New York-breds prominent in weekend stakes

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Step Dancer, who led a 1-2 finish for his New York-based sire War Dancer at Saratoga, steps into graded company for Saturday’s Pilgrim Stakes. NYRA Photo.

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Breeders, owners, horsemen and fans planning a weekend watching the weekend’s docket of top-class racing – led by Saturday’s Preakness Day action at Pimlico Race Course – will also notice a significant number of New York-breds entered in stakes at several venues.

Here’s a handy guide of New York-breds entered for Saturday and Sunday stakes:


Belmont Park kicks off a two-week stretch of quality racing leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Saturday with a five-stakes card and Bertranda leads the New York-bred show in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap.

Owned by Mad Dog Racing Stable and Noda Brothers, the Gus Schoenborn-bred 6-year-old mare by Boys at Tosconova makes her graded stakes debut in the 6 1/2-furlong event. Bertranda, out of the Cape Canaveral mare Princess Maura, comes into the Gallant Bloom with seven wins and 20 other top-three finishes in her 52-start career.

The Gallant Bloom goes as the fifth race with a post time of 2:55 p.m. ET.

Two New York-breds step up to the plate the following race in the Grade 2 Pilgrim Stakes for 2-year-olds on the grass

Mr. Amore Stable’s homebred It’s a Gamble topped eventual Funny Cide Stakes winner Thin White Duke in his debut and takes the next step against open company in the 1 1/16-mile Pilgrim. The 2-year-old son of English Channel out of the Yes It’s True mare Yes It’s Pink is also cross-entered in Sunday’s Nownownow Stakes at Monmouth Park.

It’s A Gamble is joined in the Pilgrim by debut winner Step Dancer, a son of New York-based freshman sire War Dancer. That Sugar Plum Farm and Richard Pressman-bred colt made easy work of his Saratoga maiden on closing weekend when he led home a War Dancer 1-2 for his sire’s first winner. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Step Dancer runs for Pressman and Diamond M Stable.

“He’s a New York-bred and I’ve had some New York-breds do pretty well against open company,” Tagg joked Friday. “He won his first start rather easily, so we put him in the Pilgrim.”

Three Diamonds Farm’s Cross Border looks to win his first Grade 1 and register his third win in his last four starts in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic against six rivals.

The 6-year-old by English Channel, bred by Berkshire Stud and B. D. Gibbs, has handled his large jump in class this year exceedingly well, winning two Saratoga stakes and finishing second in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer with only one finish worse than second in his six runs this year.

Mo Ready looks ready to represent New York in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational in the final stakes of the day on the card. The Repole Stable homebred son of Uncle Mo takes a step up after winning a state-bred allowance at Saratoga Aug. 15. Mo Ready’s dam, the More Than Ready mare Ready and Good, has already made an impact on the New York stakes program with her first runner the five-time stakes winner Sudden Surprise.

Discretionary Marq, who shipped to Monmouth Park in August and moved into trainer Luis Carvajal Jr.’s barn, runs in the $75,000 Virgil “Buddy” Raines Stakes late in the day on the Jersey shore.

Patricia Generazio’s homebred is making his first start at the stakes level in the 5 ½-furlong turf stakes and looks to turn around his form with his two starts this year yielding off-the-board results. The 6-year-old Discreet Cat gelding is 5-for-20 with four seconds in his career.

The final Triple Crown race of the season takes place Saturday at Pimlico and three New York-breds made their way to Old Hilltop for the packed card.

Hot Pink Stable’s and Sand Dollar Stable’s homebred Somelikeithotbrown has proven to be incredibly consistent this year with just one blip in the road and looks to put that behind him in the Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes. The Big Brown son has won five of his 14 starts with five other top three finishes in his career with over $550,000 in earnings and is joined on the card by his Mission Impazible half-brother Jolting Joe in the James W. Murphy Stakes.

Barry Schwartz’s homebred Sharp Starr was third, beaten less than a length, in the Fleet Indian Stakes on Saratoga Showcase Day late in the meet and lines up at the graded stakes level for the first time in the Grade 2 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. Finishing in the top three in five of six starts, Sharp Starr is the second stakes horse for her dam, the late New York sire Noble Causeway’s half-sister Mindy Gold, after Papa Shot.

Rounding out the Preakness Day card is Ny Traffic in the Grade 1 headliner. A consistent runner on this year’s Triple Crown trail, the Brian Culnan-bred Ny Traffic finished second in three straight Kentucky Derby prep races before a bad luck run saw him finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby. He is 15-1 on the morning line against a field of 10 others.



Belmont’s Sunday card features a pair of stakes and Mashnee Girl represents the New York-breds in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes.

A winner last out at Saratoga, the Mashnee Stables homebred scratched out of Thursday’s Joseph A. Gimma for her turf debut going 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Mark Hennig, the 2-year-old daughter of Air Force Blue won her second start in a 7-furlong off-the-turf maiden at Saratoga Sept. 3. She is the third winner from three to race out of the Street Cry mare Passionate Diva.

The final stakes of the weekend at Belmont sees two New York-bred geldings line up in a field of nine for the Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational.

Big Brown sees his 4-year-old son Big Wonder make his stakes debut in the race after 12 top three finishes in 30 starts. The 4-year-old gelding bred by Big Brown Management LLC is one of five winners from his dam and is raced by Knight R.B. Stables and trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul, the same ownership that raced his dam.

Multiple stakes winner Battle Station comes in off a victory in the Lucky Coin Stakes Sept. 6 and will makes his first graded stakes appearance. Bred by Lansdowne Thoroughbreds, the 5-year-old Warrior’s Reward gelding has been consistent on the New York circuit with a stakes win at Belmont in his second career start back in 2017 with three stakes wins and six wins overall to his name in 28 career starts. He’s earned $425,815.

Monmouth Park’s Nownownow Stakes not only sees cross entered It’s a Gamble potentially lining up, but also includes the filly Mischievous Dream. Trained by Christophe Clement, Mischievous Dream won the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park in early September and looks to take her record to 3-for-4 in the Nownownow against the boys. A Patricia Generazio homebred, Mischievous Dream is the second stakes horse for her dam Just Livin a Dream, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Presious Passion.

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