Short rest was the best rest for Bashart, who wheeled back 12 days after breaking his maiden to win Thursday’s Grade II $200,000 With Anticipation at Saratoga Race Course.
The 2-year-old War Front colt won his second time out on Aug. 18, posting a half-length victory at this 1 1⁄16-mile distance on the Saratoga turf in a maiden special weight race.
In that one, he showed a little inexperience as he claimed the lead. but didn’t put away his rivals. Thursday, he was sharper down the stretch.
“He’s still learning,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “When he made the lead the other day, he was a little bit green and kind of idled a little bit. When you’re on the lead, you kind of relax and use that to your advantage, so he was able to settle him. The second quarter was comfortable, so I think that really helped.”
Under jockey Javier Castellano, Bashart broke from the rail and raced with Base Case Scenario into the first turn. He led the field through fractions of 23.30, 47.20 and 1:11.39 with Base Case Scenario and We Miss Artie running just off Bashart’s back hip, until he left them behind in the far turn.
As they faded, though, River Dancer and Marvin’s Miracle found some late speed. Bashart’s lead, though, seemed never in danger as he kicked through the final furlong to win by 1 1⁄4 lengths. Bashart paid $7.70, $4 and $3.10, River Dancer was second and returned $7.10 and $4.60, and another 1 1⁄2 lengths back, Marvin’s Miracle paid $4.60 to show.
Tiger Bourbon completed the superfecta, Base Case Scenario faded to fifth, We Miss Artie sixth and Racetrack Romance was last of seven.
“Javier kind of let him run away from there [the gate],” Pletcher said. “Then he made the lead, and he relaxed when he did. The turf course has been playing that way the past seven to 10 days, so it was a good spot to be. He responded; every time they came to him, he found a little more.”
“I let him do whatever he wanted, and I was very satisfied with the way he did it today,” Castellano said. “He showed a lot of speed in the race before this. Today was a very competitive race, and a lot of horses showed the same tactical speed. I had the beautiful post, inside, on the rail. He broke sharply, and I just let him go to the lead.”
Pletcher said the short rest also allowed him to get another race in Bashart and put him on a more desirable schedule as he and owners Rosedown Racing consider a trip to Santa Anita in November.
“One of the reasons we decided to run back on short rest was it put us on a better schedule, gave us an opportunity with a horse that is still learning to run twice instead of going to Canada and getting only one race before a possible Breeders’ Cup start,” he said. “That’s why we ran back on short rest. He’s acted really well since his maiden win.”
GRASS IS GREENER
After an impressive debut at Saratoga Race Course in 2012 was followed by a few less-stellar results, Teen Pauline has switched surfaces to grass, and will be the third choice for today’s Riskaverse.
The overnight stakes goes a mile on the inner turf for 3-year-old fillies.
Teen Pauline won her first time out July 25, 2012, setting a new track record at five furlongs in 56.53 seconds. She followed that up with a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Grade I Spinaway for trainer Steve Asmussen, then was reassigned to Pletcher’s barn.
After a pair of fourth-place finishes in six-furlong tries at Belmont in June, he switched her to a grassy mile in an $87,000 allowance race at Saratoga on Aug. 11, and she won by a length.
“She is training really well; she came out of her last race great,” Pletcher said. “I think she showed us in her breezes and that race that she really likes the turf, so we are excited about getting her in a stake.”
The Tapit filly is the 9-2 morning-line third choice in the $100,000 Riskaverse. Asmussen has the 3-1 favorite, Sister Ginger, and Christophe Clement trains the 7-2 second choice, Bella Castani.
Sister Ginger has won her last three starts, including the $127,000 Indiana Grand Stakes most recently. Her last two were on the turf and at this distance.
Bella Castani, the daughter of Big Brown, won the $88,000 Tweedside at Belmont at this distance in April, then took a wide trip to finish sixth in the mile-long Little Silver at Monmouth in May and was second at seven furlongs in the $100,000 Diamondrella at Belmont in July.
Caixa Eletronica and Saginaw will be running against each other in today’s third race, a starter optional claimer for a $70,000 purse at seven furlongs on the dirt.
Between them, they have 106 starts. Caixa Eletronica is 22-8-11 from 66 career starts. Of the 8-year-old’s $1.7 million in earnings, $600,000 came in his biggest win, the 2012 Grade II Charles Town Classic with a $1 million purse. Through his career, 16 jockeys have ridden him, though Castellano will take the reins for the 16th consecutive time and 18th overall. Caixa Eletronica will be the 2-1 second choice behind 7-5 Saginaw.
Saginaw is 21-6-3 from 40 starts. The 7-year-old gelding has $974,690 in earnings. He has run in only one graded stakes, the Grade I Met Mile in 2012, and was last of six in a race won by Shackleford by a nose over Caleb’s Posse. Caixa Eletronica was fourth in that race.
For the first time in recent history, fans will be invited onto the main track for a one-of-a-kind photograph to commemorate the 150th anniversary season.
Fans participating in the photo on Sunday will have the opportunity to “toast” the sesquicentennial with the final giveaway of the season, a Saratoga beer stein. The special photo op will take place after the last race.
The Pick 6 had a carryover of $273,760.28 and attracted an additional $1,010,762.70 on Thursday. It paid two lucky bettors who placed their bets off-track $424,936. The consolation paid $1,163 to 165 bettors, 10 of whom were at the track. The last race of the day and of the Pick 6 was won by Hunter Forward, who went off at odds of 34-1 and paid $71 to win.