Sadler’s Joy Back For More In Pan American

Four years after earning the first graded-stakes victory of his long career in the same race, Woodslane Farm’s Grade 1 winner Sadler’s Joy returns looking to snap a nine-race losing streak in Saturday’s $200,000 Pan American (G2) presented by Rood and Riddle at Gulfstream Park.

The 60th running of the 1 ½-mile Pan American for 4-year-olds and up on turf is part of a blockbuster program that includes 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.85 million anchored by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, one of the country’s premier Triple Crown preps.

Post time for the first of 14 races is 11:30 a.m.

Now 8, Sadler’s Joy won the Pan American in 2017 and was fourth in 2018, but did not run in either of the past two years as trainer Tom Albertrani has looked to spread out his stable star’s races. The Kitten’s Joy gelding has started once this year, closing to be fourth by 2 ¼ lengths in the 1 ½-mile W.L. McKnight (G3) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream.

“He’s doing as well as ever so hopefully we’ll get another good trip out of him and go from there,” Albertrani said. “We just keep him on a regular routine, training-wise. You look at his work tab and you don’t see the fancy, fast works or anything; just normal, kind of routine works just to keep him ticking over between races.”

Sadler’s Joy is, by far, the richest horse in the Pan American with a bankroll of more than $2.6 million from 35 starts, with seven wins, four seconds and 11 thirds. All but one of his last 29 races have come in graded-stakes, his most recent win coming in the Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct in the fall of 2019.

Last year, Sadler’s Joy went 0-for-8 with four thirds including the Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and Manhattan (G1) at Belmont Park, and was disqualified from first to fourth for interference in the Bowling Green (G2). He won the Mac Diarmida in 2018, the year after becoming a Grade 1 winner in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

“If he wasn’t in the barn, it’d be pretty strange. When that day comes, it’s going to be a sad day when we don’t see him walking down the shedrow anymore,” Albertrani said. “He’s just been one of those types of horses that tries every race. He puts everything into every time he runs and its’ just a pleasure having a horse like that.

“He puts up a game effort every single time, whether he gets beat a neck or a head in so many of these close races. And it’s only because of his running style that prevents him from getting up in time,” he added. “We just need to get everything to work, as always.”

Albertrani also won the Pan American in 2013 with Twilight Eclipse, who set the world record for 1 ½ miles on the grass (2:22.63). Twilight Eclipse raced until the spring of his 8-year-old season, making the last of his 40 career starts for trainer Graham Motion.

“It would be nice to chalk up another win in there. That was just a really great day. I didn’t actually know it until I heard the announcer say it was a track record. Then when we found out it was a world record, it was great, and for a horse like him, too,” Albertrani said. “He was another warrior. We’ve had a few and the ones that stuck around the barn a long time, they’re more of a pleasure to have around.”

Jose Ortiz is named to ride from Post 3 in the field of eight.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has won the Pan American six times including twice with the same horse, Fraise (1993, 1994) and Newsdad (2012, 2014), and will send out Summer Wind Equine’s stakes-winning homebred Moon Over Miami.

Moon Over Miami, 4, began racing on dirt before making the switch to turf in the one-mile Cutler Bay on last year’s Florida Derby program, running eighth. Fourth by two lengths in the Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga, he captured the 1 5/16-mile Dueling Grounds Derby prior to a disappointing effort in the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Derby (G1) to cap his sophomore season.

In his lone start this year, Moon Over Miami overcame traffic trouble to be third by 1 ¼ lengths in the Feb. 27 Mac Diarmida. Junior Alvarado rides from Post 7 at co-topweight of 122 pounds.

“We stretched him out at Kentucky Downs last fall in their derby and he won that. That was a little longer race. He doesn’t seem to run the turns real well, so it seems like the slower pace of the longer races helps him get around the turns a little better,” Mott said.

“His last race was a mile and three-eighths and he was finishing up very well when he finally got out, which was a little late in the game. He came running and got up for third and deserves a chance in the Pan American,” he added. “I think he’s going to turn into a useful horse going that trip.”

Bemma’s Boy sprung a 9-1 upset of Grade 1-winning stablemate Zulu Alpha in last year’s Pan American, and trainer Mike Maker will have another pair of contenders this year in Cross Border and Temple.

“That’s why you need two or three of them,” Maker said. “Zulu didn’t have the greatest trip last time and we were fortunate to have Bemma’s Boy pick up the pieces.”

Three Diamonds Farm’s Cross Border exits a strong third behind Colonel Liam and Largent in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream, a race Zulu Alpha won in 2020. Colonel Liam came back to win the Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) March 20.

“He ran another big race last time and was flattered the other day by Colonel Liam,” Maker said. “We expect another strong effort from him.”

Cross Border was beaten a neck by Spooky Channel in the W.L. McKnight last winter, and became a graded-stakes winner upon the disqualification of Sadler’s Joy in last summer’s Bowling Green. Tyler Gaffalione gets the riding assignment from Post 1.

“He’s run well here, but he shows up everywhere,” Maker said. “He’s a horse that never disappoints and loves his job.”

Paradise Farm Corp.’s Temple will be making his fourth start of the Championship Meet following seconds in the Claiming Crown Emerald and McKnight and a fourth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Mac Diarmida. The 5-year-old gelding has been worse than third just once in 11 career tries over the Gulfstream course, four of them wins, the most recent in an optional claiming allowance last April.

Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call from Post 2.

Completing the field are 2020 Mystic Lake Derby runner-up Angelus Warrior; Feb. 11 Gulfstream allowance winner Churn N Burn; Grade 3-placed Rijeka, with two wins and two seconds in five tries at the distance; and Sir Sahib, placed in four graded-stakes including the 2020 Northern Dancer (G1) and most recently fifth in the Mac Diarmida.

The post Sadler’s Joy Back For More In Pan American appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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