Pletcher to send out Saratoga Mischief in Saratoga Special
Todd Pletcher appears well on his way to capturing a sixth straight title, and 12th overall at Saratoga, leading all conditioners with 20 wins entering Saturday’s program, and is always dangerous in two-year-old races. He pocketed a sixth Sanford Stakes (G2) earlier in the meet, scoring via disqualification with Uncle Vinny, but his win total in Sunday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2) is surprisingly light, taking only the 2013 edition via Corfu.
The leading trainer will have a fine chance to add a second when he sends out Saratoga Mischief, the 9-5 morning line favorite among six youngsters in the 6 ½-furlong race. The Into Mischief colt made his debut a winning one 22 days earlier, posting a neck decision over the Saratoga Springs, New York track on July 25, and netted a respectable 86 BRIS Speed rating for the effort.
“He came out of it well, and we felt rather than wait all the way to the Hopeful (G1) (on September 7), we'd run him back here," Pletcher said. "We thought he had trained well. We weren't sure that he would go over there and win first time out. He was somewhat inconsistent in the mornings, but we had had some inconsistencies on the track surface the first part of the meet.
“He seems pretty focused out of the race. It was a pretty straightforward race. To his credit he put himself in a good position."
John Velazquez will be back aboard.
Exaggerator looks a dangerous foe in his first appearance outside of California. Fifth when making his debut at Santa on June 5 against the impressive Nydquist, a convincing winner of the recent Best Pal (G2), Exaggerator came back to earn his first win last out at Del Mar, rallying determinedly to defeat maiden special weight foes on July 25. Junior Alvarado will pick up the mount on the Keith Desormeaux-trained Curlin colt and the dark bay is listed as the 5-2 second choice from his rail post.
"In his first start, (Exaggerator) ran a little green, got dirt in his face at Santa Anita and didn't like it, and sort of veered around but made a really nice move at the end and closed really well," assistant trainer Julie Clark said. "Then he won his next out there.”
“They're really happy with him. They really like him. It'll be a little test with shipping; they have to layover in Kentucky and then van up. We'll get a gallop over the surface and see what he's made of on Sunday."
Mark Casse will be represented by Holding Gold, a Florida-bred son of Lonhro who earned a field-best 88 BRIS Speed rating when winning his career bow over Woodbine’s Polytrack on July 19. Shaun Bridgmohan takes over the reins. Hammers Vision, a turf winner at Belmont first-time out on July 19, is another promising juvenile trying a new surface. Joel Rosario keeps the assignment on the Court Vision colt for Brian Lynch.
Rounding out the line-up are Mid Life Crisis, a wire-to-wire maiden special weight winner at Delaware Park on July 20 in his lone attempt for Graham Motion; and John Q. Public, who is the only contestant with previous stakes experience but will need to improve greatly upon a last-place effort in the Sanford.