07/29/2009 11:00PM

Bulls and Bears looks to build on debut


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Officially, Bulls and Bears enters Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga with one race under his belt. Trainer Rick Violette believes Bulls and Bears got five races worth of experience in the 1:04.60 it took him to win his debut.

Thus, Violette goes into the $150,000 Sanford brimming with confidence as Bulls and Bears takes on eight rivals, several with more experience than his colt, in the six-furlong stakes for juvenile colts and geldings.

In his July 2 debut at Belmont, Bulls and Bears broke sharply but was outfooted to the lead in the 5 1/2-furlong race. Jockey Alan Garcia had to steady him slightly entering the far turn and was behind a wall of horses approaching the quarter pole. Bulls and Bears split horses in upper stretch and then won a one-furlong battle with the well-bred Discreetly Mine to win by a neck.

"He could've gone to the lead if [Garcia] stepped on the gas," Violette said. "He went into neutral, took the dirt, he was brave inside going through on the fence, and was game. He had five races in one, and ran like he had run six times already."

That he came from off the pace in his debut should stand Bulls and Bears well in a race laden with early-speed types. Bulls and Bears breaks from post 7.

Backtalk comes out of two live races in Kentucky, including a one-length victory in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor after stumbling at the start. Two horses he beat that day - Vito Filitto and Grand Slam Andre - have come back to win minor stakes. Three horses Backtalk defeated in his maiden victory also have come back to win.

"The most interesting thing about Backtalk is in nether of his races was he a horse that really ran like he was fully educated," said trainer Tom Amoss, whose last Saratoga stakes win came in the 2000 Go for Wand with Heritage of Gold. "In both those races he kind of got in tight and did his best running late when he was outside and clear."

Enumerate could be the quickest of the early-speed types. He took heavy pressure breaking from the rail in his debut at Churchill but drew off to win by five.

D. Wayne Lukas sends out the coupled entry of Soundman and Activity Report, both of whom show a similar front-running style. Todd Pletcher sends out Interactif off a front-running score at Monmouth Park.