SARATOGA SPRINGS — The obvious next big step for Americanrevolution, in the natural progression of stakes for which he’s eligible, is the Empire Classic.
Trainer Todd Pletcher may try to go even bigger than that.
Ever upward, as they say in New York.
On New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, WinStar Farm’s chestnut son of Constitution made a powerful move through the stretch to win the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds by a commanding five lengths.
The card featured six stakes restricted to New York-breds worth a total of $1.15 million, and while Americanrevolution would fit right in sticking with New York-breds in the Empire Classic on Oct. 30 at Belmont Park, for a piece of a $300,000 purse, eventually Pletcher would like to get him outside restricted company.
He certainly looked good enough to do so in the Albany, Americanrevolution’s third straight win.
“We’ll look at the calendar,” Pletcher said. “I think this horse has the ability to win an open stake, but we’ll also try to take advantage of his New York eligibility.”
Americanrevolation toyed with the field in his previous start, winning the New York Derby by 7 1/4 lengths at Finger Lakes, and was bet down to 3-5 in the Albany.
He had more work to do at Saratoga, plugging away in midpack down the backstretch of the mile-and-an-eighth Albany under Luis Saez and angling out into the three path coming off the second turn.
He took the lead from pacesetter Bobby Bo inside the eighth pole and rolled to the wire under a hand ride.
“He put me in a nice spot, right there,” Saez said. “He’s a nice horse. He can run anywhere. Dirt in the face is no problem with him. When we came to the stretch, we found the room and he just started running pretty quick.”
“I thought we would be a little closer to the pacesetter, but we got a little traffic and a little dirt around the [first] turn,” Pletcher said. “He came away in good position turning up the backside and continued to improve his spot. It seemed like he was always travelling well.
“I think he’s a true two-turn horse. I was a little concerned [with Bobby Bo being loose on the lead]. I felt a little better when they threw up 23 and 2 [23.49 seconds for the quarter-mile] and 47 and 1 [47.33 for the half], and he kind of had everything his Way. I think we were giving them six pounds on top of that.”
City Man was runner-up in the Albany last year, but has been primarily a turf runner and was able to hold off his Christophe Clement-trained stablemate Therapist to win the West Point at a mile and a sixteenth on the Inner Turf.
Clement had thrown City Man into graded stakes company twice this season. He finished second to Tribhuvan, who is the morning-line favorite in the Grade I Sword Dancer on Saturday’s Travers card, in the Grade II Fort Marcy, then was ninth behind another Chad Brown-trained star, Domestic Spending, in the Grade I Manhattan.
“People forget that he had a really good race in the Fort Marcy when he ran second,” Clement said. “It was a great race. I was disappointed in the Manhattan. He was flat and when he came back, he wasn’t training well afterwards. It took me a while to get him back, but now he’s back, and I am very happy with it.”
It was the second stakes win of the day for co-owner Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Senbei, also trained by Clement, won the Funny Cide for 2-year-olds earlier in the card.
“I really felt good about City Man because he had worked so well last time out on the dirt,” Reeves said. “With Senbei, I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been a very special day.”
Byhubbyhellomoney gave octogenarian trainer Bob Dunham a rare win at Saratoga,, as she got up to win the Fleet Indian for 3-year-old fillies by a neck over 4-5 betting favorite Make Mischief by a neck.
Dunham is best known for having trained Chou Croute to an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter, before there were separate awards by gender in that division.
“I’ve been training horses all my life,” he said. “I was the assistant trainer of Round Table, Delta, Doubledogdare, Nadir, all very good horses. And here I am today winning a stake at Saratoga.”
Trainer Jim Bond had the 4-5 betting favorite, Rinaldi, in the West Point, but he faded to fifth after leading much of the way in that race.
Bond got one back when 9-1 Giacosa came from the back of the pack to take the lead at the eighth pole, then held off Myhartblongstodady to win the Yaddo by three- quarters of a length.
“You didn’t want to talk to me 45 minutes ago,” Bond said. “That’s the game we play, as we all know. We’ll live to fight another day hopefully with Rinaldi and Giacosa. She’s been training with him in his workouts and she’s been really telegraphing it. I think she’s probably a little better two-turn horse. She gets lost at Belmont. I don’t know, a lot of my horses get lost at Belmont the way the spring was.”
Giacosa’s Yaddo win was a little extra special for Bond, since she was sired by Tizway.
Bond trained him to a victories in the Met Mile and Whitney in 2011.
“He’s so good to us,” Bond said. “He revitalized my whole world. As everybody knows, I was dead in the water and he came along and made people remember who I was again for a little while.”
Ridden by Manny Franco, Senbei was able to re-create his front-running victory in his career debut at Saratoga on July 18.
In the Funny Cide, he finished 2 3/4 lengths ahead of the Bob Baffert-trained Montebello.
“I was surprised he was 8-1,” Clement said. “He has trained well and he’s a good-looking horse. He has always showed speed. The only instructions I gave to Manny was to break well and then be comfortable.”
SEEKING THE ANTE
Scratches left the Seeking the Ante for 2-year-old fillies with just a field of four, and, like Senbei, November Rein was able to get to the front and stay there, winning by a length and three-quarters.
“She stumbled at the start,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “She still has all her shoes on, but she did stumble a little bit. I think she just out-broke the 2-horse [Laoban’s Legacy]. It says a lot that she was able to overcome it.”
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