They’re all chasing Overdriven

It’s hard for 2-year-olds to stand out so well so early, but the Todd Pletcher-trained Overdriven is

It’s hard for 2-year-olds to stand out so well so early, but the Todd Pletcher-trained Overdriven is getting much of the hype after a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in his lone career start.

The Tale of the Cat colt is the 3-5 morning-line favorite in today’s Grade II $150,000 Sanford at Sar­atoga Race Course, followed by seven babies who would like to make their names as well-known.

“The one of Todd’s sticks out, sure does,” trainer Wesley Ward said. “Everything else looks pretty much even.”

Overdriven trailed J C’s Pride by eight lengths after three-eighths of a mile in his maiden victory, but pulled even just past the quarter pole and carried his momentum through the finish, finishing the five furlongs in :56.42 under jockey John Velazquez, who will be up again today.

“He had a good breeze over the track, and we’re excited about running in the Sanford,” Pletcher told the New York Racing Association. “He’s a big, strong colt who carries plenty of conditioning, and we justly believe he can move forward off that race.”

Ward will send two of those juv­eniles to the gate, two of the longer shots in the field. Black Rhino, at 12-1, is coming off his first win in his second start, an eight-length win over five furlongs on the turf at Churchill Downs on June 25. In his first, he was third to favorite Sum of the Parts.

In his last, Black Rhino broke from post position 3 with the lead and steadily crept from the field.

Ward’s other horse, which he also owns, is 15-1 shot Bless the Soldier, who won his debut over the synthetic surface at Woodbine, leading from gate to wire in the 41⁄2-furlong sprint for a 11⁄4-length victory.

“They have some talent, and now is when you really find out what kind of horse you’ve got–after they win, break their maiden,” Ward said. “Horses improve, horses stay the same. You really have to jump in with someone you think could possibly be a stake horse. You test the waters, and the outcome will tell you what you’ve got.”

Ward said he is not too concerned with Bless the Soldier’s transition from a synthetic surface to the main track at Saratoga, since he has worked well at Aqueduct since his win.

Power World, trained by Neil Howard, is the 5-1 second choice. He won his first start at Churchill Downs, then was second in the Grade III Bashford Manor, 23⁄4 lengths behind Exfactor. The third choice is trainer Eddie Kenneally’s 8-1 Maan, who beat out the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Moonrush by 11⁄2 lengths in his first start at Churchill Downs.

Moonrush will get another shot at Maan and the rest of the Sanford field as the longest shot on the board at 20-1. Jack’s in the Deck and Tarpy’s Goal round out the field.

They’re all chasing — on paper — Overdriven and that gaudy 100. But Ward pointed out anything can happen out on the track.

“You never want to duck one horse, though,” Ward said. “Anything can happen in a horse race. A horse might bounce, a horse might not like this track. So if you’ve got a couple of shots at him and hopefully, can get lucky.”

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