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Saratoga: Bern Identity shows he's the real deal in Sanford
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Kelly Breen took stalls at Saratoga for the first time because he thought he had horses - especially 2-year-olds - that could compete at this elite meeting. Breen’s assessment was spot on as Bern Identity backed up his 13 3/4-length maiden win at Belmont on June 1 with a 1 1/4-length victory in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga.
Handsome Jack, part of a hot early pace, held on for second by three-quarters of a length over a late-running Onetwentyeight. Brave Dave, who blew the turn after dueling with Handsome Jack, finished fourth, and was followed in the order of finish by John Gordon, Special Jo, Hightail and Rose Junction.
In addition to earning the first-place prize of $120,000, Bern Identity also earned his connections, owners George and Lori Hall, a $100,000 bonus since the horse won a maiden race at Belmont Park.
[Complete coverage of racing at Saratoga: News, PPs, and video]
Rosie Napravnik rode Bern Identity, and appeared to be a bit emotional after the win.
“Lori asked me if this was my first Sanford and I said yes,” Napravnik said.”I’ve had a lot of firsts with these guys, so they’re great supporters and I’m glad to be riding this horse for them.”
Bern Identity showed tremendous speed in his maiden win at Belmont. On Sunday, however, he was bumped at the start and was outrun to the lead by Handsome Jack and Brave Dave. That pair dueled heads apart through a quarter in 21.60 seconds and a half-mile in 44.70. Bern Identity raced in the second flight, inside of Special Jo and Rose Junction.
Coming to the top of the stretch, Brave Dave drifted out badly, and Handsome Jack, under Joel Rosario, slipped away to the lead. But Bern Identity was guided off the rail by Napravnik, collared Handsome Jack inside the sixteenth pole and edged away late for the victory.
Bern Identity, a son of Bernstein, covered the six furlongs in 1:11.13 and returned $5.60 as the 9-5 favorite.
“He didn’t break great, but in a blink of an eye we’re a length behind,” Breen said. “Watching Rosie pretty closely, she had to ride him coming out of there. Around the turn it was a little nerve wracking - is he going to keep on coming? - because she never really had a chance to give him a breather. So he showed a lot of grit.”
The Sanford is the first of three Grade 2 stakes for juveniles run at the meet. It is unclear whether Breen would stretch Bern Identity out to seven furlongs in a race like the Grade 2 Hopeful on Sept. 2.
Breen said his long-range goal with Bern Identity for this year might be the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita in early November.
“His mother was a sprinter, so I don’t know if we want to go much further right now,” Breen said.
Am I the only one who thinks that if Brave Dave handles the turn he wins the race?
real deal is a bit premature,he got a perfect pace setup and saved a lot of ground.that said he won ,i thought handsome jack was more impressive he dueld everybody into the ground going fast and was the only speed left standing fighting all the way to the wire,the 3rd horse onetwentyeight might have a future going longer,he galloped out well.
Joel Rosero killed the second horse going 21, 44 and change.When I bet on these so called top riders it is like throwing my money in the trash can. Rosie is riding good, and one of these days i'll cash a bet on her, but for now she has been beating me like a drum.
Kelly Breen is so underrated. He learned from the best 2-year-old developer out there. So expect a lot more from him in the future with babies. I remember him from the backstretch at Monmouth Park back in the day. Keep it going Kelly!
Rosie is taking over. She already has her hooks in top female jock to ever ride,..
Is Rose Junction injured or just slow?
The horse to watch out of there is the 3rd place horse lot of run between horse !
He should go next in the Champagne to see what he's got. The over 2 month rest and a 1-turn mile shouldn't hurt the horse too bad if he is just a sprinter after all. But if he wins why not try the Juvenile?
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