Troy S. (G3) — Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)
Friday’s $200,000 Troy S. (G3) at Saratoga features a rematch of the top three finishers from the June 6 Jaipur (G1), and also marks the return of Imprimis, who was disqualified and placed third after easily taking the 2020 edition of the 5 1/2-furlong turf dash.
Casa Creed, who rallied to win the six-furlong Jaipur by two lengths, has never run as short as 5 1/2 furlongs, but has done well at Saratoga the past two summers. In 2019, the son of Jimmy Creed landed the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2), and last year rallied for third in the Fourstardave H. (G1).
“We backed him up to six furlongs and that was okay, five and a half is a bit of a different race on a different type of course,” trainer Bill Mott said. “It’s a tighter course here so we’ll have to see how he negotiates that.”
Chewing Gum, another closer, crashed the Jaipur exacta at 28-1. Fourth in last year’s Troy as the 2-1 favorite, his assignment proved too difficult after falling more than a dozen lengths off the pace.
A more likely beneficiary of the cutback in distance is the globetrotting Bound for Nowhere, a two-time winner of the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland but unlucky to have lost photo finishes in several other graded events in recent years.
Imprimis, meanwhile, returns from a four-month layoff for trainer Joe Orseno. The seven-year-old started three times earlier this season, capturing the Janus S. at Gulfstream on New Year’s Day and then narrowly missing in the Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs and the Shakertown to Bound for Nowhere. Imprimis broke through the gate prior to the start of the Shakertown and injured himself.
“When he came out of the gate in the Shakertown he broke a bone in his nose. We took precautions over it, but he’s been fine and ready to run,” Orseno said
Other leading contenders include Fast Boat, Front Run the Fed, and Gear Jockey, while Lazuli, a multiple Group 3 winner in England, will look to keep Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby hot with their imports into New York.
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) — Race 7 (4:29 p.m. ET)
The $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2), for three-year-olds at one mile on the turf, features a competitive field with no standout. Original enters off a wire-to-wire victory over Public Sector in the Manila S. at Belmont, while the Ward-trained Next captured the War Chant S. at Churchill Downs by 3 3/4 lengths in the same fashion.
Two-time winner Wolfie’s Dynaghost tries turf for the first time, and as a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Sadler’s Joy could take to the surface.
“He’s run well on two wet tracks. The Peter Pan (G3) was a bit of a head scratcher. It could have been a combination of maybe he wasn’t 100 percent tight that day or the dry track, too. Maybe he was looking for turf all along,” trainer Tom Albertrani said.
Easy Time, who narrowly missed in his turf debut at Gulfstream last winter, enters off a two-length win in the Marine (G3) at Woodbine over Tapeta. The July 11 race was the colt’s first in five months.
Book-ended by the two grass stakes is the $100,000 Alydar S., a 1 1/8-mile test on the main track restricted to nonwinners of an open stakes this year. Looking to rebound from recent dull efforts are 2020 Blue Grass (G2) winner Art Collector and Pegasus World Cup (G1) runner-up Jesus’ Team.