Posted: 8/5/2012 6:14:22 AM
"Vanderbilt Handicap Preview"
(Post Time: 5:56 p.m. ET) Surface: Dirt,
6 Furlongs, Open, 3 Year Olds And Up, G1 STAKES, Purse: $400,000
The Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap is the premier race for sprinters at
Saratoga. The $400k six furlong race has attracted a field of eight
horses this year. Notable winners include Speightstown, Pomeroy, War
Front, Fabulous Strike and Majesticperfection.
SHACKLEFORD (Forestry x Oatsee by Unbridled) : Last year’s Preakness
Stakes winner looked to be finished, but has found new life in one turn
races. Trainer Dale Romans turned him back in the Carter Handicap where
he finished third. After that he put in a gutsy performance to beat
Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Amazombie in the Churchill Downs Stakes.
While those were both strong efforts, it was his try in the Met Mile
that left jaws on the floor. John Velazquez, riding for the injured
Jesus Castanon, shot right to the lead and never looked back. He held on
for a nose victory over Caleb’s Posse while stopping the clock in
1:33.30. It was likely the best effort of his life. He might be
vulnerable on the turn back to six furlongs, but it will take a
monstrous effort to defeat him. Johnny V will keep the mount.
EMCEE (Unbridled’s Song x Surf Club by Ocean Crest) : Incredibly
talented individual won his first two races by a combined 10 ½ lengths.
After that, he finished third beaten a length in the Toboggan after a
bad start. He was last seen scoring an easy optional claiming win at
Belmont. It was a good prep for this event. Look for Alan Garcia to set
up shop right behind the favorite. Kiaran McLaughlin is the trainer.
JUSTIN PHILLIP (First Samurai x Avaknowsthecode by Cryptoclearance) :
Not a bad price for a colt that is Grade 1 placed over this track. He
put in a bang up effort to lose by just ¾ lengths in the True North
Stakes two races back. He looked home free in the stretch, but Caixa
Eletronica came with a furious rally. His record of 6-2-1-1 at the
distance isn’t bad and leading rider Ramon Dominguez keeps the mount.
There are worse bets than this one. Steve Asmussen is the trainer.
ROTHKO (Arch x Raspberry Eggcream by Time for a Change) : We knew this
was a good colt when he finished second in the Malibu Stakes last year.
He finally got his first stakes win when he took the Aristides two back.
That effort was followed up with a second in the Iowa Sprint Handicap
where he was a prohibitive favorite. If they go too fast he could
benefit, but it’s going to take a career best effort to reach the
winner’s circle. Steve Asmussen trains and Julien Leparoux will ride.
POSEIDON’S WARRIOR (Speightstown x Poised to Pounce by Smarten) : There
are a lot of things to like about this long shot. First, he has the back
form to win this race. Second, he is racing third start of his form
cycle. Third, he could outhustle the favorite for the early lead. If he
does that and comes ready to run he is capable of springing a shocking
upset. Irad Ortiz rides for trainer Robert Reid.
SLOANE RANGER (Parker’s Storm Cat x Toppenish by You and I) : Gelding
has improved leaps and bounds in his last few starts. A change of
tactics is probably responsible because when his riders started getting
him on or near the lead, he started winning more races. This is a salty
group and he’s got a puncher’s chance, but he will need the best race of
his life to win. Jose Lezcano rides for trainer Martin Ciresa.
JERSEY TOWN (Speightstown x Jersey Girl by Belong To Me) : Grade 1
winner has had bad luck since winning the Cigar Mile. He has raced only
five times since that late 2010 race and has failed to win in those
races. He enters this event on a long layoff and it’s hard to see him
beating this group under the circumstances he faces. Edgar Prado is
listed to ride for trainer Barclay Tagg.
HAMAZING DESTINY (Salt Lake x Ms Proud Destiny by Artax) : He looked to
be improving after a win in the Maryland Sprint Handicap on the
Preakness undercard and did not disappoint with a next out fourth in the
True North. He was defeated only 2 ¼ lengths for the win. New rider
Joel Rosario figures to take him off the pace. That could be a good move
for a horse that rallied to be second in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint
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