Preservationist Seeks First Grade 1 in Woodward
Photo copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields
One of the most exciting horses on the Saratoga grounds is six-year-old Preservationist, who seeks the first grade 1 win of his career in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday.
Centennial Farms’s son of Arch was fourth in the Whitney (G1) last out against a field that included McKinzie, snapping a three-race win streak that included the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park. The Jimmy Jerkens-trainee has come back to work steadily, including a three-furlong blowout on Thursday morning, in preparation for this 1 1/8-mile event.
Second in the Whitney and back for more in the Woodward is defending champion Yoshida (Jpn), who has run some stellar races but has yet to find the winner’s circle since. A grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt last year, Yoshida was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), sixth in both the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and the Dubai World Cup before running second in the Whitney. Joel Rosario, who piloted him to victory in this event last year, climbs back aboard for trainer Bill Mott. China Horse Club owns the five-year-old son of Heart’s Cry (Jpn).
G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat is coming in off a win in the Alydar Stakes over this trip. The son of Smart Strike will have Irad Ortiz, Jr. up and seeks the first grade 1 win of his career, as well. He has won five of his last eight starts for trainer Al Stall, and is unbeaten in three tries at Saratoga.
Vino Rosso takes the blinkers off for this and seeks to return to the form that saw him defeat Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Gift Box in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) May 27. He was third in the Whitney, beaten 6 ½ lengths by McKinzie and Yoshida. The Todd Pletcher-trainee has not won in three starts over this track, but he is a $410,000 son of Curlin who has earned $1.3 million with five wins in 13 starts.
Mongolian Groom ships in from California after running third in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1) just two weeks ago. He has not won since February, but has run foruth or better in four graded stakes since then. The son of Hightail was second, beaten only a length, by Catalina Cruiser in the grade 2 San Diego on July 20; that rival went on to take the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) last weekend.
New York-bred Mr. Buff is coming in off two straight state-bred stakes victories, including the Evan Shipman on August 7 over this trip. Jose Lezcano picks up the mount while Junior Alvarado sticks with Preservationist.
Bal Harbour, Forewarned, and Wooderson complete the field for the 2019 Woodward Stakes, which can be viewed live on TVG.
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