Saratoga Stakes Preview: Tomato Bill Headlines Saturday’s Sanford Stakes

(Trainer Eddie Kenneally will saddle By Your Side in the Sanford / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the NYRA Media Team:

The Christophe Clement-trained Tomato Bill will make his first stakes appearance as part of a talented five-horse field in the six-furlong Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

One of two graded stakes on the day, along with the featured Grade 1, $500,000 Diana for fillies and mares on the turf, the 105th running of the Sanford is the summer meet’s first stakes for 2-year-old males and will see Tomato Bill looking to build on his 3 ¾-length debut win at five furlongs on May 22 at Delaware Park.

Owned by George Bolton, Three Chimneys Farm, Barry Lipman, Lady Sheila Stable and David Lipman, the More Than Ready colt has been stabled at Saratoga since June and recorded his final breeze before the Sanford on Saturday, covering five furlongs in 1:01.74 on the main track.

“Tomato Bill had a nice work on Saturday and has been training well,” Clement said. “We took him to the gate and he galloped out today, and he looked good. It’s a very good race but he’s an exciting horse. He’s 1-for-1, so let’s step him up and see what happens.”

Purchased for $500,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale on the other side of Union Avenue, Tomato Bill will look to impress track-side, drawing post 4 with Kendrick Carmouche on the call.

“He’s a nice horse and a very imposing horse to look at,” Clement said. “It’s always special for a 2-year-old stakes at Saratoga. It’s always fun. He’s doing well, and it’s exciting.”

The Quarter Company’s Raging Whiskey broke his maiden at second asking and will now make his stakes debut for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Raging Whiskey, trained by Luis Mendez through both of his starts, ran sixth in a 4 ½-furlong sprint on May 19 over a fast Santa Anita track in a race won by the O’Neill-conditioned Fore Left, who won the Tremont on June 7 at Belmont Park.

Next out, the Twirling Candy colt bested a six-horse field to win by 2 ¼ lengths over the same track and distance on June 2. With O’Neill taking over the training duties, Raging Whiskey shipped east and breezed four furlongs in 51.88 seconds on July 6 over Belmont’s main track.

“Raging Whiskey ran against a nice colt of ours named Fore Left and he ran a very solid race to him, then came back to win,” O’Neill said. “I’m real excited about his addition to our stable. He’s made a real smooth transition to our barn and I’m very optimistic about his chances this Saturday.”

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano picks up the mount, with the duo breaking from post 2.

Anderson Stable’s By Your Side will also make his first stakes start as he looks to build on his win on June 14 at Churchill Downs. The son of Constitution outkicked Basin by a nose to win the 5 ½-furlong sprint.

Trained by Eddie Kenneally, By Your Side was a $240,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He will depart from post 5 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.

Donald Dizney’s Cucina ran second to Man With a Plan in the 4 ½-furlong main-track sprint on May 26 at Gulfstream Park and won an off-the-turf five-furlong sprint on June 21 at Belmont, edging Hai Bobbi by a neck.

Trained by Mark Casse, Cucina, a son of Northern Afleet, drew post 3 with Tyler Gaffalione picking up the mount.

“We ran him at Gulfstream and kind of got away slow but made a run, a middle move, and ran good. But off of that, I told Mr. Dizney that I thought he could compete in New York,” Casse said. “We had him in on the grass and it came off, but he ran good. We entered and we’ll have a look. He’s been training well. I think ultimately, his best race will be on the grass, but we’ll see.”

K E M Stables’ Memorable is the field’s only entrant with stakes experience, running fifth in the Tremont 7 on Big Sandy as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. A first-out winner on May 2 at Churchill Downs, Memorable, bought for $100,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March, will head into his first graded stakes looking to rebound.

After two breezes at Saratoga, including a three-furlong work in 38.62 seconds on Sunday, Memorable will draw post 1 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard.

The Sanford is carded as Race 3 as a part of Saturday’s 11-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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