The With Anticipation Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course has proven to be an important Kentucky Derby prep race and harbinger of things to come for Donegal Racing and trainer Dale Romans who sends Craving Carats (8-1) to the starting gate today in the $200,000 graded stakes race.
In 2009, Paddy O’Prado finished third for Romans and team Donegal in the fifth running of the With Anticipation Stakes. Dullahan carried the Donegal colors to a third-place finish in the 2011 With Anticipation Stakes.
The With Anticipation Stakes was a key race for both Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan who would go on in their three-year-old season to finish third in the Kentucky Derby.
With that history, I’m anxious to see how well Craving Carats performs in today’s race. I have been following Craving Carats since June and I believe that he could have the potential to be the best performer that Donegal Racing has put on the Triple Crown Trail.
He’s improved his game in each of his previous four starts and he finally broke his maiden earlier this month in an 8½-furlong turf race at Saratoga – both Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan broke their maiden on their fifth attempt.
His pedigree is pretty good and suggests that Craving Carats may have classic potential. Time will tell.
Joha (7-2), a narrow winner of the Colin Stakes at Woodbine on July 14, is moving up in class and he’s yet to run in a route race. However, if he’s anything like his sire, Johar, he could be competitive in the With Anticipation.
Johar was a pretty good middle-distance runner that was able to stretch out and win in a dead heat with High Chaparral the 12-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and he narrowly defeated The Tin Man by a head in winning the 10-furlong San Marcos Stakes (G2) in a record time of 1:47.92.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends Charming Kitten to the starting gate as the 3-1 morning line favorite for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.
Charming Kitten, like Craving Carats, is one of the few horses in the field that has raced 8½-furlongs. He comes into the race with a maiden win at Saratoga on July 28 and if he repeats that performance he should be competitive.
Two long shots I like are Notacatbutallama and Hightail – both at listed at 15-1 on the morning line.
Notactabuallama has run in two solid 8½-furlong races at Saratoga in the month of August. He won his last race on August 20 by an easy 6½-length margin and the time of 1:43 and change for his two previous starts is pretty decent.
Todd Pletcher trains Notactabuallama and he’s wheeling him back into competition off of ten days rest, so he could be ready to run a good race.
Hightail is also moving up in class and he’s yet to run in a route race. But he ran the best race of his career finishing second in his last race when trainer D. Wayne Lukas switched Hightail to the turf.
If Hightail looks good in the paddock and post parade, he could be worthy of a wager because his pedigree suggests that he should be able to easily handle the distance.
His sire, Mineshaft, was a good middle-distance runner that stretched his speed out to win the 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and the Suburban Handicap (G1).