Saratoga opens Friday, and all four of Curlin’s crops will be represented on opening day.
Pulling G’s (Torrid Affair, by Alydeed) may be five, but his best days may still be in front of him. He did not debut until last September at Belmont. Clark Kent proved super in his debut, getting the best of Pulling G’s by three quarters of a length. However, he won emphatically second time out. All told, he has raced six times so far, finishing worse than second only once. His start in Friday’s Saratoga 8th, a six-furlong N2X on the dirt, will be his first since March. Though the likes of Juba, Scatter Joy, and Doubledown Again should not prove easy, Pulling G’s fits this field well on class, and has shown good form with rider Junior Alvarado in the saddle.
Reversiontothemean (Jet Setting, by Forestry) had finally found her stride last summer at Suffolk Downs. She had a string of second place finishes, but finally cleared both her maiden and N1X conditions by mid-summer. Then, Suffolk closed down. She tried allowance optional company at the Meadowlands in October, faltered badly, and rested for the winter. She returned for her four-year-old debut on July 12 against $35,000 N3L company, going six furlongs on the Belmont grass. She finished third (just a head out of second) as a 45/1 bomb. Reversiontothemean returns for that same tag and condition in Friday’s Saratoga 5th, but stretches out to a mile. She does have a win and a second in turf miles last year, and though those both came at Suffolk, her ability to do as well as she did against this class last out means she could surprise some people.
Bishop’s Pond (More for Me, by More Than Ready) broke her maiden last out, going a mile and a quarter at Belmont. She dials back a bit for Friday’s Saratoga 7th, a one and three sixteenths mile grass allowance for N1X company. She has quality running lines in her most recent starts. Three back, she finished fifth behind Sentiero Italia, who won her next start and then finished fourth in the Belmont Oaks. Two back, she finished third behind Itsonlyactingdad and Trophee. Itsonlyactingdad finished second behind Lady Eli in the Belmont Oaks. Trophee, half to Treve, won her next start and returns to face Bishop’s Pond here. The field drew full and challenging, but the humans behind her (Chad Brown and Javier Castellano) could not be more solid. Bishop’s Pond will have to be on her best game to win this, but if she is, she could be very promising.
Off the Tracks (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) became the first winner of Curlin’s current juvenile crop when she galloped home an easy winner of a five-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream on June 13. In that race, she sat off a contested pace, and then quite professionally split horses to take command. She will make her second start in Friday’s fourth race at Saratoga: the Grade III Schuylerville Stakes, a six-furlong dirt sprint for juvenile fillies. The race will not be easy: the top three from the Astoria Stakes at Belmont (Moment Is Right, Decked Out, and One Minute) all entered, as did sharp maiden winners Positively Royal and Banree. Still, her maiden victory was impressive enough to make it worth a try against this set, and her breeding (by Curlin, and half to Concord Point) suggests that stretching out from the five furlongs of her maiden win will only help.