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Shancelot freakishly fast in Amsterdam

Shancelot freakishly fast in Amsterdam

Undefeated colt blows away the field with the most eye-popping performance of the 2019 Saratoga meet so far
Shancelot freakishly fast in Amsterdam
Shancelot and Emisael Jaramillo leave the Amsterdam field behind by 12 1/2 lengths.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Imperial Hint broke the Saratoga Race Course track record for six furlongs on Saturday.

Shancelot ran six furlongs faster than that on Sunday, but still had another sixteenth of a mile to run and had to merely settle for a 12 1/2-length victory in the Grade II Amsterdam that was even more freakishly good than Imperial Hint's.

Trained by Jorge Navarro and ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, Shancelot finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.01, 27-hundredths of a second off Quality Road's track record set in 2009.

Breaking from the extreme outside post in the 12-horse field, he broke out of the gate quickly and never looked back to destroy a good field of 3-year-old sprinters.

"To say what I said a month ago, 45 days ago, that this is the best horse I ever trained -- you know, Private Zone was good. Sharp Azteca was good. X Y Jet is still good," Navarro said. "And I was going through the field and thinking, 'Whoa, he's going against some good horses.' I'm going to be wrong? Guess not. Guess not."

"That's his pace, and he did it like it was normal," Jaramillo said through an interpreter.

"The winner was a freak, that's all I can say," said Ricardo Santana Jr., who rode runner-up Nitrous.

Shancelot went off as the 6-5 betting favorite off a 6 1/4-length victory in an optional claiming race at his home base of Monmouth Park on June 23.

In the Amsterdam, he ran through the first half-mile in a blistering 43.94, then hit the six-furlong mark in 1:07.63.
Imperial Hint's finish time in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt on Saturday was 1:07.92.

"The jockey jumped off and said, 'Jorge, this was just a workout,'" Navarro said. "I've never seen anything like it in my life."
Navarro said they'll stick with 3-year-olds for now, which means Shancelot likely will come back in the Grade I Allen Jerkens on Travers Day Aug. 24.

A meeting with Imperial Hint and the other top sprinters in the country could come in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.


Saturday's Jim Dandy winner Tax came out of the race well, so it'll be full steam ahead for the Aug. 24 Travers.

"I was pretty confident in him," trainer Danny Gargan said. "I told people all week that I thought I was going to win the Jim Dandy," Gargan said. "His work was tremendous. He's doing better than he's ever done. He likes it up here and likes this track so that plays into our favor a lot."

Runner-up Tacitus, who got within three-quarters of a length of Tax by the wire after having taken a bad step out of the starting gate and almost dumping jockey Jose Ortiz, will also proceed to the Travers.

Trainer Bill Mott said Tacitus checked out with no lingering physical problems from the near-mishap.
"We got lucky; he's good," Mott said.

The War of Will camp said the Preakness winner, who finished fifth in the Jim Dandy, came out of the race fine, but they're still a little mystified by his race, in which he uncharacteristically jumped to the lead heading into the backstretch.

"We were a little puzzled, because he didn't go crazy fast on the front end. He's never really tried to make a move that early," assistant trainer Jamie Begg said. "He was also down on the rail, which a lot of people thought wasn't a good place to be."


Saturday's Whitney field is expected to include McKinzie, Preservationist, Thunder Snow, Vino Rosso and Yoshida.

The coming week's stakes schedule also includes the second legs of the new Turf Trinity and Turf Tiara stakes series for 3-year-olds on the grass.

Friday's Grade I $750,000 Saratoga Oaks restricted to fillies was drawn on Sunday, and the field, from the rail out, will be Olendon, Happen, Coral Beach, Kelsey's Cross, Concrete Rose and Her Royal Highness.

The corresponding Turf Trinity leg, the Saratoga Derby, will be held next Sunday. A Thread of Blue, Cape of Good Hope, Digital Age, Eons, Flying Scotsman, Henley's Joy, Mohawk, Rockemperor, Seismic Wave, Social Paranoia, Value Proposition, Van Beethoven and Kadar are pointing toward that race.

Besides the Saratoga Oaks, Friday's card will include the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and Alydar. That field, in post-position order, will be Sombeyay, Swamp Rat, English Bee, Award Winner, Casa Creed, Limonite, Global Access and Moon Colony.

Saturday's Whitney card also includes the Grade I Test, for which Bellafina, Covfefe, Jeltrin, Please Flatter Me, Royal Charlotte, Serengeti Empress, Take Charge Angel and Trenchtown Cat are probable. The Grade III Troy is likely to draw one of the best sprinters in the country, World of Trouble.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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