07/25/2007 11:00PM

Ready's Image takes Sanford just like sire

Email

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Though he may not be undefeated like his father was at this stage of his career, Ready's Image is developing into just as exciting a juvenile prospect.

Ready's Image, a son of More Than Ready, followed up his dominant victory in the Tremont Stakes on July 1 by rolling to a convincing four-length score in Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. Tale of Ekati, who got bumped at the start, finished second, a nose ahead of the late-running The Roundhouse.

The victory was the first of the meet for Todd Pletcher - who has won five consecutive trainer titles here - and jockey John Velazquez.

"You can't win any until you win that first one, so it's nice to get this one," said Pletcher, who also trains The Roundhouse.

More Than Ready, who won his first five starts, gave Pletcher his first Sanford in 1999, winning by 9 3/4 lengths in 1:09.60 for six furlongs. Ready's Image, who won for the third time in four starts, gave Pletcher his fourth Sanford, running six furlongs in 1:09.90.

Ready's Image looks just like More Than Ready, which was why James Scatuorchio - who owned More Than Ready - spent $410,000 to buy the colt at auction.

Pletcher added blinkers to Ready's Image's equipment prior to the Tremont, and he responded by breaking better and winning by nearly eight lengths. On Thursday, he broke well from post 9 and stalked the pace established by Fed Watcher, who set fractions of 22.08 and 45.30 seconds.

Turning into the stretch, Ready's Image came outside of Fed Watcher, who began to drift out into him. Velazquez gave Ready's Image a smack on the shoulder, and he took off with a strong stretch run. Ready's Image returned $3.80.

Velazquez said Ready's Image ran a little spotty at the top of the stretch, so "I got mad at him and kind of slapped him on the shoulder, and as soon as he got head and head with [Fed Watcher], he got serious. He got into another gear and went on."

Pletcher said it was nice to see Ready's Image race comfortably from off the pace.

"This colt's still learning," Pletcher said. "You could see when he made the lead he kind of pricked his ears, he was looking around. He's got a ton of ability, and the fact that he's still improving is very encouraging."

Ready's Image will likely come back in the Grade 1 Hopeful on Sept. 3.

* Precise Lady, the longest shot on the board in a seven-horse field, rallied seven wide down the center of the main track under Javier Castellano to win the $82,750 Dancin Renee Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares by 2 1/4 lengths.

Stolen Star finished second by a nose over Lovely Dream.

Precise Lady, trained by Pat Kelly and owned by Trinity Farm, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.82 and returned $35.20.

* Truly Blushed ($30.60) led gate to wire to win the $82,450 Hush Dear Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf. Roberto Alvarado rode the winner for trainer Scott Lake and Aces Full Racing Stable. Truly Blushed covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.02 over a firm Mellon turf course.