Sophomores get a shot to strut their stuff in the Hall of Fame Stakes Friday at Saratoga and they will all have to beat Bricks and Mortars.
The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes was originally named the Gallant Man Stakes, named for legendary runner. The race has been run at a number of different distances over the decades since being inaugurated in 1985. The Hall of Fame Museum is currently located across the street from Saratoga.
Ten have passed the entry box for the Grade 2 $200,000 Hall of Fame Stakes and it will be run at eight and a half furlongs on turf. Bricks and Mortars breaks from the rail and he already has a very solid foundation.
The son of Giant’s Causeway cost $200,000 and he has yet to taste defeat in three starts. He’ll break from the rail Friday. It’s not easy to win routing at first asking but this Chad Brown student pulled it off in his Gulfstream debut. Rested for a few months, he went through his first condition like Grant took Richmond and proved it was no fluke by repeating in the $100,000 Manila Stakes on the 4th of July. Brown put three solid works into him last month and he appears on edge to keep his streak intact. The video of the Manila video was uploaded by Jessie Guerrero.
Big Handsome is a pretty nice horse and he gave Bricks and Mortars a scare in the Manilla when second. Trained by Anthony Dutrow, who has had some very productive meets at Saratoga over the years, Big Handsome has turned into a new animal once put on grass. He lost his first three starts but graduated in his turf debut and is now three for four on grass with the lone defeat by a neck. His best race was a victory in the $100,000 Paradise Creek in May. Another that is cut out to be a runner, this son of Street Boss cost a quarter of a million and his clever speed will make him the master of his own destiny in the Hall of Fame Stakes. The video of Paradise Creek was up loaded by the New York Racing Association.
Caviar Czar will not run if this race stays on grass. He entered the Hall of Fame Stakes as a main track only horse and will only show up if the rains come and the race is moved to the main track. This Todd Pletcher student broke his maiden in his third career start and was a fine second in his first start vs. winners.
Yoshida has won half of his four starts but never on the New York circuit. The distance of the last race, the Belmont Derby, could have been pushing the envelope as not a lot of horse want to a mile and a quarter these days. He was also a victim of a slow pace in the Belmont Derby. The three works his trainer Bill Mott put into him since the last race suggests he is feeling pretty good about himself. Yoshida will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has won the Hall of Fame Stakes the last three years.
Snap Decision basically flattered Bricks and Mortars by winning on July 3. The Shug McGaughey student was second to the arch rival on the rail in his June finale. The future is extremely bright for Snap Decision. He is a sibling to Mr Speaker, who was a Grade 1 winner on grass that earned over $1.2 million. Consistency has been this runner’s calling card. He has only been out of the money once in his career and he may not have cared for the yielding grass course that day.
Makarios has put in mirror efforts in his last two starts and neither was pretty. He is speed challenged but showed some semblance of ability running third last year in a Grade 3 at Keeneland. If he is going to win the Hall of Fame Stakes, he will have to bank on the leaders dueling and folding their tents.
Bonus Points has to prove he can win on grass. He tried the Triple Crown Trail early in the year and his claim to fame so far is a win in the $100,000 Parx Derby against six rivals. Also trained by Pletcher, the conditioner adds blinks to the equation today hoping to shake things up. Pletcher is 19% in the last year with first-time blinkers.
Parlor was out of the money in his other Graded efforts but he was visually impressive last time. His trainer Eddie Kenneally entered him in a $100,000 optional race at Churchill and he went from last to first in the blink of an eye to post a winning 85 Beyer. This colt has sneaky speed, but would expect his rider Julien Leparoux to take a hold and make one run.
Secretary at War has been beaten by Bricks and Mortars a couple of times. His style is no secret, he will gun for the lead and dare somebody to go with him early on. Fit enough to drill three times since his last effort, this colt by War Front must be respected.
Arklow has the credentials to make some serious noise. He was hung wide last time in a race he may have needed but the class is there for all to see. This Brad Cox trainee won the Grade 2 American Turf in May and if he reverts to that form, he’ll be in the thick of it.
When the gates open, there should be a decent amount of pace to scrutinize. Big Handsome will be forwardly placed as will Secretary At War. Snap Decision, Yoshida and Bricks and Mortars should fall into nice trips sitting three of four lengths behind legitimate fractions.
Bricks and Mortars gets the call because he seems to be able to adapt to any kind of situation. Despite being wide in his debut he came from seven lengths back and then was only three lengths off the lead early in his next win. In the Manila, Bricks and Mortars was hugging the hedge in the early going, was set down entering the stretch, quickened like a future star and just refused to lose.
Granted, this is a step up in a Graded event but there is only one Graded winner in the field. Look for Bricks and Mortars to be patient early and then dominate late.
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