Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saratoga Sanford Stakes Picks

The Sanford Stakes at Saratoga race track is one of the oldest races for two-year-olds in the country. Originally ran in 1913, the Sanford Stakes has been host to several outstanding thoroughbreds. Regret won the Sanford in 1914 and Tom Fool won in 1951. The Triple Crown winners Secretariat (1972) and Affirmed (1977) also won the Sanford. Forty Niner won in 1987, Maria’s Mon won in 1995 and Afleet Alex won in 2004.

A deep field of nine horses will enter the starting gate Thursday for the six-furlong $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G2).

Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) winner Backtalk (4) is the morning-line 2-1 favorite. Undefeated in two starts and trained by Tom Amoss, Backtalk (Smarty Jones-Apasionata Sonata by Affirmed) is a half-brother to Bsharpsonata – winner of the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) and Forward Gal Stakes (G2). In his last race, the six-furlong Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs, Backtalk stumbled at the start and had to work his way through horses in the stretch to score a one-length victory with a final time of 1:11.

Enumerate (2), trained by Steve Asmussen, is the 3-1 second choice and the Richard Violette-trained Bulls And Bears (7) is the 7-2 third choice. Both horses are coming into the Sanford with impressive maiden wins.

D. Wayne Lukas has won the Sanford Stakes five times and he has the coupled entry of Soundman (1) and Activity Report (9) at 8-1 morning line odds. In his last outing, Soundman was a fifth-place finisher in the Bashford Manor Stakes – beaten by four and one half lengths. Activity Report comes into the race with an impressive eight-length romp in a maiden-claiming race at Churchill Downs on June 27.

Todd Pletcher has won the Sanford four times and he has entered the maiden winner Interactif (8) at 15-1 morning line odds.

Nacho Friend (5), trained by Kelly Breen, was very impressive in winning his debut by six lengths on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park. At 10-1 morning line odds, he’s an intriguing long shot and could be worth a small win/place bet.

This is a tough race and, in my opinion, several could win in this spot. Enumerate, Soundman, Interactif, and Activity report could vie for the early lead with Backtalk, Bulls And Bears and Nacho Friend sitting behind the early leaders.

Backtalk is the deserved morning line favorite. But at 2-1, I will use him in the exotics.

My selections:

Win/place = 5 & 9
Exactas and Trifectas = 4-5-7-9

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