Steve Asmussen holds a strong hand in this Saratoga Special as he sends out a pair of short prices in Cazadero and Jackie’s Warrior. Cazadero (#6) is obviously the more accomplished of the two, as he comes off an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor. He has been the most precocious member of this group, but it remains to be seen if he can continue to maintain his edge as these 2-year-olds continue to develop through the summer. This is a much tougher field than he faced in the Bashford Manor and it’s not as if his sped figures make him some kind of standout in this field.
I prefer his stablemate JACKIE’S WARRIOR (#10) off his debut victory in June. This horse had to overcome a bit of adversity early in that race, as he got outrun to the early lead and had to briefly steady as the field broke for the far turn. Many first time starters would have gotten discouraged at that point, but this horse got right back in the bridle and finished off the race powerfully. He has trained exceptionally well since that race, actually outworking Cazadero in a drill on July 26. I like that he’s drawn outside of the other speeds in a race that could feature a quick pace and he just appears to be built like a horse that should handle the tougher fight that he’ll have on his hands.
Yet I don’t want to dismiss the horse that Jackie’s Warrior defeated in his maiden win. Therideofalifetime (#9) stayed on well to be second that day and came out of that race to impressively break his maiden at Keeneland with a field-best 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure. He’s already handled the distance and has proven that he can rate off horses. Ignacio Correas has poor numbers with horses coming off maiden wins, but I won’t be shocked if this colt runs well again.
Exacta Key Box: 10 with 2,6,7,9
Trifecta: 10 with 6,9 with 1,2,6,7,9