Race of the Week 2017

Pocket Cowboys Seeks Rebound

Thursday’s $100,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank has drawn a solid and familiar field of 10 New York-bred turf runners to contest 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga Race Course.


Pocket Cowboys, runner-up in the 2010 West Point, will attempt to return to the winner’s circle after a lackluster effort in an optional claimer on the second day of the meet.


“That was really his first poor effort on turf,” owner, trainer and breeder Scott Schwartz said of the gelding’s sixth-place finish on July 28. “He was a little on the nervous side – it was hot, and it was his first time running up here since last year. He likes familiar surroundings and maybe he’s used to smaller crowds at Belmont, so he got a little agitated.”


After winning the one-mile Kingston for state-breds at Belmont on May 29, Pocket Cowboys was defeated a half-length in allowance company on June 10, and came up a nose short in the open Rob N Gin overnight stakes on July 7.


“He’s been very consistent,” Schwartz observed. “He’s doing well and hopefully he’ll be back to his old self. When money is on the line, that’s when he shows his best. You can beat him in an allowance, but he’ll come back and beat you in a stake.”


Regular rider Edgar Prado has the call aboard the 5-year-old son of Wild Event, who will leave from post position 8 at 6-1 on the morning line.


Also revisiting the state-bred ranks after three consecutive starts in open company is Straight Story, winner of Belmont’s Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May 7 for owner Richard Santulli and trainer Alan Goldberg. Following the Fort Marcy, the 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway was sixth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap on June 11, also at Belmont, and seventh in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 31.


Ramon Dominguez will ride Straight Story, also 6-1, from post position 9 as the horse goes for his second consecutive West Point win.


Already a winner at this meet is Icabad Crane, victorious in a sloppy renewal of the Evan Shipman Stakes on July 25. The 6-year-old Jump Start gelding has not raced on turf since finishing third behind Straight Story and Pocket Cowboys in this race last year.


“I wouldn’t mind if the race came off, but he ran well in here last year, so we thought we’d take a shot,” said H. Graham Motion, who trains Icabad Crane for Earle Mack. “He came out of his last race well and I sent him back to Fair Hill. He’s basically just galloped; we’re coming back quickly, so I don’t think he needs to do a whole lot in the morning.”


Icabad Crane, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, gets Rajiv Maragh and post position 10.


Attempting his third West Point victory is Banrock, who took the 2008 and 2009 editions of this race, but is winless in his last nine starts. Now 8 years old, Banrock has been a fixture in New York-bred turf stakes since 2007 and has won each of the major turf routes for state-breds at least once.


“Banrock is going to run well, I’m absolutely sure of it,” opined trainer Tom Bush. “I could have run him before now. He’s trained well and he’s been real enthusiastic up here. We’re going to get some rain, which we’ll take.”


Banrock, who has shown an affinity for give in the ground throughout his career, will have a new rider in the West Point as Saratoga’s leading jockey, John Velazquez, picks up the mount.


“Two horses broke off in front of him [when he worked] on Friday and it gave him something to work with, I think,” Bush said. “He went a minute and change, which is real fast for him. He usually doesn’t work like that, but the company really helped him and Johnny [Velazquez] was very pleased.”


Banrock drew post position 4 and was tabbed at 8-1 on the morning line.


Completing the field in the West Point, from the rail out, are Compliance Officer and Gimme Credit, an uncoupled entry from the barn of Bruce Brown; Karakorum Legend, who was supplemented to the race; Lubash, second in the Kingston; Writingonthewall, who is 4-for-4 on the turf at Saratoga; and Uncle T Seven. Ruffino, Slevin and Joe Corrigan may run if the West Point is moved to the main track.


The field for the $100,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank:








Compliance Officer (NY)

A O Solis


B R Brown



Gimme Credit (NY)

C H Velasquez


B R Brown



Karakorum Legend (NY)

D Cohen


L Rice



Banrock (NY)

J R Velazquez


T M Bush



Lubash (NY)

J Lezcano


J T Ryerson



Writingonthewall (NY)

E Castro


R L Stoklosa



Uncle T Seven (NY)

J R Leparoux


J C Kimmel



Pocket Cowboys (NY)

J Castellano


S M Schwartz



Straight Story (NY)

R A Dominguez


A E Goldberg



Icabad Crane (NY)

R Maragh


H G Motion


AE 11

Ruffino (NY) (MTO)

R A Dominguez


H J Bond


AE 12

Slevin (NY) (MTO)

J Castellano


R E Dutrow, Jr.


AE 13

Joe Corrigan (NY) (MTO)

A Lezcano


R A Ubillo




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