The summer juvenile colt division will get underway at Saratoga Race Course afternoon as a field of 11 lines up for the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford Stakes, led by Grade 3 winner He's Comin in Hot, and Tremont Stakes one-two finishers, Cocked and Loaded and Paynes Prairie.
The most experienced of the group, Cocked and Loaded will be making his fifth career start and first since notching a 3 ¾-length victory in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs. The Texas-bred son of Early Flyer has been in the money in each of his previous starts but, according to trainer Bret Calhoun, it took the gelding a little time to put it all together.
"In his first race, he broke just ok and then sat back and really didn't get in the race until the last eighth of a mile," said Calhoun. "He was very green. I thought he would blow to the front and go on that day. I had really expected him to be professional in his first race because he had been so professional in the morning. In his second race, he ran well but still not like I had expected. It took him two races [to come around]. Since that time though, he hasn't done anything wrong."
He's Comin in Hot will break from post 6 with Joel Rosario.
Richard Ravin and Patricia's Hope LLC's Cocked and Loaded will look to extend his win streak to three in the Sanford, following a one-length maiden victory this spring at Keeneland and a late-closing, half-length score over Paynes Prairie in his stakes debut in the $250,000 Tremont on at Belmont Park.
Trained by Larry Rivelli following his maiden win, Cocked and Loaded will break from post 8 under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Norma McKathan's Paynes Prairie followed up his second-place finish in the Tremont with a maiden win on July 4 at Belmont, where he outdueled two other rivals to prevail by 3 ½ lengths.
"He's a very old soul," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "He came into the barn a very mature, very confident horse. He's taken his races extremely well. He's had two breezes over the track here at Saratoga since the race at Belmont. I'm kind of excited about ."
The Florida-bred Tale of Ekati colt will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 7.
Rounding out the field for the six-furlong Sanford, going off as race 9 on the 11-race card, are: Awesome Slew for Eddie Plesa, Save the Drama for Kevin Rice, John Q. Public for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Magna Light for Rudy Rodriguez, Sunny Ridge for Jason Servis, Twirling Cinnamon for Brad Cox, Percolator for John Servis and Uncle Vinny.
Source: NYRA Communications