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Breeders' Cup 2017

With Anticipation: State Of Play All the Way

Well-rated on the lead, State of Play turned back Optimizer’s stretch bid to win Saratoga Race Course’s Grade 2, $150,000 With Anticipation for 2-year-olds on Thursday.

 

State of Play cleared up front, dictating fractions of 24.24, 49.78 and 1:14.64 before Optimzer drew to the pacesetter’s throatlatch with a furlong to travel. Given left-handed encouragement by Ramon Dominguez, State of Play brushed off that challenge to prevail by a half-length.

 

The final time for 1 1/16 miles over the firm Mellon turf course was 1:43.97.

 

The With Anticipation was State of Play’s first start around two turns, having come from just off the pace to win a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint on July 27 at the Spa.

 

“He just came back to me so great,” said Dominguez. “[He was] super relaxed. Coming off a 5 ½-[furlong] race, and as quick as we went last time, I couldn’t imagine in his second race for him to be that settled.”

 

Owned by Team Valor International, State of Play returned $8 for a $2 win wager as the 3-1 second choice, with the $90,000 winner’s share of the purse quadrupling his earnings to $120,000.

 

“The only concern coming off a sprint was whether he was going to relax,” said Adrian Rolls, assistant to trainer Graham Motion, who teamed up with Team Valor to win the following race with Get A Grip. “There was no speed in the race, but Ramon did a really good job. He was really happy [with the horse]. He said as soon as he got out in front he just switched off and slowed it down perfectly.”

 

With the victory, State of Play receives a guaranteed berth into the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 5 at Churchill Downs. Team Valor won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Pluck.

 

“The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf would probably be the next step for State of Play,” said Brad Weisbord, COO for Team Valor International. “Let’s hope he comes out OK. For exactly what’s next, we’ll leave that up to Graham and his team. They did a wonderful job with this horse, getting him to stretch out from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.”

 

State of Play will attempt to emulate Nownownow, who won the 2007 With Anticipation before going on to capture the inaugural Juvenile Turf. The 2008 and 2010 With Anticipation victors placed in the Juvenile Turf, with Interactif and Soldat respectively finishing third and second.

 

Dullahan was third, followed home by Knock Rock, Splendiferous, favored Captain Webb, Fox Rules, Sportswriter, and Two Months Rent.

 

 

 

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