September 21, 2020

Competition increases for Cazadero in Saratoga Special

Cazadero romps in the Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs (Coady Photography)

Cazadero was a runaway winner in both starts at Churchill Downs this spring, but continuing to have his running shoes on will be required as he faces some potentially stiff challenges Friday in the $150,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) over 6 furlongs.

Slightly flying under the radar, for a Steve Asmussen trainee, ahead of his May 29 debut, Cazadero proceeded to romp by 8 3/4 lengths at odds of 5-1. Bettors didn’t need much more evidence ahead of the Bashford Manor (G3) a month later, and the Street Sense colt duly won by 4 3/4 lengths at odds of 2-5.

“Its nice to have a couple of races under his belt heading into a race like this at Saratoga,” said assistant trainer Scott Blasi. “He came in very well-respected and hasn’t done anything wrong yet.”

Stablemate Jackie’s Warrior could have a say in the outcome following a 2 1/2-length debut win at Churchill over Therideofalifetime, who subsequently flattered the form with a dominating graduation at Keeneland.

“It was a very impressive maiden special weight at Churchill. Fast times and talented horses as well,” Blasi said.

The field includes another 2-for-2 colt in Papetu, who invades from South Florida for trainer Antonio Sano. Momos, meanwhile, won on debut by 6 1/2 lengths at Saratoga and wheels back in three weeks for the red-hot Christophe Clement barn.

“I could have trained for the Hopeful (G1) going seven-eighths at the end of the meet, but this is the best of the choices, so to speak,” Clement said. “I just would like to keep him going short in a stakes on dirt and this was the logical one. He seems to be very fast, so why change something that is working?”