Mott Busy in Saratoga Stakes Races
August 14, 2014 11:26am

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will have live runners in four stakes during the next three days at Saratoga Race Course with Saratoga Snacks in the $100,000 John Morrissey on Friday, three fillies in the Grade 1 Alabama, Crown Queen in the Grade 2 Knob Creek Lake Placid on Saturday, and Amira's Prince in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational on Sunday.


The John Morrissey, a 6 ½-furlong race for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, will be Saratoga Snacks' first start for Mott. Previously, the ridgling, who is owned by NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells' August Dawn Farm, won three stakes, including last year's 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic Handicap, for Gary Sciacca. The 5-year-old is unraced since finishing second in the Whodam overnight stakes in January at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Saratoga Snacks is the 7-2 third choice on the morning line for the Morrissey, which also attracted Evan Shipman Stakes runner-up Big Business (5-2), stakes winner and Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship fourth-place finisher Moonlight Song (3-1), and three-time stakes winner and recent allowance victor Weekend Hideaway (6-1).


"His previous form shows he can compete at that level [of the Morrissey]," said Mott. "I don't think the [quality of competition] is the issue. I don't think there's a question of class. It's just a question of if he can run well run well enough off the layoff."


Saratoga Snacks has won stakes sprinting and routing, but Mott doesn't know what type of races he'll focus on following the Morrissey.


"I really haven't thought about it because he seems to be a horse who can do about everything," said Mott. "He's proven he can run well at a mile and an eighth and he can sprint. The fact this is his first race back, it makes sense to run him in the shorter race now."


Mott entered three fillies in the 1 ¼-mile Alabama for 3-year-old fillies, topped by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's Size, the 5-1 morning-line third choice. 


Size enters the Alabama off a 1 ¼-length victory in her route debut, the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Iowa Oaks on June 28 at Prairie Meadows. Mott also has Miss Besilu (15-1) and America (15-1), third and fourth, respectively, in the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20 at Saratoga. Miss Besilu is a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, graded stakes winners Congressionalhonor and Quiet Giant, and stakes winner Dance Quietly.


"We've been looking forward to 10 furlongs for America for quite some time," said Mott. "The other fillies have been running good. Miss Besilu was third last time. Size is coming off a win. She's very game. She keeps coming, keeps coming. Whether she'll keep coming at 10 furlongs, we just have to wait and see. She has a lot of natural speed. She's come a long way in a short period of time, and there are not a lot of straight 3-year-old races left with this importance. We decided to give her an opportunity right now. She was entered last week in the Monmouth Oaks, but we just felt it was probably better to wait."


Crown Queen, a half-sister to three-time champion Royal Delta, will represent Mott in the 1 1/8-mile Knob Creek Lake Placid for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. She has won two straight, including a four-length score in an entry-level allowance on July 20 at the Spa. Like Miss Besilu, Crown Queen is owned by Benjamin Leon.


"Her last two races were good enough to jump up [into graded stakes competition]," said Mott. "This is a big jump up because there are some really nice fillies in there. We could have run in a restricted stakes at a mile, but [based off her most recent start] the distance would be satisfactory going at a mile and an eighth."



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