08/28/2012 1:21PM

Saratoga: Joha going long in With Anticipation Stakes

Michael Burns
Joha, winner of the Colin Stakes at Woodbine, will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles on turf in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Even though Joha was successful running in sprints, trainer Mike Maker always believed the horse’s true talent would come through when he got to run long.

Thursday, Joha gets that opportunity when he heads a full field in the Grade 2, $200,000 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga. The With Anticipation, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf course, drew an overflow field of 13 plus three horses entered in case the race is moved to the main track. Despite rain here Tuesday morning, the forecast calls for dry conditions Thursday and beyond.

Joha, a son of Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Johar, has a record of 2-1-1 from four starts, all at six furlongs or shorter. On May 24, Joha won a six-furlong turf race at Belmont by 2 3/4 lengths. On July 12, he overcame traffic to run down Honorable Guest to win the $152,000 Colin Stakes, a six-furlong race run over Woodbine’s synthetic surface.

“I’ve been dying to get him stretched out for a while, I’m really looking forward to this race,” said Maker, who trains Joha for Wade Wacker.

Joha ran a terrific race in the Colin. Trapped behind horses in upper stretch, Joha couldn’t get out until Honorable Guest cleared him above the eighth pole and opened up about three lengths on him. When Justin Stein got Joha in the clear, he came with a strong late kick to get up, and galloped out eight or more lengths in front of the field.

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“He’s got a great turn of foot,” Maker said. “His gallop-outs in his races have been tremendous. Watching him gallop out in his last race was just incredible.”

Ramon Dominguez, the leading rider at this meet, will ride Joha from post 6.

Ken McPeek and Todd Pletcher each have two horses to run in the With Anticipation.

McPeek has the coupled entry of Sonofasamurai and He’s So Fine. After finishing second in his debut at Ellis Park, Sonofasamurai won a maiden race here by three lengths Aug. 18. He’s So Fine, a son of Purge, has made all three of his starts on dirt, winning a maiden claimer at Belmont before finishing second to Spurious Precision in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. Neither horse runs on Lasix.

McPeek said he’s not worried about the 12-day turnaround for Sonofasamurai, saying “If [Richard] Dutrow can do it in three days, I can do it in 12,” a reference to Willy Beamin winning the Grade 1 King’s Bishop three days after winning the Albany.

McPeek said “more distance the better” for He’s So Fine, though the turf is an unknown.

Pletcher wheels Notacatbutallama back 10 days after winning a maiden race by 6 1/2 lengths here.

“He’s a pretty sturdy little colt and seemed to bounce back in a hurry,” Pletcher said. “Back on short rest, but he seems to be thriving at the moment, so we might take a shot.”

Charming Kitten was a sharp debut winner here July 28, stalking the pace while three wide and drawing off in the stretch.

“He ran to the way he had been training,” Pletcher said. “We’ve been pointing to this race since then.”

Craving Carats, a front-running winner here Aug. 4, is another already experienced at the distance.