Recent Maiden Winners Meet in With Anticipation
August 25, 2014 09:44am
A quintet of recent local maiden winners will return to Saratoga Race Course for their stakes debut in Thursday's Grade 2, $200,000 With Anticipation for 2-year-olds on the Mellon turf course.


Trainers H. Graham Motion and Todd Pletcher will each send out a pair of horses in the 10th running of the 1 1/16-mile turf test, which drew a field of nine, including one main-track-only entrant. All but three are trying stakes company for the first time.


Motion will saddle both Hot Tin Roof and Strong Coffee in the With Anticipation, a race he won in 2011 with State of Play.


"You kind of have to, really. You don't have a lot of options," Motion said of the class jump. "It seemed fairly logical to stay here and point for this race. The timing was good, and there was no real reason not to."


A bay More Than Ready colt owned by Stonestreet Stable, Hot Tin Roof captured his debut by 1 ½ lengths on the all-weather surface July 30 at Presque Isle Downs but on Thursday will be stretching out from six furlongs.


Strong Coffee was impressive in his unveiling on August 2 at Saratoga, drawing off to win by three lengths on the same course and at the identical distance of the With Anticipation. His half-sister, Rusty Slipper, won the Grade 3 Violet on August 23 over the Monmouth Park turf.


"Certainly, he surprised me that he could win like that first time out," Motion said. "I thought he would run well; I didn't necessarily think he had to win, and certainly didn't expect him to win like that."


Motion had different plans for Strong Coffee when he first arrived at Saratoga.


"I actually brought him up here with the idea of running him on the dirt," he said. "I didn't think he handled the dirt up here that well when I worked him, so I took him over on the grass and he worked like a different horse. I have his half-sister, so it wasn't a surprise.


"The thing about this horse that's so neat is he just has this really remarkable attitude. He's just a very kind of cool, laid-back horse and takes everything very well, so that helps him."


Jockey Rajiv Maragh rides Hot Tin Roof from post 2, while Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Strong Coffee will depart from outside post 9.


Pletcher is a three-time winner of the With Anticipation, including last year with Bashart. He goes for his fourth with Designed for War, a maiden winner on August 9.


The Glencrest Farm homebred wired a field of 10 to win by 1 ¾ lengths under a hand ride from meet-leading jockey Javier Castellano. Pletcher isn't convinced the War Front colt needs to have the lead to be successful.


"He had a bit of a pace advantage that day and he was able to kind of get an easy lead, and was good enough to take advantage of it," Pletcher said. "It was just a result of the way the race unfolded, but we were pretty happy with the way he did it."


Designed for War had trained on both dirt and turf prior to his highly anticipated debut.


"He's a colt that showed promise all summer," Pletcher said. "We felt like, typical of some of the War Fronts that we've had, when we put him on the grass he showed some improvement. We thought he ran well."


Castellano gets a return call from post 6.


Pletcher also entered Blame Jim for the main track only.


Another horse with a win at the course and distance is Startup Nation, who scored by two lengths on August 7 for trainer Chad Brown, whose Balance the Books captured the 2012 With Anticipation.


"He ran terrific in his first start," said Brown. "He came out of the race well and he's trained well since. We're looking forward to trying him in a stakes race. We've always liked the horse. He was training well leading up to his debut and we expected him to run well. He's a beautiful horse. He's got good mechanics and a great attitude. He's what you're looking for in a 2-year-old."


Joel Rosario will ride Startup Nation from post 1.


Rounding out the field are Kutuzov and Nutty Futty, maiden winners at Gulfstream Park on August 2 and 16, respectively; Creaky Cricket, making his fourth start and third in a stakes for trainer Michael Dini; and International Star, a maiden winner on June 21 who ran second to Bustin It in the Rockville Centre Stakes on July 13, both at Belmont Park.


Source: NYRA



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