October 24, 2020

Basin leads Amussen trifecta in Saratoga’s closing-day Hopeful

Basin topped an all Steve Asmussen trifecta in the Hopeful (NYRA/Coglianese Photography)

On a wet, closing day at Saratoga on Labor Day, the aptly-named Basin skipped over the sloppy track to post a commanding victory in the $350,000 Hopeful (G1) while leading a one-two-three finish for Steve Asmussen trainees in the Spa’s premier juvenile event.

A tracking third as stablemate Gozilla, the 6-5 favorite, was pressured into early fractions of :22.66 and :45.84 by longshot American Butterfly, Basin enjoyed an ideal setup. Ranging into contention in upper stretch, Basin finished full of run down the middle of the track under Jose Ortiz and drew off to score by 6 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:23.48 for seven furlongs.

“I saw them going at it and it was the first time going seven furlongs, so you’ve got to be a little careful,” Ortiz said. “I just took my time. I could have moved a little earlier, but I didn’t want to since they were fighting. I gave my horse a really nice breather from the half-mile to the quarter pole and that made a difference. I made just one move with him.”

Owned by Jackpot Farm, Basin paid $8.20. Shoplifted, the early trailer, caught Gozilla for the place by a neck.

“I think that the day suited him with the post-position draw and the way that it came out,” Asmussen said of Basin. “Those are three very talented horses and hopefully that’s the last time they’ll run against each other for a while.

“Gozilla didn’t get a lot out of his maiden race and he was back in 22 days; Ricardo (Santana Jr.) said he was blowing afterwards. Joel (Rosario) thought that Shoplifted spun his wheels away from there and it took him quite a while to get on his feet.”

A debut second at Churchill Downs by a nose to By Your Side, who ran fifth in the Hopeful, Basin rebounded to graduate on July 21 at Saratoga, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths over Three Technique, himself a dominating Saratoga maiden winner this past Saturday. Basin has now earned $261,000.

From the first crop of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Liam’s Map, Basin was produced the Johannesburg mare Appenzell, who’s also reared Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) winner Rise Up. Bred in Kentucky by Cottonwood Stables, he was a $150,000 Keeneland September purchase.

“I’ve always been surprised with how much speed he (Basin) showed,” Asmussen said. “Physically, and pedigree wise, we were excited about him running long and we were surprised at how sharp he was the first time he ran.”