Breaking sharply at 2-5, Art Collector made the lead on his own power under Brian Hernandez, Jr. while being kept a bit off the rail heading into the clubhouse turn. Pushed along by 99-1 shot Truculent (Raison d'Etat) through a :23.33 quarter, he got no breather through a :46.74 half. Just as soon as he put aside the pace-pressing bomb, the Bruce Lunsford homebred was confronted with a two-pronged challenge from GIII Ohio Derby winner Dean Martini (Cairo Prince) and Attachment Rate (Hard Spun) as three-quarters went up in 1:10.70. The former was the first to sputter as the trio neared the lane, but Attachment Rate put in a game bid before being disposed of himself passing the furlong grounds. Without challengers for the final sixteenth, Hernandez rode Art Collector home hands and heels, finishing 3 1/4 lengths to the good in 1:48.02. Attachment Rate was clear for the place. Cont. p3
TRAVERS ROMP, ON TO DERBY
Sackatoga Stable's GI Runhappy Travers S. winner Tiz the Law
(Constitution) was bright-eyed the morning after his dominant 5 1/2-length victory in Saratoga's marquee race, for which he received a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure. Shortly after training concluded for the morning, trainer Barclay Tagg was at his barn on the Saratoga backstretch standing next to the garland of carnations that had been draped around the now four-time Grade I winner's neck Saturday. Tagg said his star 3-year-old colt was in good order.
As spectacular as Gamine (Into Mischief) was in the
GI Longines Test S., the win failed to answer the only question that remains unanswered when it comes to a filly who shows superstar potential. She demolished her opposition, including the talented Venetian Harbor (Munnings) in the seven-furlong race, but will she be able to do the same at nine furlongs in the GI Kentucky Oaks?
Her two biggest wins, the Test and the GI Longines Acorn S., have come at a mile or less and around one turn. In her only start around two turns and racing beyond a mile, she gutted out a win in a mile-and-a-sixteenth allowance race at Oaklawn, albeit over a talented stakes horse in Speech (Mr Speaker). Therefore the doubts.
But trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday he is not worried about stretching his filly out for the Oaks. In the Test, he saw a horse that not only was spectacular, but won the race the right way. Facing off against another horse with electric early speed in Venetian Harbor, she showed no signs of being headstrong or overeager. With John Velazquez aboard, Gamine set the pace, but did so in comfortable early fractions of :22.70 and :45.14.
"I was worried about Venetian Harbor and whether or not they would go way too fast early," Baffert said. "Johnny V did a great job. He kept her nice and relaxed. She has always had so much quality and now she is learning to relax."
Baffert said that he changed bits on Gamine after the Acorn, one that he hoped would help her settle down and be more manageable.
Using a seven-furlong race to prepare for a mile-and-an-eighth event is an unusual move, but Baffert said it was a priority to win major Grade I races with a filly who cost $1.8 million at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic 2-year-old sale. Cont. p6