January 27, 2023

With Anticipation kicks off final week at Saratoga

The grassy With Anticipation kicks off the final week of the 2018 Saratoga meet (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Considering the subsequent exploits of 2017 winner Catholic Boy, Wednesday’s $150,000 With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga could be worth more than a casual glance in search of a future star.

Generally a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), the 1 1/16-mile With Anticipation produced arguably its most accomplished graduate in Catholic Boy. Fourth to Mendelssohn in the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, the son of More Than Ready later notched the Remsen (G2), Belmont Derby (G1), and Saturday’s Travers (G1) over Mendelssohn.

The morning line favorite is Swamp Rat, who won on debut at Belmont over returning rival Joyful Heart and was a rallying second last out in the 5 1/2-furlong Skidmore. Also likely to attract play is Somelikeithotbrown, who romped against New York-bred maidens on August 8 in a race notably run at the wrong distance. The field of juveniles wound up running nine furlongs rather than the scheduled 1 1/16 miles. The son of Big Brown was ahead by a significant margin at both the 1 1/16-mile mark and the finish.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has more or less dominated the With Anticipation over the past decade, winning three of the past five editions and five altogether since 2008. Recent maiden winner Seanow and Opry, a close third in his debut on the main track, are the stable’s representatives.

Yes and Yes won at first asking over eventual Skidmore winner Chattel in late May, but was only eighth to that rival in that $100,000 stakes on August 17. Another debut winner Henley’s Joy, graduated at Ellis Park in July for trainer Mike Maker.

Four of the 12 two-year-olds entered are main-track-only entrants.