November 30, 2020

Constitution’s Our Country, American Pharoah’s Eagerly clash in With Anticipation

Field Pass beat Our Country in a July 13 maiden at Saratoga (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

Freshman sire Constitution has gotten off to a fast start with two graded winners already this summer, and Our Country will try to raise the tally to three in Wednesday’s $150,000 With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga. But another hot freshman, Triple Crown star American Pharoah, counters with a smart prospect of his own in this potential stepping stone to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in Eagerly.

Our Country, a troubled fourth to Field Pass in a key maiden over this same 1 1/16-mile trip on the Spa’s inner turf, took a leap forward next time on the Mellon course. Sweeping from midpack for Manny Franco, the George Weaver juvenile drew off by 5 3/4 lengths in a dominant display. If he can follow up on Wednesday, Our Country would become the first turf stakes victor for Constitution, whose By Your Side captured the Sanford (G3) and Amalfi Sunrise romped in Del Mar’s Sorrento (G2).

Eagerly represents trainer Todd Pletcher, who owns the stakes record with six winners. Two of those were breaking their maidens in the With Anticipation, including last year’s hero Opry, so bettors shouldn’t be put off by the fact that Eagerly comes off a debut loss. Last behind a slow pace in a July 27 maiden on the Mellon, the Michael Tabor runner rallied for an eye-catching third as the favorite. If Eagerly opens his account here, he’d continue American Pharoah’s success on turf. So far all of his stakes performers have come on the grass, notably Another Miracle in the Skidmore at the Spa.

Tuggle, bred to route on turf as a son of Point of Entry, switches to this surface after a third to the impressive Green Light Go in the Saratoga Special (G2). Trainer Jeremiah Englehart intended to start him out on the grass, but his Belmont debut was transferred to the main track. Interestingly, the colt whom Tuggle beat in that off-the-turf maiden, Montauk Daddy, went on to score next out and just finished third in the Skidmore.

Field Pass warrants respect for prevailing in the aforementioned salty maiden, yet it could be significant that the Mike Maker pupil had the benefit of experience. The Lemon Drop Kid colt was a closing second in a turf sprint maiden at Ellis Park to Axiomo, who won again before finishing fifth in the TwinSpires Ellis Park Juvenile. On the stretch-out at Saratoga, Field Pass worked out a good trip and got the jump on firster Decorated Invader, himself a smashing winner in his second try like Our Country. Thus Field Pass still needs to confirm the maiden form in the rematch.

Ken McPeek’s Fighting Seabee brings solid form from his debut victory on the Ellis turf. Runner-up Billy Batts, previously fourth in the Axiomo/Field Pass maiden, subsequently shipped to Del Mar and won. Fighting Seabee also adds to the freshman sire angle as a son of Summer Front.

French import Jack the Ripper makes his U.S. debut for Mike Stidham. Seventh in the Saint-Cloud newcomers’ event won by well-regarded Arapaho, the Dabirsim colt headed to the provinces and won well at Senonnes-Pouancé. He appeared to be a bit of a handful there, so it will be interesting to see how Joel Rosario gets on with him.

Fly Fly Away, a First Samurai half-brother to millionaire turf sprinter Disco Partner, is also his stablemate in the Christophe Clement barn. The gray was up in time to take a New York-bred maiden in a photo, and now tries open company as well as two turns. Irad Ortiz Jr. stays aboard. Brad Cox sends out Andesite, a debut winner on the Indiana Grand turf who lures Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.

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