From the Spa: August 14 Midlantic-breds in Saratoga stakes
by Joseph Aiello
“From the Spa” returns to keep you up-to-date on horses bred in the mid-Atlantic racing in Saratoga stakes
This Saturday at the Spa brings two graded stakes races towards the end of the card in the Grade II Saratoga Special and Grade I Fourstardave Handicap. The Special is the ninth race, a six and one half furlong dirt sprint for two year olds, fielding one of our Midlantic breds, Dance Code, returning from the Grade III Sanford earlier this meet. In addition to that race, the Fourstardave brings in two Midlantic runners who have already won at Saratoga in years past, with Daddy Is a Legend and Field Pass shooting their shot for the half a million in purse money. While these races look like tough spots for all three runners, they at least have experience over the track which can be a deciding factor between a good and bad showing.
Breaking from the nine post in the ninth race is Dance Code, a Pennsylvania bred by Honor Code – Dancinginthestreet, by Street Boss. Dance Code finished a distant third in the Sanford last month, which could inflate his post time odds even higher than his 15/1 morning line number. Still, this colt is only one of three who has competed at Saratoga, and has plenty of room to improve as a two year old. Even with a struggling jockey-trainer combination in Jose Lezcano and Juan Vazquez, coming out of a grade III is never a bad thing, and another try at Saratoga could be exactly what this two year old needs to pull off a stunning upset. Dance Code was bred by Blackstone Farm LLC and is owned by Richie’s World Stables LLC.
For the tenth race, the turf mile Fourstardave, our Midlantic entries will both be facing an uphill battle, but have had their fair share of career success, each with over half a million in career earnings. Starting with the co longest morning line shot at 20/1, Daddy Is a Legend will break from the three post with the returning connections of jockey Manny Franco and trainer George Weaver. By Scat Daddy – Randie’s Legend, by Benchmark, this dark brown mare was purchased for $160,000 by Jim and Susan Hill as a yearling, and already has a graded stakes win at the Spa under his belt from three summers ago. Since then, however, winning has been hard to come by, with a couple of long layoffs preventing her from racing. Her return to the track this year has been encouraging though, with a win and a close third in two starts. If she can find her form from years ago, this six year old could be a sneaky contender here. Daddy Is a Legend was bred in Pennsylvania by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC.
At shorter morning line odds of 8/1, Field Pass is a classy Maryland-bred colt bred by Mark Brown Grier who will break from the seven post. This Michael Maker trainee has run almost exclusively in graded stakes races, and comes off an impressive 2020 campaign where he won five of ten tries. This year, what began as a struggle turned into triumph, with a recent Grade III win at Pimlico just over two weeks ago. Clearly Field Pass has plenty left in the tank in his racing career, and sticking to one of his preferred distances of a mile should set him up for a strong effort here. By Lemon Drop Kid – Only Me, by Runaway Groom, Field Pass will get Ricardo Santana back in the irons from his try in late June, a jockey who is familiar with riding for Maker over the past year. In their one hundred and three races together over that time frame, Maker and Santana have won at a near twenty percent clip, as they both look to keep up their strong individual winning percentages so far this meet. Field Pass will be looking to get his second win at Saratoga since he broke his maiden two years ago, while also adding to his already standout Midlantic racing career.