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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Saratoga: High Cotton colt gets a 'Special' win

Saratoga: High Cotton colt gets a 'Special' win

Klar­avich Stables and William Lawrence like High Cotton as a sire because they like Currency Swap.

Klar­avich Stables and William Lawrence like High Cotton as a sire because they like Currency Swap.

They like High Cotton even better now.

Prompted by the success they had with 2011 Hopeful winner Currency Swap, the owners bought another son of High Cotton at the April Ocala Breeders Sale, and now they have another graded-stakes-winning juvenile colt in their stable.

Spurious Precision, out of Scarlet Combo, rolled home by five lengths as the 3-4 favorite to win the Grade II Saratoga Special at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.

Several factors made him appealing to the bettors, including the scratch of 2-1 morning-line favorite Shanghai Bobby, one of Starlight Racing’s promising 2-year-old colts who spiked a fever the morning of the race.

Spurious Precision also scorched a five-furlong work just five days before the Saratoga Special, on the heels of an easy career-debut win on the second day of the meet.

He blasted out of the gate under Alan Garcia and set very fast fractions for the quarter-mile (21.35) and half (44.02), and was much the best in finishing five lengths ahead of 26-1 He’s So Fine.

“He’s the real deal,” trainer Rick Violette said. “He put Alan in an impossible spot — he beat the latch. He broke so good, it’s not like you can take back at that point. There was serious pressure every jump of the way. Just watching horses come at him — and they did — he had a lot left.”

“We liked our horse, but you never take any race for granted, no matter if you’re the favorite or 10-1,” said Lawrence, a 1979 Shaker High School graduate. “You just hope to be in position to win it. He’s a very powerful horse. I don’t come over in the mornings all that much, but he looked really good on Tuesday, which is pretty close to the race.”

Violette said that the scratch of Shanghai Bobby, who could still show up for the Hopeful on closing weekend, forced Spurious Precision and Garcia to get up on the lead right away instead of stalking a front-runner.

Spurious Precision adjusted accordingly, becoming the target instead of the chaser, and no one could keep up.

“It took a speed horse out of there, and I think we’re better following a horse like that,”

Violette said. “He likes targets in the mornings and in his first race, so it did change the complexion, and then when we broke so sharp, any thoughts of stalking went out the window.

“Not that I’m complaining about him scratching.”

“When he broke very sharp, I said, ‘I don’t want to take anything easy, so let’s go on. If he’s good enough, he’s going to beat this group,’ and he showed it,” Garcia said.

Currency Swap came back to Saratoga, and won the Grade II Amsterdam, and now is pointing to the Grade I King’s Bishop on Travers Day.

With two impressive wins at the meet, Spurious Precision will sit back and wait for the Champagne at Belmont, but Lawrence and Klar­avich have another Hopeful prospect, Carried Interest, who beat Palace Malice at Belmont Park on July 5. Palace Malice is probably headed to the Hopeful after his impressive win on Aug. 4.

“I really think Carried Interest has a shot to make the Hopeful, and now we can let this guy chill his heels a little bit for the Champagne and have a pretty fresh horse going into the fall,” Violette said.

A routine temperature check early Sunday morning showed that Shanghai Bobby had a temperature of 101.9.

He was jogged around the barn area, and by 10 a.m. his temperature was above 103, trainer Todd Pletcher said, so he was scratched.

“It was unfortunate with the timing, considering how well he had trained up to this point,” he said.

“We’re not going to run a horse unless it’s 100 percent,” Starlight co-managing partner Don Lucarelli said. “He looks good. We hope this can pass quick enough to shoot for the Hopeful. And he was cranked. His coat is beautiful. In this bus­iness, you never know.”

Around the track

Today’s eighth race, an allowance optional claiming race with an $87,000 purse, has a distance of two miles on the main track, the first time Saratoga has offered a flat race that long since 2009.

Starlight Racing’s Bridge Loan, a 3-year old son of Empire Maker out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Bridge Game, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite after finishing second to Raison d’Etat at Saratoga on

July 28.

None of the nine horses in the field has ever run in a two-mile race.

This will be Bridge Loan’s first attempt beyond a mile and an eighth.

“I think he’s a big, galloping sort that’s bred for it, so it might open up some options if the winter stakes program at Aqueduct has some of those mile-and-five-eighths type of races,” Pletcher told NYRA. “I like it. I think either he’s going to handle it or he won’t, but that’s sort of his style, is just a good, steady clip. Hopefuly, he’ll settle and keep going. It’s not the first time they’ve had one up here.”

Trainer David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable have two entered, the coupled entry of Springcourt and Ea.

“There are many horses that can go that distance,” Jacobson said. “A mile and an eighth is cool, for two miles it takes a special horse, so we’ll see what I’ve got. You never know until you try it.

“They were the two logical horses, based on their past performances, to give me my best shot. The’re special horses.”

Springcourt ran at Saratoga on Aug. 1, finishing fourth in a claiming race, seven lengths behind Sinorice.

“He seems to always run well,” Jacobson said. “He is a plodder; that’s his running style. It’ll be

interesting to watch.”

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