SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— When they draw the post-positions for the $1.25 million, Grade 1 Travers Stakes Stakes at Sperry's in Downtown Saratoga on Tuesday, Aug. 21, Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tenfold may best be served by drawing outside.
If the 3-year-old colt duplicates his winning race in Saturday's Travers prep, the $600,000, Grade 2 Jim Dandy, that's where he's going to end up anyhow.
In his last outing, the home-bred son of champion Curlin from Tapit mare Temptress was seventh in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes behind the now retired Justify. Gronkowski, who finished second in the Belmont and Hofburg, the winner of the Spa's restricted Curlin Stakes on Friday afternoon who was third in the Belmont, are likely opponents in the Travers.
At the start of the Jim Dandy (a race named for the colt that upset Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox in the 1930 Travers at odds of 100 to 1), Tenfold was hustled early to get second place behind the pace-setting Flameaway. Ricardo Santana, Jr., aboard Tenfold, kept the pressure on Jose Ortiz and Flameaway until they rounded the Union Avenue turn.
That's when Tenfold made the lead. When Santana went to his stick left handed to encourage Tenfold, the dark bay colt started to bear out. A change to the right hand did not cure the situation. The two colts ran that way down the stretch with Flameaway sticking close to the rail and Tenfold drifting farther and farther out.
At the wire, it was Tenfold, who was closer to the grandstand than he was to the inner rail, the winner by three-quarters of a length over Flameaway. Vino Rosso, the ninth place finisher in the Kentucky Derby and fourth place finisher in the Belmont, was a head behind the Flameaway. Tenfold was clocked at 1:50.49 for the nine furlongs over a track that had dried out sufficiently to be called 'fast.'
Tenfold, who is now four for six in his brief career, earned $330,000 to double his total purse earnings.
According to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Tenfold may have been bugged by the infield tote board and Jumbo-Tron. He said, “I'm glad we ran him over this racetrack. He does find something new all the time. Ricardo said, when he moved away from that other horse, he got a view of the screen in the infield and he couldn't get him to quit looking at it.”
Between now and the Aug. 25 running of the Travers, Asmussen is sure to ask management to keep the infield boards flashing during training hours.
Robert J. Baron's Promises Fulfilled, a notorious front runner, was held off the pace by jockey Luis Saez when the field of six 3-year-olds broke from the gate in the $200,000, Grade 3 Amsterdam Stakes.
After Strike Power and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez set the pace for a half mile, Saez eased his charge off the rail and went outside a tiring Strike Power and took the lead as the field turned for home in the 6-1/2 furlong sprint.
Promises Fulfilled improved his position in the stretch to the point where Saez could put his whip away 70 yards out and hand ride Promises Fulfilled to a 3-1/4 length win over Woodford Racing's Engage, the even money favorite with Jose Ortiz in the saddle.
Promises Fulfilled notched his fourth win from eight lifetime starts by running the 6-1/2 panels in 1:15.18 over drying out track that was labeled 'good.' The $110,000 he collected in the Amsterdam boosted his earnings to a few dollars under a half million. Baron acquired the son of Shackleford from Marquee Delivery at the Keeneland March 2016 Yearling Sale for $37,000.
After the race, trainer Dale Romans indicated Promises Fulfilled will be pointed toward the $500,000, Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkins Memorial at seven furlongs on the Travers Day card.
When Imperial Hint glided across the finish line in the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, owner Raymond Mamone and trainer Luis Carvajal went to the winners' circle to collect the trophy for the first time in a Grade 1 race.
The five-year-old horse, who is regularly stabled at Parx Racing, had the services of Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano as he was eased off the early pace in the 6-furlong dash for older horses. Castellano looked for racing room rounding the bend at the quarter pole and found it.
With the rider sitting as still as a statue, Imperial Hint hit the home stretch with a 4-1/2 length advantage. The rider applied a brief hand ride as the dark bay horse passed the 3/16 mark and then was 124 pounds of inert impost who was 3-3/4 lengths to the good of Warrior's Club and Luis Saez who were getting six pounds from the winner.
Imperial Hint stepped the six panels in 1:08.98 seconds over a 'good' main track to earn his 11th lifetime win from 17 starts. The NYRA's check for $192,500 raised his lifetime purse earnings over $1.2 million.
When asked about his plans for Imperial Hint, Carvajal omitted any mention of the H. Allen Jerkins Memorial on the Travers card. That race is at seven furlongs. Carvajal said he wanted to “keep him at six furlongs.” He did say the horse's “next race will probably be in New York and then maybe the Breeders' Cup (Sprint).”
The $250,000, Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes at 2-3/8 miles over the Inner Turf Course turned into a two horse race when Glorious Empire and Julien Leparoux tried to go gate to wire for the win. But, Joel Rosario, astride Channel Maker, would have none of that and came running down the lane from fourth place.
When they got to the wire, veteran track announcer Larry Colmus — who has the best seat in the house — cojuld not make the call. The slo-mo replays were also indecisive.
When the placing judges looked as the photo finish image, they shurgged their shoulders and put up a flashing number 2 for Channel Maker and a flashing number 5 for Glorious Empire — indicating a dead heat.
Channel Maker, who races for the Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber and is trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott, recorded his third lifetime win from 18 starts and collected $93,750 for his owners.
Matthew Schera's Irish-bred Glorious Empire, a Chuck Lawrence trainee, is now eight for 22. He too collected $93,750. (Add the value of first place to the value of second place and divide by two.)
The two winners may get to do it all over in the $1 million, Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational on the Travers card.
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