A field of eight juvenile colts has been entered to go six furlongs in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3) on Saturday, the opening weekend at Saratoga. Each colt boasts a maiden win, and one in the group has already faced stakes company.
BANO SOLO will attempt to continue his winning ways in this spot for trainer Steve Asmussen following a three-length wire job in a five-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs on June 23. The Goldencents colt earned an 83 BRIS Speed rating for that effort, and has posted three works over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track since his debut. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the return call.
WHISKEY ECHO gets first-time Lasix in the Sanford after leading all the way for a 3 3/4-length score at Belmont Park on June 10 that netted him a 77 BRIS Speed figure. The Asmussen trainee was never challenged and cruised home under Irad Ortiz Jr., who retains the mount. The Tiznow dark bay breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:01.45 on July 9 over Saratoga’s Oklahoma dirt training track.
SOMBEYAY is one of only two in this field with a pair of starts. After breaking his maiden by 6 1/4 lengths on April 27 at Gulfstream Park, the Todd Pletcher pupil showed up at Belmont Park on June 8 for the Tremont Stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs. The bay son of Into Mischief stumbled at the start, found himself in the rear of the field, but rallied well to just miss by three parts of a length in second. Sombeyay was awarded an 82 BRIS Speed figure for his stakes bow and gets a jockey switch to Javier Castellano on Saturday.
Pletcher will also saddle LEXITONIAN off a one-length maiden score at Belmont Park on June 27. The chestnut son of Speightstown, who garnered an 81 BRIS Speed rating, gets John Velazquez back in the saddle.
CHASE GREATNESS is the other dual starter in the Sanford. The More Than Ready chestnut finished fourth in his first start at Churchill Downs in late May but returned a month later to take a 5 1/2-furlong, off-the-turf contest under the Twin Spires by a half-length. The Horacio DePaz trainee earned an 88 BRIS Speed rating for that win, and keeps jockey Robby Albarado in the irons.
STRIKE SILVER also earned a field-best 88 BRIS Speed figure when capturing his maiden debut at Churchill Downs on June 14. The Mark Casse charge recorded a half-mile bullet in :47.40 at Keeneland on July 6 before shipping to Saratoga and posting a four-furlong move in :51.55 over the main track a week later. Florent Geroux takes the mount.
Like Asmussen and Pletcher, Casse has a second entry in the Sanford. DREAM MAKER took his maiden bow at Churchill Downs on June 7, rallying from last to grab command and draw off for the three-length victory. That saw the gray son of Tapit awarded an 83 BRIS Speed rating, and he reunites with jockey Julien Leparoux in this spot.
KNICKS GO rounds out the Sanford field for trainer Ben Colebrook. The Paynter colt captured his career bow at Ellis Park on Independence Day, scoring a 3 1/2-length front-running win. He boasts a 76 BRIS Speed figure for that effort and gets the services of jockey Luis Saez on Saturday.