The Final Week at Saratoga Has Something For Everyone

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 28th, 2017

The final week of racing at Saratoga has a little something for most everyone in regards to stakes races. While the potential future stars of grass racing highlight the mid-week features and 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1) aspirants will duke it out in the Hopeful (G1) on Labor Day, Saturday’s stakes-laden card will be highlighted by the $750,000 Woodward (G1).

The 1 1/8-mile Woodward will feature a second spin around the historic oval this meet by Gun Runner, who for the past two weeks has ranked #1 in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. The Steve Asmussen-trained four-year-old scored emphatically in the Whitney (G1) in early August, which had followed a victory in the Stephen Foster H. (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Second to Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup (G1) back in March, Gun Runner rose to the top of the NTRA poll by virtue of Arrogate’s two losses at Del Mar this summer, and can maintain that position with another win he’ll be heavily favored to accomplish against a short field.

Todd Pletcher could have the two main challengers in Neolithic and Rally Cry. Third behind Arrogate and Gun Runner in Dubai, Neolithic narrowly captured a seven-furlong allowance the race after the Whitney on August 5 in his first start since the World Cup. Rally Cry was last seen taking the $100,000 Alydar on August 6.

The top two-year-old filly race of the Saratoga meet, the $350,000 Spinaway (G1) at seven furlongs, is expected to include Pure Silver, a dominating winner of the Adirondack (G2), as well blowout debut winners Lady Ivanka and Separationofpowers. The Spinaway is a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep.

The other two stakes on Saturday’s program are the $300,000 Saranac (G3) for three-year-olds on the turf, and the $200,000 Glens Falls (G3) for fillies and mares, also on the turf. The 1 1/8-mile Saranac features a re-match between Bricks and Mortar and Yoshida, the one-two finishers in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) in early August. Grade 1 winner Time and Motion has been listed as among the probables for the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls.

The aforementioned Hopeful, a $350,000 stakes at seven furlongs, highlights the closing day program along with the $250,000 Bernard Baruch H. (G2) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Sunday’s card is topped by the $250,000 Prioress (G2), a six-furlong dash for three-year-old fillies.

(Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher)