(Cogburn wins the G1 Jaipur at Saratoga on Saturday / Photo by Chelsea Durand & Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team / Mary Eddy:

The Saratoga Race Course Mellon turf saw its record for 5 1/2 furlongs fall to Cogburn in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Jaipur as the fleet-footed son of Not This Time dominated the sprint for 3-year-olds and up at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

The Jaipur awarded a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Del Mar and was one of nine graded stakes lined up on the loaded 14-race Belmont Stakes Day card, which is highlighted by the 156th running of the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets in Race 12.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Cogburn’s final time of 59.80 seconds, which according to Equibase is a North American record on turf, shattered the previous course record of 1:00.21 set by Carotari in 2019, and came in his second consecutive graded stakes score after taking Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint on May 4.

Asmussen, who also trained exceptionally fast Champions Echo Zulu, Jackie’s Warrior and Mitole, marveled at Cogburn’s ability.

Trainer Steve Asmussen:

“I’ve had some of the fastest horses in the world, some of the fastest horses of all time, and he’s still the first one I’ve ever had run five-and-a-half furlongs in under a minute,” said Asmussen. “Five and a half furlongs in under a minute. That’s not five-eighths five, that’s five-and-a-half. That’s basically a sixteenth of a mile faster than a fast horse.”

Asmussen added Cogburn demonstrated improved gate skills today.

“Today, we obviously had extremely high expectations of him. He did have a tendency of getting a little bit left in the gate last year,” Asmussen said. “But today, from the first jump, his head was in front and it was all smooth from there. Smooth.”

“He’s unbelievably impressive. He’s an absolutely different horse since being switched to the turf. Absolutely,” said Asmussen. “We moved him to the turf because I didn’t feel that he had met his potential the way that he had trained. He’d run solid on the dirt, but we expected better from him. Then, we moved him to the turf and he had some success but did it a little too late in the year last year. We gave him a freshening and he’s come back an absolute monster.”

Rider Irad Ortiz, Jr: 

Ortiz, Jr., who notched his third win on the card after scores in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun with Book’em Danno and the Grade 2 Suburban aboard Crupi, said Cogburn’s speed is something to behold.

“So fast. I can’t believe it. He was a rocket ship [out of the gate],” Ortiz, Jr. said. “After that, I just sit on him and relax. When it was the time to go, turning for home, I felt like he was loaded. I asked him to go and he responded really well. I asked him and he gave me what he go, all the way to the wire. That was nice.”

Rider Jaime Torres:

Torres, aboard the late-running runner-up Arzak, said the Michael Trombetta trainee overcame a difficult post to put in an admirable effort.

“We had a tough post in the 2-spot. I was going to kind of let him break how he wants, and everybody came down, so it was compact,” said Torres. “I had to wait to the last moment to take him out and make a run. He ran huge. That was a track record and he was only a few lengths behind. He ran really, really good.”

The Jaipur saw trainer Charlie Appleby saddle two contenders as the filly Star of Mystery and gelding Mischief Magic finished a respective third and sixth. The veteran conditioner said both horses are likely to target the Grade 2, $300,000 Troy on August 3 here.

Trainer Charles Appleby: 

“We are delighted with the filly, obviously. For her first experience here, she’s given Flavien [Prat] his money’s worth,” said Appleby. “What I liked about it is she’s done it the right way. She’s jumped, she’s traveled and she’s finished. I think a race like the Troy will suit her. Mischief Magic was his usual self. He’s always one of those horses who will come home good and you’ll always be thinking ‘well, next time’ with him. Both ran solid and we’ll probably run them back together in the Troy.”