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An impressive five-length debut winner, Long Weekend will take a step up in class and distance as part of a talented eight-horse field of juveniles making their respective stakes debut in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite at Saratoga Race Course.
Long Weekend, Owned by B.C.W.T., bested a seven-horse maiden field at five furlongs in his first start on June 23 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Tom Amoss will now see the Majesticperfection colt stretch out to 6 ½ furlongs at Saratoga, where he's registered four breezes since shipping from Kentucky.
Race 8 at Saratoga on Saturday, August 10 - Post 5:11 PM
|2||Zyramid||5-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|3||Green Light Go||2-1||Junior Alvarado
|5||Long Weekend||6-1||Joel Rosario
|6||King Snake||8-1||Jose Ortiz
|7||Peruvian Boy||10-1||Julien Leparoux
|Ignacio Correas, IV|
"He's doing really good," Amoss said. "He's had three breezes at Saratoga, the most demanding was a five-eighths work [on July 28]. He's handled everything we've given him."
Long Weekend drew post 5 with jockey Joel Rosario picking up the mount.
"It's not so much the distance, it's more [facing] a higher caliber field," Amoss said. "We think he's a good horse, but for that to be true, he has to show it on Saturday. That's the concerns of ours: how he handles the high-level competition, as well as the extra distance."
Purchased for $225,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale in April and bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds in Kentucky, Long Weekend last breezed on Sunday, going four furlongs in 47.54 seconds over Saratoga's main track.
"Saratoga is a track that some horses like and some horses don't. You can learn that pretty quickly by how they work and how they come out of their works," Amoss said. "For Long Weekend, everything has gone well."
Another maiden winner who posted a five-length debut score settling in to Saratoga is Joseph Sutton's homebred, Noose. The Eddie Kenneally trainee won at six furlongs on June 28 over a fast Churchill track and arrived in New York in good order following a four-furlong work in 47.20 on August 2 at Churchill.
"He overcame some traffic issues and was very professional for a first-time starter," Kenneally said. "He beat a full field of pretty nice maiden horses. He's done real well since then and shipped up here just fine. No issues; he's ready to go."
A son of More than Ready, Noose seems primed to take on the challenge based on his works, according to his conditioner.
"He had a really good breeze on Friday and worked super to set himself up perfectly for this race on Saturday," Kenneally said. "Obviously, this is a tougher group of horses we're going to be running against, but I think he's an improving horse. He's already run at six furlongs and won. This being 6 ½ isn't a huge leap forward. The question is, has he improved enough?
"He's settled in lovely. We're real positive. He's doing great," he added. "He did all of his training at Churchill for his first start and then he ran there and won, so we figured we'd just continue with that. I'm sure he'll take to this track just fine, also."
Corey Lanerie, aboard for that win in Kentucky, will have the return call from post 1.
Zayat Stables' Zyramid broke his maiden at second asking last out, posting a 2 ¾-length win at 5 ½ furlongs on a fast Saratoga main track on July 13 for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Zyramid ran third in his first start on June 8 at Churchill before earning a trip to the winner's circle at the Spa last month. The son of City Zip, bought for $275,000 at the same sale as Noose, will pick up the services of jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., drawing post 2.
August Dawn Farm's Tuggle, a first-out winner on June 21 on an off-the-turf five-furlong sprint in the slop at Belmont Park, will look to earn stakes blacktype for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Purchased for $160,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, Tuggle will now race for the first time across Union Avenue, drawing post 4 with Luis Saez on the call.
Stronach Stables' Green Light Go recorded a field-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure for his debut win on July 4 at Belmont, leading gate-to-wire for a 3 ¼-length score. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the Hard Spun colt will stretch out from 5 ½ furlongs to the Saratoga Special distance, drawing post 3 with Junior Alvarado getting the return assignment.
Rounding out the field is Iberico, a maiden winner at third asking for trainer Antonio Sano, breaking from post 8 with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons; King Snake, second in his debut on July 13 at Arlington for trainer Jack Sisterson [post 6; Jose Ortiz]; and Peruvian Boy, a maiden winner in his second try on July 13 at Arlington, for trainer Ignacio Correas [post 7, Julien Leparoux].
The Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite is carded as Race 8 on Saturday's 11-race card that is highlighted by the 35th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap in Race 9. First post time is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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