western Tryst, Night Maneuver, Goodtime Boy and The Prize Fighter entered in the $100,000 Bertram F. Bongard, and Harbor Mist to the $100,000 Joseph A. Gimma in Memory of Fleet Indian.

Trainer Phil Serpe will saddle The Prize Fighter and Western Tryst in the seven-furlong Bongard, while Carlos Martin has Night Maneuver and Goodtime Boy for the stable. The race has drawn 13, including the Flying Zee entry.

The Prize Fighter exits a third-place effort in the six-furlong Gold and Roses Stakes at Saratoga on September 2 which followed a courageous maiden victory going 5 ½ furlongs on August 13.

"He sat back off a modest pace [in the Gold and Roses] and I think that may have cost him a little at the end," said Serpe. "Considering it was his first start off his maiden win, I thought it was a very good effort."

The Pure Prize colt blew out three furlongs in 36.27 over the training track at Belmont Wednesday morning. On Saturday, he will have the services of Jose Lezcano from post position 11 in the four-part Flying Zee entry, favored at 2-1.

Western Tryst returns to dirt in the Bongard after breaking his maiden on turf last time out on September 22 at Belmont. He made two starts in Saratoga, finishing fifth in a 5 ½-furlong maiden contest on the main track on August 6, then running third in his second outing, 1 1/16 miles on the turf on August 20.

"He's been breezing on the dirt and he's really, really working well," said Serpe. "The way these races come up, we're taking a little shot, but it's not without some thought. We were happy he won on the turf, and we're happy to give him another chance on the dirt."

A gelded son of Western Expression, Western Tryst will leave from the rail with Ramon Dominguez aboard.

Night Maneuver and stablemate Goodtime Boy both exit the same starter allowance/optional claimer at Belmont Park on October 5. Night Maneuver slipped up the rail to win by a half-length, while Goodtime Boy tired to finish fifth.

"It was a starter allowance, but it was a nice race, the way he showed courage to come up the rail," Martin said of Night Maneuver. "He had nowhere to go, and [apprentice jockey Ryan Curatolo] showed courage to stay with it. The horse seems to handle everything. He's very professional for a 2-year-old. He never showed much at all until he won at Saratoga. We thought, 'He doesn't look like he's much horse. He's going to need to do some racing to get his act together.' He surprised us the first time, and after that he's just been training better and better."

Curatolo has the return call from post 6 aboard Night Maneuver while Goodtime Boy has the services of Jose Espinoza from post 7.

In the seven-furlong Joseph A. Gimma in memory of Fleet Indian, Flying Zee's Harbor Mist will face 10 other fillies including Wildcat Smile, winner of the New York Breeders' Futurity against males on October 1 at Finger Lakes.

Harbor Mist returns to the state-bred ranks off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Frizette behind undefeated My Miss Aurelia.

"It was a small field and from our perspective to finish 1-2-3 in that race would have been beneficial later on from a breeding standpoint," said Serpe. "The next step would be to go back against state-breds and I think she'll be a lot tougher in here. She ran great in Saratoga - two wins and a second - and we're looking forward to her rebounding and running big on Saturday."

Runner-up in her maiden outing, the daughter of Rockport Harbor was a 4 ½-length winner in her second start on August 21 en route to a convincing 2 ¾-length score in the Ann Clare Stakes on September 1. On Saturday, Ryan Curatolo will ride Harbor Mist, 6-1, from post position 9.

The Gimma will also feature a rematch between Shot Gun Pennie and Wildcat's Smile, who finished 1-2 in the Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes on September 5.

In that meeting, Blue Devil Racing Stable's Shot Gun Pennie set the pace and held off Francis J. Paolangeli's Wildcat's Smile by 1 ¼ lengths. Shot Gun Pennie hasn't raced following that effort, with Wildcat's Smile having returned to defeat males in the New York Breeders' Futurity.

"We were going to go against the colts [with Shot Gun Pennie in the New York Breeders' Futurity], but we thought the race came up too tough," said trainer Carlos Martin. "[Wildcat's Smile] came back and won that race against the colts. I was kind of kicking myself after the race. Who knows? [Wildcat's Smile] was able to sit [in the Breeders' Futurity]. We went wire-to-wire the day we beat her."

Wildcat's Smile was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Gimma and will leave from post 3 under Javier Castellano. Shot Gun Pennie - 9-2 on the morning line and leaving from post 4 -gets the services of Rajiv Maragh.


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