From the Spa: August 4 Midlantic-breds in Saratoga stakes

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide

I Spent It wins the 2014 Saratoga Special. Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese.

by Joseph Aiello 

“From the Spa” returns to keep you up-to-date on horses bred in the mid-Atlantic racing in Saratoga stakes   

The ninth running of the mile and one eighth Alydar Stakes takes place on Thursday, August 4th over Saratoga’s dirt course. For older horses who have not won a non state-bred stakes race this year, the Alydar will have a small field of six contestants who are all familiar with the Spa. Five of those runners were bred in Kentucky, with the lone standout being the 15/1 morning line long-shot Chess Chief, a Virginia bred six year old who ran in the Travers as a three year old, and in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last year. While both of those tries ended with him failing to hit the board, Chess Chief is still conditioned by Dallas Stewart who has a penchant for pulling off long-priced upsets and looks to do so here.

After looking at Chess Chief’s three starts this year, it is easy to see why this bay horse by Into Mischief – Un Blessed, by Mineshaft begins at a high price amongst this field. Following a late December stakes win at Fair Grounds with returning jockey Reylu Gutierrez, Chess Chief has finished sixth in three straight, all by over fourteen lengths. Some context needs to be mentioned, however, as two of those tries were graded races against some of the top older horses in the country. In the Grade I Pegasus World Cup, he stood no chance versus Life Is Good, and in the Grade II New Orleans Classic, Olympiad cruised to an easy two length victory. Those two will vie for favoritism in this Saturday’s Grade I Whitney Stakes, and make Chess Chief’s recent defeats look a little better than the end results would signify. Still, as the most heavily raced in the Alydar with thirty-three starts, it is unlikely that he has room for improvement here, and will need to put forth much better efforts to take down last year’s Alydar winner Art Collector. Bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm and owned by the Estate of James J. Coleman Jr., Chess Chief will break from the three post in this try.