December 5, 2022

Saratoga Special offers enticing matchup between Gulfport, Damon’s Mound

Gulfport wins the 2022 Bashford Manor (Coady Photography)

A pair of extremely promising juveniles, Bashford Manor S. romper Gulfport and runaway debut winner Damon’s Mound, will square off in Saturday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special S. (G2).

Carded as Race 4, the 6 1/2-furlong race drew only five runners, but plenty of intrigue surrounds the anticipated slugfest.

Gulfport, a $275,000 son of Uncle Mo, has crushed foes in a pair of starts for Steve Asmussen. The frontrunning bay colt opened his racing career with a seven-length maiden special weight thrashing at Churchill Downs in mid-June, and came back 24 days later to record a 12-length, wire-to-wire triumph in the July 4 Bashford Manor at six furlongs, earning a field-best 98 Brisnet Speed rating scoring as the 1-5 favorite. Joel Rosario picks up the mount.

Damon’s Mound, a Florida-bred colt from the first crop of Girvin, didn’t break sharply when making his lone outing in a six-furlong maiden special weight on the July 4 Stephen Foster undercard at Churchill, but he quickly overcame the tardy start by accelerating to the lead and drawing off to a 12-length decision, netting a respectable 93 Speed figure while winning under wraps. Gabriel Saez will be back up on the Michelle Lovell trainee.

Super Chow will jump to stakes competition for Jorge Delgado following a convincing wire-to-wire debut at Gulfstream on July 2. Favored at 7-5 last time, the dark bay Lord Nelson colt will add the services of Luis Saez from the innermost post.

Bashford Manor runner-up Owen’s Leap will add blinkers, and Irad Ortiz Jr. takes over on the Bolt d’Oro colt for Tom Amoss. Tremont S. third Valenzan Day, unplaced in the July 16 Sanford (G3) at Saratoga, completes the field.