Engage, Strike Power Among Seven Sophomores Sprinting In Amsterdam At Saratoga

Set to make his fourth start of the year, Woodford Racing’s Engage will face a contentious group of foes in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Amsterdam for 3-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga Race Course.

One of four graded stakes races on the day, highlighted by the 55th running of the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy and the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, live coverage will be featured on Saratoga Live from 4-7 p.m. ET regionally on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Fox Sports San Diego with national coverage on FS2 from 6-7 p.m.

Capping his juvenile season with a win in the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont Park in only his third career start, the Into Mischeif colt returned to finish a respectable second in the Grade 3 Bay Shore on April 7 at Aqueduct. He subsequently, won the Gold Fever on May 13 at Belmont before running second in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun.

“He’s doing really well coming into this race,” said trainer Chad Brown. “I thought he ran a great race in the Bay Shore. He got a beautiful trip, it’s just that the eventual winner got by him in the lane and went a little bit better. I was impressed with the winner but our horse ran his race. He’s been coming along well throughout the year and this looks like a good distance for him.”

With Jose Ortiz aboard, Engage will depart from post 3.

Looking to improve off a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Woody Stephens is Strike Power for Courtlandt Farm and trainer Mark Hennig. Winner of the Grade 3 Swale Stakes on February 3 at Gulfstream Park, Strike Power went on to finish second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth before running eighth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Cutting back in distance for the Woody Stephens, Hennig said he was puzzled as to why Strike Power didn’t fire that race, but reported the son of Speightstown has been training well in Saratoga, breezing four furlongs in 47.89 seconds from the gate on July 21 in his final preparation for this race.

“He’s doing everything right,” said Hennig. “He worked super here. I wanted to sharpen him a bit so I worked him out of the gate. He was doing so well going into the Woody Stephens, but Johnny [Velazquez] didn’t think he handled the track at Belmont very well.

“Interestingly enough, we trained all through the fall at Belmont and went down to Florida and he paid $20 to win so maybe he just doesn’t like Belmont a whole lot. There’s still a part of me that wonders if he isn’t going to be a nice miler one day. He’s acting great, training great so we’ll see what happens.”

With Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons, Strike Power will leave from post 5.

Owner Robert J. Baron and trainer Dale Romans entered graded stakes winner Promises Fulfilled. Winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, Promises Fulfilled finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, but cut back in distance to finish third in the Woody Stephens.

Promises Fulfilled will leave from post 2 with Luis Saez Aboard.

Rounding out the field are Barry Lee for Sagamore Farm and trainer Horacio DePaz; Old Time Revival, for trainer Kenneth Decker and owner Fred Brei; World of Trouble for trainer Jason Servis and owner Micheal Dubb;and Soutache for Goldmark Farm and trainer Ralph Nicks.

The post Engage, Strike Power Among Seven Sophomores Sprinting In Amsterdam At Saratoga appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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