SAR Derby- $750.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and Three Sixteenths on the Turf
August 15, 2020
The SAR Derby was a race that was new to the schedule last year, providing an excellent chance for three year old turf horses to show their stuff a month after the BEL Derby gets run at that race track. Naturally, it is also a great race to build some momentum on the road to the BC Turf, something that is less than three months away now. Last year’s winner, Face Your Fears, ended up running seventh in the BC Turf, and remains competitive at the graded level, though this win stands as the highlight of his career. It should be mentioned that this was a $1,000.000 race last year, but because of purse cutting that has gone due to the pandemic in the real world, this purse has seen a cut. Hopefully, that can get restored in the future for the real edition, let alone our edition, because this has the makings of being a great race for the division. The gate is mostly full with thirteen going to the gate, so let’s meet them now!
#1- Karma To Come (Threshold, ridden by S R Bahen)- An excellent purchase by Threshold at the beginning of May, saving the horse from the free tracks for a mere $5.250. He was high on the potential, and brought him from LRL to WO, but still in a claiming race, where he placed fourth. However, the horse has been improving, as shown by his second place finish in the $150.000 American Derby. This is a big step up, but he always seems to run well.
#2- Iron Nation (Nakamura Stables, ridden by S Ryan)- Picked up a graded win back in April in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes, and he has been running well ever since. He followed that up by running second in the Grade 2 American Turf and third in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge. Typically seen with a running style of being near the leaders, so that may be in the cards again, but both of the Nakamura horses in the race seem to like that style, so you never can tell.
#3- Black Horizon (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by G Franco)- Picked up cheaply from Tiratzo in private sales in February, and would be gelded soon after. That did wonders for him, as he stepped up his competition level by winning a high allowance, and he carried that into the United Nations, running third. However, his last start is concerning, a dud in the BEL Derby. It was on soft turf, but three of his last four races have been, and one of them is a win.
#4- Shore Party (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo)- The gelding has been first or second in six of his seven starts, with two wins. Last month was his graded debut, and it would be one of those second place runs, coming in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing right here at the Spa. Handled ungraded stakes well too, and has a style that seems conducive to his adapting to his longest race of this career.
#5- Bannister (John Henry, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Won his first race, on April 1st of his two year old career. There has not been another once, since. He continues to get entered into stakes, but it has also been over 15 months since he last hit the board, let alone win. What could be intriguing about him is that he could really like the distance here, but I can’t pick a horse that hasn’t really done much in his career.
#6- Vengeful (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Rosado)- After breaking his maiden at TAM in February, Vengeful went on to win three in a row, all coming on the grass. That led Mb Stables to enter him into the Queens Plate, which is on the main track of course, and he actually did do well there all things considered, running fifth. The follow up to that, the Nijinsky, left a lot to be desired, but perhaps he was too quick in the early portions of that race.
#7- Flake Gold (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Ru Fuentes)- The trainer is showing a lot of confidence in this horse, one that has not accomplished much other than some wins at smaller tracks. He’s been $20.000 claimer as recently as March, and even his last start saw him only run for a $19.000 purse. Distance wise, he looked good in that, so that is why he gets the chance, and when nomination fees really aren’t a big issue to a stable, then sure, why not.
#8- Flushed (Diablo Diablo, ridden by L Saez)- The gelding will make his debut for Diablo Diablo after being acquired in private sales for $175.000. In just four starts, he has exclusively run on the grass, including this very distance right here at Saratoga last month in an allowance. He earned a 95 SRF in that race, so the trainer wants to give him a shot here in the SAR Derby. It’s a big step up for him, but he is an improving one.
#9- Hamburglar (Mb Stables, ridden by J Stein)- Raced last month at DEL in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes, and ran second, losing ground late. Prior to that, he had been coming from off the pace, so with the longer distance here, I think a return to that tactic might be in store for him. He’s consistent, hitting the board nine times in eleven starts, with three finishes in each of those three positions.
#10- Cinnamon Strike (Smokey Stover, ridden by M Franco)- Here is another young horse in terms of starts, making just the fifth of his career. He is very similar to Flushed in that they have all come on the grass, and while running long in overnights. Last time out, he ran second in an allowance at WO. To me, Flushed as shown more at this point, but it’s all about the distance, and Cinnamon Strike can build off of that race.
#11- Darth Invader (Diablo Diablo, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- In his last start, Darth Invader picked up the win in the Grade 3 AP Classic, with a good stalking trip and then a stretch run. That race is also run at a mile and three sixteenths, so I am kind of surprised that he is the only horse in this race that also ran in that one. That race earned him a 98 SRF, so more of the same could be all it takes.
#12- Annihilator (Eastern Equine, ridden by J J Castellano)- Another horse in this field that is making his fifth career start, but Annihilator has gained stake experience. He won the first two races of his career, and his reward for that was to be gelded. The new gelding then ran third in the ungraded Snow Chief, then fourth in the National Museum of Racing. Each of those were a fine effort, and he turned in a good work here last week.
#13- Clever Me (Royalty Stables, ridden by D Cohen)- Starting on the outside is a horse that just three starts ago when claimed for just $20.000. Prior trainer Fractious dropped him down from better allowance company in that one, and Royalty Stables was the winner of the three way shake. So far, all he has done is move him back up into the allowance company again, but he has run well to get this big shot. It’s a tough ask, but a few of them in here are in a similar boat.