WITH ANTICIPATION STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
Wheeled back in 11 days after breaking his maiden, Bashart led all the way to capture the $200,000 With Anticipation Stakes with style Aug. 29 on the turf at Saratoga Race Course.
The fast-developing 2-year-old son of War Front defeated River Dancer by 1 1/4 lengths while completing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:41.97 over a firm Mellon Turf Course.
Javier Castellano rode Bashart, a homebred owned by Rosedown Racing, for the first time for trainer Todd Pletcher. The bay colt is out of the Clever Trick mare Busy Windsong.
"Javier kind of let him run away from there, and he made the lead and relaxed," said Pletcher, who has won three of the nine renewals of the With Anticipation. "The turf course has been playing that way like the past seven to 10 days, so it was a good spot to be. He responded every time they came to him. He found a little more.
"One of the reasons we decided to run back on short rest was it put us on a better schedule," Pletcher added. "It gave us an opportunity with a horse that's still learning to run twice before a possible Breeders' Cup. That's why he ran back on short rest, and he's acted really well since his maiden win. We got lucky today."
Bashart went off as the slight 5-2 second choice behind Pletcher stablemate We Miss Artie, who was also bet to 5-2 odds.
Breaking from the inside post in the field of seven juveniles, Bashart went directly to the front with Base Case Scenario on his outside and We Miss Artie and Tiger Bourbon stalking the two leaders. Bashart, under a snug hold, led Base Case Scenario by about one length at each call for the opening six furlongs, carving sensible fractions of :23.30, :47.20, and 1:11.39.
Still showing the way into the homestretch, Bashart was asked for more and opened up by a couple of lengths in the lane as Base Case Scenario yielded and the rallying Marvin's Miracle came on. Bashart was kept to his task all the way to the wire by Castellano.
"I let him do whatever he wanted, and I was very satisfied with the way he did it today," Castellano said.
River Dancer, angled sharply to the outside in upper stretch by Rajiv Margagh, put in a good late run from the back of the pack. He was gaining on the winner approaching the wire but had way too much to do to seriously threaten while finishing a clear second. It was 1 ½ lengths farther back to third-place finisher Marvin's Miracle, who put in a menacing move along the inside for Irad Ortiz Jr., but could not sustain it after angling to the outside.
Tiger Bourbon finished fourth, followed by Base Case Scenario, We Miss Artie, and Racetrack Romance.
Bashart graduated at the same 1 1/16-mile distance Aug. 18 at Saratoga in his second start, prevailing by half a length in his second start. He made his debut at Belmont Park July 12, finishing third behind Tiger Bourbon in a six-furlong turf dash. He earned $120,000 for his latest victory, boosting his career total to $178,000.
"He's still learning," Pletcher said. "When he made the lead the other day, he was a little bit green and kind of idled a little bit, but when you're on the lead, you can kind of relax and use that to your advantage. So, he was able to settle. The second quarter [mile] was comfortable, so I think that really helped."
Under 120 pounds, Bashart paid $7.70, $4, and $3.10, keying a $48.20 exacta with 7-1 shot River Dancer. The latter, who had not raced since a debut maiden win July 5 on the Belmont inner turf course at six furlongs, returned $7.10 and $4.60 for trainer David Cannizzo. Marvin's Miracle, coming off a maiden win over New York-breds Aug. 8 on the Saratoga turf, paid $4.60.
General Jack scratched, while King Cyrus, Free Mugatu, and Howaboutwe were entered for the main track only.