SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Cinco Charlie, winner of the Grade 3 Bashford Manor, and Nonna's Boy, one of the most promising juveniles to debut at Belmont Park's spring/summer meet, are set to contest the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Cinco Charlie, who is trained by Steve Asmussen for William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, is undefeated through the first two starts of his career. The son of Indian Charlie debuted on May 9 at Churchill Downs, winning a 4 Â½-furlong dash by a widening 2 Â¾ lengths. The effort was good enough to make him the 6-5 favorite in the Bashford Manor, which was contested at the same six-furlong distance as the Sanford, and the bay colt won handily after repelling a challenge from Silverhill, whom he will line up against again on Saturday.
Cinco Charlie will break from post 9 with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard. He was installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite.
Nonna's Boy was sparkling in his muddy debut for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole. The Distorted Humor colt sprang from the gate and set a blistering pace over the sealed track, and still had enough left in reserve to draw away from his overmatched opponents in the stretch. Among those Nonna's Boy left in his wake in his June 13 unveiling was runner-up Bustin It, who came back to win the Rockville Centre by seven lengths.
"He's doing very well," said Pletcher. "He's training well and we're very happy with the progress he's made."
Like many of the Sanford entrants, Nonna's Boy figures to be vying for the early lead, something Pletcher does not intend to meddle with.
"We'll let him run out of the gate and see how the race unfolds," said the trainer.
Nonna's Boy, who will be making his second career start on Saturday, will be ridden again by Hall of Famer John Velazquez. The 5-2 second choice on the morning line, Nonna's Boy will break from post 8.
Trainer Wesley Ward - renowned for his work with juveniles - will send out Bessie's Boy, who, like Cinco Charlie, is undefeated through two career starts. The bay gelding, who was purchased for $15,500 as a weanling by Ice Wine Stable, won his debut by Â¾ lengths on April 17 at Pimlico and earned a 51 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. Two months later, the son of Smoke Glacken took the 5 Â½-furlong Tremont by an authoritative six lengths at Belmont.
Bessie's Boy drew post 7 and will be piloted by international riding sensation Frankie Dettori. He sits at 5-1 on the morning line.
Big Trouble, trained by Tony Dutrow for Team D, debuted successfully on June 1 at Belmont. The Tiz Wonderful colt, who went off at 1-5 that day, broke his maiden by 4 Â½ lengths going five furlongs.
"He's doing really, really good," said Dutrow. "He's still a bit immature. Some of the 2-year-olds are mature, focused horses, and he's not one of them."
For his debut win, Big Trouble earned a diminutive 46 Beyer Speed Figure, a number that has not shaken Dutrow's confidence.
"I'm not really all that concerned with the figure; I think he can compete," said Dutrow. "I breezed him over the [Saratoga] main track and he went [five furlongs] in a minute, and it takes a pretty good horse to be able to do that."
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be back aboard Big Trouble, 10-1 on the morning line, and the pair will leave from post 4.
Rounding out the field are Chocolate Wildcat, who finished second behind Bessie's Boy in the Tremont; Less Than Perfect, who finished fifth in the Victoria at Woodbine in his last start; Mr. Z, who broke his maiden in his first start going six furlongs on June 28 at Churchill Downs; Silverhill, who was runner-up to Cinco Charlie in the Bashford Manor; and Souper Colossal, who took his debut by 1 Â¾ lengths on June 7 at Monmouth.
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