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Halladay, Harrell Ventures' two-time stakes winner, has done nothing but improve in his last two starts and will attempt to maintain his good form when taking on five others, including four stakes winners, in the 61st running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday, July 26.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, who saddled Dominus to a Bernard Baruch score in 2012, Halladay arrives at Sunday's test off a gate-to-wire triumph in the Sunshine Forever over a firm turf at Gulfstream Park, where he registered a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure over eventual Grade 1-winner Aquaphobia and stablemate Social Paranoia, who won the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont Park two starts later.
Race 9 at Saratoga on Sunday, July 26 - Post 5:46 PM
|1||Seismic Wave||6-1||Jose Ortiz
|2||Good Governance (GB)||9-5||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|4||Mr Dumas||12-1||Manuel Franco
|5||Olympico (FR)||9-2||Joel Rosario
Prior to his last effort, he defeated allowance optional claiming company over the South Florida oval on April 4 in similar front-running fashion over multiple-stakes winner and next-out winner Kroy.
The consistent gray or roan son of War Front defeated stakes company for the first time in the Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park on December 28 and has put together a highly consistent record of 12-5-2-4. His only off-the-board effort was three starts back in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay on February 8, where he tracked the pace in fifth, appeared to be in a winning position from the three path coming around the far turn and was a bit green at the top of the stretch and flattened out in the final eighth of a mile.
"So far, the turf course has not been kind to horses close to the pace," Pletcher said. "That's really my only concern. The horse is training super and we're excited about Sunday. He's in great form and seems to be steadily improving. Obviously, he took to the turf at Gulfstream quite well so I'm hoping that he can apply that to this turf course."
Jockey Luis Saez was aboard for Halladay's last two winning efforts and retains the mount from the outermost post 6.
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle a pair of formidable contenders for the Bernard Baruch in the lightly-raced Good Governance and graded stakes winner Olympico.
Owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, Good Governance broke his maiden last August over the Spa's inner turf before finishing a close second to Global Access in the Grade 3 Saranac. The 4-year-old son of Kingman did not race again until June of this year, where he defeated winners by 3 ¾ lengths over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park and registered a career best 95 Beyer.
"He's lightly raced but he's very talented," Brown said. "Hopefully he's up to the challenge. He has a nice race under his belt and he looks good."
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., aboard in all three of his starts, will retain the mount from post 2 as he attempts a third Bernard Baruch triumph.
Olympico (Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables) will seek his first victory since lighting up the tote board at 18-1 in his North American debut in last year's Grade 2 Fort Marcy at Belmont Park.
The 5-year-old French-bred son of Rajsaman was fifth beaten 7 ½ lengths in last year's Bernard Baruch which was won by Qurbaan. He will be making his seasonal bow with his last start being a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Knickerbocker over the inner turf at Belmont Park on October 14.
"He seems to be doing fine," Brown said.
Jockey Joel Rosario will seek back-to-back Bernard Baruch triumphs when piloting Olympico from post 5.
Trainer Mike Maker also saddles a pair of contenders in graded stakes winners Somelikeithotbrown and Mr Dumas.
Owned by Skychai Racing and David Koenig, Somelikeithotbrown, a 4-year-old Big Brown bay, was third in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy on June 6 last out.
"It was a shorter field [in the G2 Fort Marcy] and we had another horse [Temple] in the race and we didn't want them to get into a duel," said Maker's assistant trainer Nolan Ramsey. "I thought he ran an amazing race. He probably went a little quicker than I'd have liked him to early and if he'd been able to back off the pace just a little bit, he might have been able to hang tough for the win."
Somelikeithotbrown will seek a second graded stakes triumph after winning the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park in March 2019. He boasts the highest amount of lifetime earnings in the field with $464,338 and has finished in the money nine out of 12 times.
"He's doing very well right now," Ramsey said. "He's always been a barn favorite and he's a horse that just seems to show up every time. He's had a number of setbacks throughout his career, but he's tough as nails and I expect a big run from him on Sunday."
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard for his Jeff Ruby Steaks score, will be reunited with Somelikeithotbrown from post 3.
Maker also sends out Mr Dumas, who won last year's Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs while being trained by John Ortiz. The bay son of Majesticperfection defeated a salty allowance optional claiming group over the Churchill Downs turf two starts back which included graded stakes winner Casa Creed.
The WSS Racing and Hooties Racing owned four-time winner will break from post 4 and will be piloted by Manny Franco.
Completing the field is Juddmonte Farms' Seismic Wave for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who will attempt his sixth win in the Bernard Baruch.
The chestnut son of Tapit is a two-time stakes winner having won the English Channel on October 26 at Belmont Park in the final start of 2019, as well as the Cutler Bay last March at Gulfstream Park in his stakes debut.
Last out, Seismic Wave was second, beaten a length to Social Paranoia, in the Grade 3 Poker.
Jockey Jose Ortiz will pilot Seismic Wave from post 1.
The Bernard Baruch pays homage to the philanthropist, financier and thoroughbred owner who served as an advisor to late wartime presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. As an owner, Baruch campaigned horses under the name Kershaw Stables, and won the 1927 Carter with Happy Argo.
The Bernard Baruch is slated as Race 9 on Sunday's 10-race card, which offers a first post of 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
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