Horse Racing

Purse Boost Attracts Competitive Field for Hall of Fame

If the New York Racing Association’s intentions in adding $300,000 to the purse for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T) at Saratoga Race Course was to attract a large, highly competitive field with some international flavor, then its mission has been accomplished.

A field of 10 was entered in the Aug. 4 $500,000 turf stakes for 3-year-olds with the lineup including seven stakes winners, horses from trainers Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher, Shug McGaughey, and Graham Motion, and two from overseas, including one that was purchased by American connections with an eye toward shipping to the Spa for the mile stakes.

“It’s a nice race and it was a good idea by NYRA to add the money to the race,” Brown said. “Hopefully we’ll have some success in it.”

Brown will have three chances to take home the winner’s share of the purse, sending out the trio of Appraise , Mischievous Angel , and Carl Spackler .

Carl Spackler, a son of Lope de Vega  owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds who drew post 10, was a highly impressive Feb. 25 maiden winner in his second start then failed to fire as the 2-1 favorite in the May 6 American Turf Stakes (G2T) on a hard Churchill Downs turf course he did not appear to relish.

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“We always thought a lot of him,” Brown said about the colt named after a main character in the movie “Caddyshack.” “We sent him to Churchill with high hopes and he didn’t handle the turf course. Then he got really sick and I had to back off on him. He’s doing well again now and the purse, the mile, and straight 3-year-olds really appeal to me. He’s very live here.”

Klaravich Stables’ Appraise was second last year in the Summer Stakes (G1T) at Woodbine to a rival he will face again Friday and the son of Kodiac  opened his 3-year-old campaign with a July 8 allowance victory at Belmont Park | Track Profile”>Belmont Park.

“We liked Appraise, but he came out of the Summer Stakes with sore shins and so we had to stop on him and missed the first half of the year,” Brown said. “But he’s back doing well. He had a nice prep against older horses and did it well. I think the race will move him forward.”

Mischievous Angel will be making his second career start in the Hall of Fame but showed great promise in winning his June 17 debut at Belmont in a six-furlong maiden sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

“He only ran once but he ran a very fast number,” Brown said about the Into Mischief   gelding owned by Peter Brant and breeder Steve Weston’s Parkland Thoroughbreds. “We gave him some time to recover and though it’s a big step, the purse is very attractive and I wanted to run against 3-year-olds.”

Godolphin and European trainer Charlie Appleby shipped Mysterious Night  across the Atlantic for Friday’s race. The Dark Angel  gelding was dominant when shipped to North America last year, winning the aforementioned Summer Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths to close out his 2-year-old campaign. Yet in two group 3 stakes this year in Great Britain he flopped, finishing 12th and seventh, both times by double-digit margins.

“He’s a grade 1 winner at 2 and had two runs in the UK which have been slightly below par from what we’d like,” said assistant trainer Chris Connett. “Getting him to America on quicker grounds around the turns might just be where he really thrives. That’s what we saw from him as a 2-year-old in Canada.”

The other European is JR Ranch’s Ocean Vision , who was purchased overseas in June for $320,561. The group 2-placed son of U S Navy Flag  was spotted by American bloodstock agent Ramiro Restrepo, who is part of the ownership group, and will make his U.S. debut Friday.

“I bought him at the Goffs London sale and this race was so obvious on the calendar. I know (trainer Tim Donworth) and told him it would be a win-win for everyone if he trains him and gets him ready for the race,” Restrepo said. 

With Donworth as the trainer, Ocean Vision will be ridden by European jockey Oisin Murphy. Restrepo said Ocean Vision will remain in the United States after the Hall of Fame and will move into the barn of trainer Gustavo Delgado.

Courtlandt Farms’ grade 3-winning General Jim  returns to grass after a dull start in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G1) on dirt when he finished sixth by nearly 17 lengths as the 5-2 second choice. The son of Into Mischief broke his maiden at a mile and a sixteenth on the same Saratoga inner turf course that he will travel over Friday.

“He’s been training really, really well. He’s matured a lot and I think the time between races really helped him. He wants time and space and a firm course. I think the track at Belmont (for the Woody Stephens) was a little deep. He didn’t break and he fought it the whole way.”

The field also includes the stakes-winning More Than Looks , Bat Flip , Nagirroc , and Behind Enemy Lines .

Entries: National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2T)

Saratoga Race Course, Friday, August 04, 2023, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 1m
  • Inner turf
  • $500,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:08 PM (local)


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