09/03/2010 6:17PM

Soldat latest maiden to score in With Anticipation Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Soldat and jockey Alan Garcia are comfortable winners of Friday's With Anticipation Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Here’s a tip for handicapping next year’s With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga. Bet the maiden.

For the fourth time in the six-year history of the With Anticipation, a maiden won. Friday, it was Soldat, second in a pair of sprint stakes, who successfully stretched out in distance and who took to the turf with aplomb, cruising to a three-length victory over 2-1 favorite Powhatan County in the Grade 3, $100,000 With Anticipation at Saratoga. It was 3 1/4 lengths back to Typhoon Slew in third.

Soldat joined Stream Cat, Fernando Po, and Nownownow as maiden 2-year-olds that won the With Anticipation.

Soldat, a son of War Front, had finished second in two pretty hot maiden dirt sprints at Belmont Park and Saratoga, respectively. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin worked Soldat on the Oklahoma turf course on Aug. 13 and he liked what he saw as the colt went a half-mile in 47.40 seconds.
Thinking ahead to a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, McLaughlin and his owners, Harvey Clarke and Craig Robertson, opted to try the With Anticipation rather than a maiden race

“Now we can look at the Breeders’ Cup,” McLaughlin said. “There’s only a couple of graded stakes for 2-year-olds on the turf. We could have always gone back to a maiden race. He worked real well on [turf] so we thought he liked it.”

Under Alan Garcia, Soldat stalked the pacesetting Typhoon Slew through fractions of 23.09 seconds, 47.97, and 1:12.35 for six furlongs. Soldat went after Typhoon Slew turning for home, collared him inside the eighth pole and cruised home an authoritative winner.

Soldat covered the 1 1/16 miles over a firm outer turf course in 1:41.37 and returned $19.40 to win.

“This horse loved the grass,” Garcia said. “When I asked my horse to run at the quarter pole he took off.”

McLaughlin said he would look at the Grade 3, $150,000 Pilgrim Breeders’ Cup on Oct. 3 at Belmont for Soldat’s next start as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill on Nov. 6.

Wicked Diva holds on in Saratoga Dew

Wicked Diva, Ramon Dominguez up, set soft fractions while racing on the lead and held off Banker’s Buy by a head to win Friday’s $70,000 Saratoga Dew Stakes. Banker’s Buy, the 8-5 favorite, got second by a nose over Don’t Forget Gil.

Wicked Diva, owned and trained by Mike Hushion, covered the 1 1/8 miles over a fast main track in 1:52.77 and returned $10.20.