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Sunday, July 21, 2024

5 Key Takeaways From Saratoga’s Opening Weekend

Tom Pedulla presents 5 key takeaways from a gap weekend of the Saratoga Race Course meet that was highlighted by the $500,000 Diana Stakes on Saturday, the primary Grade 1 of the 40-day Saratoga meet.

ON THE BEAM: Coach Chad Brown thought Juddmonte homebred Whitebeam was of Grade 1 high quality virtually from the minute she entered his barn. Now, he’s positive of it. In her third begin since being transferred to him by Juddmonte Normal Supervisor Garrett O’Rourke, the 4-year-old daughter of Caravaggio secured her first Grade 1 triumph with a taut nostril victory for jockey Flavien Prat towards stylish stablemate In Italian. “The primary time I breezed her, I referred to as Garrett O’Rourke in Kentucky and I simply thanked him repeatedly for sending me the horse. The primary work was Grade 1 potential,” Brown famous. The $750,000 First Girl Stakes on Oct. 7 at Keeneland could also be subsequent for each Whitebeam and In Italian.

DOMINATION: How skillful is Brown with older turf fillies and mares? Whitebeam allowed him to increase his file together with his eighth Diana triumph. He has swept seven of the final eight editions of the 1 1/8-mile race, delivering with Dacita (2016), Girl Eli (2017), Sistercharlie (2018-’19), Speeding Fall (2020), and In Italian (2022) forward of Whitebeam. Zagora began all of it in 2011. “It’s a really large a part of our annual schedule,” Brown mentioned. “We circle this race early on and thru the years I’ve had so many good fillies despatched to me and my crew from throughout. Actually, my crew deserves all the credit score for creating these horses.”

WHITNEY-BOUND: Cody’s Want, ranked atop the weekly Nationwide Thoroughbred Racing Affiliation ballot, remained heading in the right direction for the $1 million Whitney Stakes on Aug. 5 after working 5 furlongs in 1:00 flat on Saturday on Saratoga’s Oklahoma coaching observe. Cody’s Want owns 9 victories in 13 lifetime begins and is driving a six-race profitable streak. The 1 1/8-mile Whitney would signify the primary victory past a mile for the latest Met Mile victor. “We’re unsure concerning the 9 furlongs, however we’re going to stay optimistic,” Corridor of Fame coach Invoice Mott mentioned. “Till they do it, you by no means know. Perhaps now that he’s extra mature than he was early on, perhaps he’ll do it. He’s extra seasoned.”

AUSPICIOUS DEBUT: Corridor of Fame coach Todd Pletcher has been touting 2-year-old Pirate … with good motive. The Omaha Seaside colt, a half-brother to 2023 Preakness winner Nationwide Treasure, rolled to a front-running three-length debut victory in Saratoga’s first race on Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. He accomplished 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.89 after breaking from the rail. “He bought away alertly, however they put numerous strain on him early,” Pletcher famous. “I assumed it was an excellent efficiency and really skilled, like he is been since we bought him.” Pirate is into account for the $300,000 Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 4 at Saratoga for his subsequent doable begin.

SHOT AT REDEMPTION: Moist Paint appeared as if she is likely to be on the prime of the category of 3-year-old fillies when she rattled off three consecutive stakes victories to open this season at Oaklawn Park. However then she may do no higher than fourth within the Longines Kentucky Oaks and needed to accept second within the June 17 Monomoy Lady Stakes at Ellis Park. Coach Brad Cox is optimistic she will be able to rebound within the $500,000 Teaching Membership American Oaks subsequent Saturday at Saratoga after she labored 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 on the Oklahoma coaching observe one week forward of the race. “She was eager to do it. I liked what I noticed from her,” Cox mentioned. “She’s arrange for an enormous run subsequent week.”

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