08/15/2011 2:08PM

Saratoga: Awakino Cat going for third Troy in in a row


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Awakino Cat returns to his favorite course – and his favorite race – when he seeks a three-peat in the $75,000 Troy Stakes, the featured event on Wednesday’s 10-race card at Saratoga.

Awakino Cat, a 6-year-old gelding trained and partly owned by Linda Rice, is 4 for 5 at Saratoga, including victories in the 2009 and 2010 Troy, run at 5 1/2 furlongs. Awakino Cat’s only loss on the Saratoga turf came in his career debut four years ago.

“Every year he seems to run his best races at Saratoga. It’s obviously his favorite course,” trainer Linda Rice said. “I think he’s rounding back into form right now also. I’m excited about running him this week.”

Awakino Cat has lost all five of his starts this year, but did finish a hard-charging fourth, beaten less than a length by Ben’s Cat, in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governors Cup at Penn National on July 30.

“It was a pretty good effort. He was a little further back than I like him, but he was making a strong move at the end of it,” Rice said. “I was really happy to have him coming back into form as we were going into the Saratoga meet.”

Given the weather forecast the turf course figures to be less than firm. Awakino Cat won the Quick Call Stakes on good ground here last year.

Ramon Dominguez will ride Awakino Cat from post 3.

Awakino Cat is not the only member of this field who likes Saratoga. Bridgetown, a 4-year-old son of Speightstown, is 2 for 2 here, including a maiden wins in Aug. 2009 and a victory in the Latham Stakes over yielding turf last August. Bridgetown is making his first start since he finished 12th in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14, a race in which he chased the early pace.

“He didn’t behave very well in the gate, got a bit excited in the paddock, which was a bit disappointing,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He came back from it well. I hope the ground will suit him. Obviously, we’ll have a decision to make if it comes off.”

Bridgetown, the 123-pound highweight, breaks from post 6.

Bridgetown figures either on or near the lead, but there are other speed types in here such as Wildcat Frankie, who has never raced on the turf, Pashito the Che, who would be the one to beat if this race gets switched to dirt, and potentially Yield Bogey, who finished third to Awakino Cat in both the Troy and Frank Sullivan Stakes here last year. Yield Bogey came from off the pace in both of those races.

Goldzar, winless in five starts on turf, completes the field. Be Bullish is entered for the main track only.