Raging Bull, who bested Maraud by a nose in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame, will face his rival again in the Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
One of four stakes races on the day highlighted by the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes, the Saranac will be joined by the Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway for juvenile fillies and the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls for fillies and mares.
||Up the Ante
||March to the Arch
||Raging Bull (FR)
||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
||Free Drop Billy
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Raging Bull, a French-bred son of Dark Angel for owner Peter Brant and trainer Chad Brown, won his debut on April 19 at Keeneland and followed with an optional claiming win at Belmont in June. Trying stakes company for the first time in July, he finished second-the Manila on July 4 at Belmont Park before winning in the Hall of Fame.
Earning a co-field-high 92 Beyer Speed Figure along with Maraud for that victory on a turf course listed as yielding, Brown said he was encouraged with how Raging Bull has come along since the race, breezing four furlongs in 50.77 seconds on the Oklahoma training track last week Friday in his final preparation for the race.
"He's been coming along well," said Brown. "My only concern would be if the turf course isn't playing fair with his running style, but otherwise it's all systems go."
Raging Bull will leave from post 3 with regular rider Joel Rosario.
Breaking his maiden at Saratoga in his juvenile debut, Treadway Racing Stable's Maraud will look to turn the tables on Raging Bull.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Blame colt has made 10 lifetime starts with four victories, one second and two third-place finishes. Kicking off his 2018 campaign with a victory in the Grade 3 Palm Beach on March 3 at Gulfstream Park, he followed with a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Parx Racing before winning the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs. Maraud finished fourth and sixth respectively in his previous two starts before the Hall of Fame, Pletcher said he expects Maraud to be at his top form Saturday.
"He's trained well since his last race," said Pletcher. "He was a little unlucky to miss a head bob in his last race, but he acts like he's maintained his form like he usually does coming in for this."
Maraud will depart form post 9 with meet-leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen enters Woodford Racing's Hot Springs.
Purchased for $750,000 as a yearling, the Uncle Mo colt rebounded from a ninth-place finish debut with an impressive 4 ½ length victory in his second start on June 3 at Churchill Downs. Following up win an allowance victory at Churchill on July 29, he made his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Kent on July 14 at Delaware Park, where he finished second to Golden Brown.
Hot Springs will leave from post 6 with Ricardo Santanta, Jr. aboard.
Trainer Christophe Clement has entered Therapist for Oak Bluff Stables and Up the Ante for Castleton Lyons. Rounding out the field is Golden Brown, Sand Dancer, March to the Arch and Free Drop Billy.
Golden Brown ready for return to turf in G3 Saranac
Golden Brown, coming off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park, will return to the turf on Saturday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac.
Golden Brown, a New Jersey-bred son of Offlee Wild, made his first two starts on the dirt at Monmouth Park and broke his maiden in his third attempt over a sloppy track on February 24 at Parx Racing.
Owned by ABL Stable, Dominic Bossone, Peter Donnelly and Jacob Schnoor, Jr.,Golden Brown returned to Monmouth after that effort and won a state-bred allowance race on May 26. He followed with a respectable second facing elders for the first time in the Dan Horn Handicap on June 17 at Monmouth.
"We thought that his Tomlinson number suggested he might like the turf and his mother has also thrown some turf runners so that was the idea for initially trying the turf," McBurney said. "After his turf debut, which was solid against fellow state-breds, we knew we made the right call."
Following his second-place finish first out on the grass, Golden Brown entered the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park, winning by an impressive 1 ¾ lengths in pulling off the upset at 15-1 odds. With not many turf options at Monmouth following the victory, McBurney opted to take advantage of an invitation to the Haskell. He said his colt is now primed and ready to run back on the turf in the 111th running of the Saranac.
"After the Kent, we received an invitation to the Haskell and with not many turf options around at the time we opted to give him another try on the dirt at home," said McBurney. "The timing kind of worked out to take the chance because he's had enough time to recover and enter into the Saranac now. He's had three works since the Haskell and progressed each time, so we're looking forward to Saturday but know we're also need a bit of racing luck, as you do anytime you're running at Saratoga."