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Belmont Park: Saratoga Snacks starting his year in Shy Groom
By Dave Litfin
It’s not a New York Showcase Day, but it will feel like one on a Sunday program at Belmont Park that is sprinkled with six statebred races, including three $100,000 stakes to be contested at seven furlongs.
Heading the stakes tripleheader is the Shy Groom, an overnight event that marks the seasonal debut of Saratoga Snacks, whose only loss in five starts last year was a runner-up finish in the Empire Classic.
Saratoga Snacks, who regained top form last year after being sidelined by a stress fracture of his right front pastern, has won 5 of 7 starts for Gary Sciacca, who trains the 4-year-old for Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm.
The Shy Groom will be Saratoga Snacks’ first start since Dec. 26, when he led multiple stakes winner Saginaw throughout a merry chase in the Alex M. Robb while hardly breaking a sweat. He came out of the race with a bruised foot, however, and was given time off.
“I started getting him ready, but I just kicked him out and said, ‘Bill, he’s been real good to us. It’s the wintertime. I have to look at the long plans,” said Sciacca, whose five meet winners include three of the 25-1 variety. “Bill lives in Saratoga and wants to see him train and run in Saratoga. If I had run him all winter, you never know what would have happened. He looks fantastic.”
Saratoga Snacks posted four workouts on the training track earlier this month, including a bullet five furlongs breezing on June 19.
“He may just go to the front,” Sciacca said. “He should be dead fit. If somebody wants to go, he can lay right off of them, but he’ll probably just go. He’s fresh and is doing great.”
Saratoga Snacks takes on seven rivals, including Mine Over Matter, Be Bullish and Fiddlers Afleet, the 1-2-3 finishers in the recent Corma Ray overnight stakes.
Also in the field is the improving B Shanny, plus Willy Beamin, who won the Albany and Grade 1 King’s Bishop in a four-day span last August.
Dan’s Gold and Sundae On Sunday round out the lineup.
Flanking the Shy Groom are divisions of the New York Stallion for 3-year-olds, each scheduled for the Widener turf.
Of the dozen fillies in the Cupecoy’s Joy, nine remain eligible for first-level allowance conditions.
Two of the exceptions, Adriatic Dream and Frosty Bay, finished heads apart at Aqueduct in early spring. Both are deep closers turning back from longer races and they will have to catch Wellspring Legacy.
Wellspring Legacy, a four-time winner, makes her first start following a private purchase by David Jacobson, whose 36 wins through Thursday put him within four of Todd Pletcher’s meet-record 40 wins in 2003.
Saropia, a six-furlong allowance winner in the slop at Finger Lakes last out, switches surfaces after a bullet workout on turf for new trainer Bruce Brown.
Jim Ryerson has contenders sired by Disco Rico in both heats, Image of Noon in the Cupecoy’s Joy and Captain Gaughen in the Spectacular Bid for owner-breeder Patricia Generazio.
Captain Gaughen comes off a lengthy maiden win over the course in his first start of the year. He appears the main opposition to West Hills Giant.
West Hills Giant, last year’s New York Breeders’ Futurity winner and runner-up in the Gotham for trainer John Terranova, goes back to turf after stumbling badly at the start of the Mike Lee as the second choice.
Other contenders include previous New York Stallion winners Belief System and Meeker Avenue. The latter’s entrymate, Withers runner-up Escapefromreality, is entered for the main track only.
- 1.Posted 12/02/2013 02:02PM
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