Trainer Jason Servis might have to call an audible if he wants to get Tightend Touchdown to the finish line first in today’s $100,000 Troy, a 5 1⁄2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up on the inner turf course at Saratoga Race Course.
Tightend Touchdown. the dead-heat runner-up in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last fall, is the 7-5 favorite. But he doesn’t want to end up chasing Spring to the Sky.
Second choice on the morning line at 5-2, Spring to the Sky has won two straight starts in front-running fashion for trainer Bruce Brown, including the Lucky Coin at Saratoga on July 20. Both victories have come under meet-leading jockey Javier Castellano, who returns to ride from post 6.
Tightend Touchdown has made three starts this year, most recently finishing a nose behind multiple stakes-winning sprinter Ben’s Cat in the Grade III Parx Dash Handicap on July 12.
Tightend Touchdown has won 10 of 25 career races, including the past two editions of the Pennsylvania Governors’ Cup Handicap at Penn National. He has run second in four graded stakes, as well as the 5 1⁄2-furlong Fiddlers Patriot at Saratoga last summer.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride from post 2 as co-highweight of 123 pounds in the Troy, which drew a field of eight including Grade 1 Carter Handicap winner Dads Caps, entered for the main track only.
Golden Rifle (5-1) steps into stakes company for the first time in the Troy.
‘Kid’ is cruising
Travers prospect Kid Cruz worked five furlongs in 1:02.45 over the main track Monday, the 16th best of 23 works at the distance.
Trainer Linda Rice said the winner of the Grade III Dwyer and third behind Wicked Strong and Tonalist in the Grade II Jim Dandy on July 26 was caught going a half-mile in 49 4⁄5 seconds and galloping out six furlongs in 1:15 2⁄5.
“Just comfortable,” Rice said of the work.
In his career, Kid Cruz has gained the reputation of a one-run closer; it started in his fourth race, the 11⁄8-mile Private Terms at Laurel Park, when he dropped back 18 lengths after six furlongs in 1:14.92 and gobbled up ground to win by four lengths.
In his past two starts, however, things have been changing with Kid Cruz. He ran just three lengths off the pace of Captain Serious in the Dwyer and then actually broke on top in the Jim Dandy before being surrounded by horses and backing off, only to rally well in the stretch.