(Book’em Danno wins the G1 Woody Stephens at Saratoga / Photo by Susie Raisher & Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team / Keith McCalmont:

Atlantic Six Racing’s Book’em Danno sat off a scintillating pace before swooping to an impressive victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Derek Ryan and expertly piloted from the inside post by Irad Ortiz, Jr., the son of Bucchero entered from a more than three-month layoff following a heartbreaking head loss to then undefeated Forever Young – the eventual Grade 1 Kentucky Derby third-place finisher – in the Group 3 Saudi Derby on February 24 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.

Ryan recalled his multiple graded stakes-winning filly Irish Jasper finishing fourth in the 2015 Grade 1 Test here after exiting post one in a race won by the Ortiz, Jr.-piloted Cavorting.

Trainer Derek Ryan: 

“The one-hole wasn’t great. I had a filly in the Test a few years ago. But I don’t really have too many good horses like this, and she finished [fourth] because of the one-hole,” said Ryan, who secured his first Grade 1 win. “So I was hoping that Irad could work a good trip out. They were going pretty fast. But it’s Irad. You don’t have to worry when you’ve got Irad.”

Ryan indicated that Book’em Danno could return to the Spa for the seven-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial on August 24.

“Seven furlongs is perfect for him. The Allen Jerkens would be the main goal for the rest of the summer,” Ryan said.

Rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.: 

Ortiz, Jr. said Book’em Danno was relaxed behind the hot pace.

“When I started moving, he started finding really well on the turn,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “He started responding really, really good on the turn so that helped a lot. Turning for home, I was still in a hold, then I asked him, and he gave me a good kick at the end. That was great. He is a nice horse.”

Rider Flavien Prat: 

Prince of Monaco, trained by Bob Baffert, won a pair of graded events last year at Del Mar with scores in the Grade 3 Best Pal and Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. He was a non-threatening fifth last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Santa Anita Park.

“The horse beside me stumbled out of there and hit my hind-end,” Prat said. “I lost a couple of lengths there. After that we regrouped, and he made a nice run.”

Rider Junior Alvarado: 

Jockey Junior Alvarado said the Gary Contessa-trained Nutella Fella, who won the Grade 1 Hopeful here last summer at 54-1, was valiant in defeat off a nine-month layoff.

“I was at the back of the pack, like I was expecting with him, and with a lot of pace in front. By the three-eighths pole I started picking them up little by little. He was there for me,” Alvarado said. “When I asked him at the five-sixteenths I felt that I had a lot of horse underneath me, so I pulled him outside. He came out with a great run. Nothing to be ashamed of with this third today coming from a big layoff. Mr. Contessa did an amazing job to get him this good until this point, and hopefully we can move forward from this race.”