Mb Stables Looks To Rule Amsterdam with Tequila

The Amsterdam (Grade 2)- $200.000
SAR- For Three Year Olds
Six and a Half Furlongs on the Dirt
August 1, 2015

Saturday, we get this Grade 2 event for three year olds named after a smaller city located less then half an hour from the race track.   This will be the 13th running of The Amsterdam, which has become one of a long time stable on the game’s calendar since pretty much, its inception.  It’s always been a Grade 2, and purse levels have remained at $200.000 since it’s $50.000 increase in 2011.   Four of the race’s past winners have exceeded the $1,000.000 mark in career earnings, with the most prolific winner being Unly Running Rebel, who was $42.000 shy of $2,000.000 over his 55 race career.  His win over sloppy going in 2010 was just the second graded win of his career when it was one.   A sloppy track for Saturday is not completely out of the cards, though it would be a downer given the races at the Spa.  Early weather forecasts for Saratoga call for a possible shower and thunderstorm.   Last year, we had two winners of the Amsterdam, as Mb Stables’ Captain Awesome and Cajun Stables’ The Fog finished in a dead heat.  Mb Stables is the only trainer to win this race more then once, and as he also won the 2013 event with Hick Up, he could have a three-race winning streak by the time this is over.  J R Leparoux is the only jockey to win it twice, and he’ll have a mount in this again.   Let’s meet his mount, and those of the seven others, for the 2015 running of The Amsterdam.

#1- Endure Luxury (Sanny Village, ridden by R J Albarado)- After a modest beginning running for his breeder, First Class Stable, he was purchased by Wynnewood for $60.000 in private sales.  After a month, confidence didn’t seem to be that high in that barn, and he was sent to MNR.  In that, Endure Luxury made the other four in the field endure a beatdown, and he won by ten lengths.  In May, he followed that up with a good looking allowance win at CD against older horses.  This led to Wynnewood’s selling of the horse to Sanny Village for over twice the price she paid for it, so all worked out fine there.  He hasn’t raced for his new trainer yet, and hopefully he won’t hold a grudge for being gelded as soon as he walked into that barn.

#2- Faithful Nebraska (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- This gelding has tried a couple ungraded stakes in his career, and has turned in a decent showing in each.  Back in April, he was second in the $75.000 San Pedro Stakes at SA.  That would be the highlight of his career thus far, which has seen two wins in ten career starts.  He did capture an allowance win at WO in his last start.   Faithful Nebraska, after being claimed by Night Rider Stables in November last year, has taken a liking for his new barn, and is currently in his best form of his career.   He’s going to have to step it up a bit here to have a chance, but I believe that he can do exactly that.

#3- Fear The Tree (Alydar Stables, ridden K Carmouche)- This colt by Western Red Cedar has been taking on the best in the game ever since breaking his maiden. He was TC-nominated, and the trainer had KYD aspirations by entering him in both the Holy Bull (G2) and FL Derby (G1).  Those races did not end well, with finishes in the double digits.  Though when not taking on the elite horses of this division, Fear The Tree has looked like a much a better horse, especially when he is not trying to go over a mile.  His last race running a similar distance was the seven furlong Queenston at WO, a restricted race for Canadians.  That got the trainer thinking Queens Plate, and while his run in the Plate Trial wasn’t poor, he gets to do what he does best again.  This is an important race for him, I would imagine, to see where he goes from here.

#4- Bonsai Gullis (Running Farms, ridden by J R Leparoux)- The jockey will be looking for his third Amsterdam win, and puts his faith in Bonsai Gullis.  Running Farms also showed her faith in the colt in March, purchasing him from Witeout Stables for $125.000.   So far, that is paying off, with two good performances.  In May, and on the grass, he was second in the Desert Code Stakes, a $75.000 event, at SA.  He followed that up with a win in a three-horse optional claimer at WO.  This race will certainly run faster then that one did.  The horse has shown recent improvement in works, possibly related to the removal of bute, which the trainer did in his first two starts.   A couple ticks faster could mean all the difference, and he cannot be counted out.

#5- Trench Admiral (Grimley, ridden by E Trujillo)- This has been a good year for Trench Admiral, winning three of his six career starts after a modest two year old career.  The good start over the winter led to him being placed in stakes during the spring, and after a second place in the $100.000 ungraded Walker at CD, he would be victorious in the Grade 3 Aristildes BC at CD at the end of May.  He didn’t run as well in the BEL Sprint Championship (Grade 3) on the fourth of July, but you still have to be impressed with his current form.  About a week ago, he turned in a bullet work for five furlongs at SAR, which has been a recent theme in his works.  I like this trend, and his recent form and he should be considered one of the race’s top choices.

#6- Montalcino (Alabarda Stable, ridden by J R Velazquez)- So far, Montalcino is relatively lightly raced, being patiently brought along by his trainer.  After breaking his maiden late in 2014, Alabarda Stable took a stab at the TC trail in the Holy Bull (G2), but a seventh place finish there led to a reboot of those plans.  Since that race, he has raced four times, with a pair of victories and a pair of runner up finishes.  The last two races are those victories, including a win in the muddy Levine Memorial at PRX, a race in which had some pretty good competition for its $100.000 ungraded purse.   He earned a 99 SRF that day, so if the track does come up wet on race day, Montalcino’s chances look better.  This will be the toughest field, Holy Bull aside, he has ever raced against, but don’t count him out.

#7- Tequila Ruler (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- After showing a lot of promise as a sprinter, which included a victory in a strong Swale Stakes, a Grade 2 run at seven furlongs, Riggins Racing took a shot at the TC trail, something in which Swale Stakes winners have historically done.  That didn’t work out for Tequila Ruler, and after a 12th place finish in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes, he was sold to Mb Stables for $200.000.    With many others on the TC trail for his new trainer, Tequila Ruler was sent back to sprinting and emphatically won an optional claimer at GG in May.   Last month, he was second in the BC Sprint Championship at BEL, a race which turned out to be very strong, given the amount of runners coming out of that to either run here or in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap in the race that follows this one on the Saturday SAR card.   He is the top finisher from the BC Sprint Championship to be at SAR today, and that alone makes him a very appealing option.  I also like the way he ran in the Swale Stakes, and simply feel this distance is perfect.  Tequila Ruler is my top pick.

#8- America Horror (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by E T Baird)- On the outside, we have this Risen Ruler colt, who has a lot in common with Tequila Ruler despite having different Rulers as their sires.   American Horror has also spent most of his career going long, and the trainer considered the TC trail for him as well.  He also went to the Spiral Stakes, and while he was better then Tequila Ruler, his 7th place finish was also a little disappointing.  In his next race, he was back to sprinting for the just the second time in his career, and he would win the Times Square, part of the NYS Stallion Series.   After a dud at PIM, he bounced back to win an allowance at MTH, and gets his second try at graded competition, and the first time in a sprint.  He looks a little inconsistent to me, and he’s going to have to bring his “A” race to have a shot.

Prediction: 7-5-4-2


— NS

Categories: Grade II

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