Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen are each well-represented by a pair of 2-year-olds but Call Paul deserves top billing in Sunday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2). Based at Monmouth Park with Jason Servis, the bay colt invades the Spa off a smashing maiden tally at Delaware Park in which he registered a 98 BRIS Speed rating, an outstanding number for a career debut.
Purchased for $210,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Maryland sale in May, Call Paul was bet down to 2-5 and vied for the early lead before drawing away to a 2 ¼-length decision, winning with seemingly plenty in reserve and completing 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.23. Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount on the Pennsylvania-bred son of Friesan Fire.
Five of the six contestants are exiting first-out maiden wins and Meade left a favorable impression when being unveiled at Belmont Park on July 7, recording a 2 ½-length front-running triumph. The Pletcher-trained Street Sense colt keeps Jose Ortiz in the irons. His stablemate, Spinoff, exits a 1 ¼-length score at Gulfstream Park and the son of Hard Spun will receive a rider switch to John Velazquez.
Sir Truebadour and Tight Ten will go postward for Asmussen. Sir Truebadour is the lone entrant with stakes experience, posting a two-length victory in the June 30 Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs, and the speedy More Than Ready colt adds Joel Rosario. Ricardo Santana Jr. rode both Asmussen trainees last time and opts to pilot Tight Ten, an eye-catching winner under the Twin Spires on June 28. The Tapit colt earned an 85 Speed, the second-best last out number in the field, and Tight Ten promises to be forward from the break.
Stage Left, a four-length maiden winner at Keeneland in his lone appearance, completes the line-up. Jose Lezcano takes over the reins for Wesley Ward on the Congrats gelding.
One race after the Saratoga Special, eight distaffers will square off in the $200,000 Waya (G3) at 1 ½ miles on the inner turf and Chad Brown figures prominently with Santa Monica and Homeland Security.
An English-bred daughter of Mastercraftsman, Santa Monica won a Group 3 event in Ireland but the five-year-old has discovered her best form stateside this season, capturing the Dance Smartly (G2) at Woodbine most recently. Jose Ortiz guides the bay mare. Homeland Security enters on the upswing following a win in her stakes debut, the July 8 River Memories at Belmont Park, and and Irad Ortiz has the call.
Lottie and Summersault, the second- and third-place finishers last year, are back for the Waya and multiple Grade 3 queen Tricky Escape merits respect off a win in the Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) at Delaware.