Compliance Officer is looking for a couple repeats.
A repeat win in today’s $150,000 West Point at Saratoga Race Course would keep him on course for a repeat of his best year of competition. He won six of his eight starts last year, including the West Point, Ashley T. Cole and Mohawk, all state-bred turf routes, earning the title 2011 New York-bred male turf champion.
He won the $125,000 Kingston at Belmont in May for trainer Bruce Brown and seems to be in shape for another run at the state turf championship as the 6-5 favorite in the West Point.
“These races, and especially when you start winning races in back-to-back years – because any horse can have a big year and win some races – but when you start repeating, that’s when you start cementing your legacy,” Brown said.
With his stalking style, the race sets up good on paper for Compliance Officer. He was second in the Grade III Poker at Belmont in open company his last time out, but Brown thinks the speed in the West Point will set up nicely for his 6-year-old Officer colt.
“Definitely with Johannesburg Smile and Writingonthewall, he’s always up close to the pace. So hopefully it’ll be decent,” Brown said. “That’s kind of what got us last time, no pace, but there should be pace in this race.”
Compliance Officer will break from post 7, just inside Street Game, the 7-2 second choice with a similar running style.
“With him, I prefer to be inside a little bit, where he can tuck in,” Brown said. “But especially around two turns, he’s been good about tucking in and getting in behind horses.”
In the Kingston, Compliance Officer beat out today’s 4-1 third-choice Lubash by three-quarters of a length, and Street Game was another length back in third. Minnie Punt and Abilio, also in the West Point, were fourth and seventh, respectively, in the Kingston.
If Compliance Officer can pull off another win over this familiar company and come out in good order, Brown said the plan would be to travel the same circuit as last year, hitting the Ashley T. Cole and Mohawk, both of which — like the West Point — have increased their purses by $50,000 from last year.
“They raised the purses in all those races from last year, so it’s kind of hard to pass up,” he said. “The next one is $150,000 like [the West Point], and then the last one is $175,000. It’s a lot of money to leave on the table if he should be choice each time, or at least second choice. It’s hard to pass that up.”