High Oak May Go For BC Juvenile Spot In Champagne At Belmont

LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s High Oak improved to 2-for-2 with an impressive 4 1/4-length score in Saturday’s $200,000 Grade 2 Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for juveniles at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the Gormley bay bid three-wide at the top of the lane under Junior Alvarado, overtaking Doctor Jeff and the runner-up Gunite to stop the clock in 1:16.53.

High Oak closed to win his debut by a neck sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs in June at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., but the bettors let the $70,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase leave the gate at odds of 10-1 on Saturday.

Mott said High Oak ran to his training, including a bullet half-mile breeze in :48.11 seconds on August 7 on the Oklahoma dirt training track.

“We were pleased but not totally surprised,” Mott said. “He had been working quite well and he had run well enough in his first race.”

Mott said he was pleased with how High Oak, who garnered a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure, finished up the race.

“He was determined,” Mott said.

While Mott said he will leave all options open, the next likely consideration for High Oak is the $500,000 Grade 1 Champagne on October 2 at Belmont, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the $2 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 5 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

The win by High Oak completed a Mott-trained double that launched a race earlier when Godolphin homebred Speaker’s Corner drew off to a 5 1/4-length allowance score, registering a 101 Beyer.

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With Jose Ortiz up, the 3-year-old Street Sense bay bobbled at the start of the seven-furlong main-track sprint but quickly found his footing to track the pacesetting Mahaamel from third before taking command at the five-sixteenths and powering home in a final time of 1:22.29.

Speaker’s Corner graduated at second asking with a three-quarter length score over eventual graded-stakes placed Caddo River and multiple graded-stakes winner Greatest Honour in a seven-furlong maiden special weight in October at Belmont.

Mott said he had hoped to start Speaker’s Corner around two turns but was pleasantly surprised at Saturday’s one-turn score.

“Visually, he ran good and numbers-wise he ran good. And he came back good, too,” Mott said. “We had entered him in a two-turn race the day before which didn’t fill thinking that this might not work out that well for him because I knew there would be some fast horses in there, but we got lucky and it worked out.”

Mott said he had initially hoped to get the lightly-raced colt to the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers slated for August 28 at the Spa but circumstances led to a more patient schedule.

“That’s what we were hoping for, but it didn’t work out that way. One little setback after another and before you know it, the Travers is upon us,” Mott said. “There’s other races and we’ll have to make it count somewhere else, hopefully.”

Among a number of options for Speaker’s Corner is the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby on September 25 at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Penn.

“That would have to be on the radar. It would fit into the timing,” Mott said. “But everything is an option. We try to keep all our options open.”

LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s Casa Creed closed five-wide to finish third in Saturday’s Grade 1 Fourstardave, just two lengths in arrears of the more prominently placed Got Stormy.

The 5-year-old Jimmy Creed bay entered the one-mile inner turf test from a two-length score in the six-furlong Grade 1 Jackpocket Jaipur on June 5 at Belmont.

“He ran a good race. It’s hard not to be pleased with his effort,” Mott said.

The post High Oak May Go For BC Juvenile Spot In Champagne At Belmont appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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