Safe Conduct Set for Return to Spa in Fasig-Tipton Lure
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – In its last two starts, WellSpring Stables safe driving regained the form that made him a Canadian Classic winner last year. He will look to continue that progression in his 4-year-old year as part of an eight-horse field in Saturday’s $135,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure covering 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf at the racecourse. of Saratoga.
The 10th Race of the Lure, for children aged 4 and over who have not won any graduated bets this year, will be one of five bets on a stacked 12 race card which is highlighted by the 1st year, $1 million Whitney for ages 4 and up running 1 1/8 miles; the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational as the second leg of the Caesars Turf Triple series for 3-year-olds; the $500,000 Longines Grade 1 test for 3-year-old fillies sprinting seven furlongs; and the $250,000 Grade 2 Glens Chutes at 12 furlongs on grass for older fillies and mares.
Safe Conduct, a first-time winner on second demand on the Spa turf in August 2020, memorably picked up its first staking win, surviving the fast-closing Riptide Rock in a photo-finish to capture Queen’s Plate 2021 of a million dollars a head. As the favorite for the first stage of the Canadian Triple Crown, Safe Conduct took victory by covering 1 1/4 miles on the Tapeta surface of Woodbine Racecourse.
The Bodemeister colt, bred in Ontario by Mitchell Kursner, closed out his second campaign with a second place finish in the Gio Ponti in November at Aqueduct Racetrack and a third place finish in the Tropical Park Derby on Boxing Day at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s been training really well and seems to be doing a lot better when the weather has cooled down,” coach Phil Serpe said. “He’s continued to improve and seems to like Saratoga, so we’re hoping for a big push on Saturday.”
Serpe gave Safe Conduct just over two months before starting 2022 with a boring 11th-place effort in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream. But after getting rid of the rust he beat allowance company to a one-length win over the Lure distance on May 5 at Belmont and ran second to Sacred Life for the final time in the 1 1 /8 mile Grade 3 Monmouth on June 18.
“All races are important, but since that first race he’s put on a bit of weight and filled out and he looks good in his work,” Serpe said. “That distance should suit him pretty well.”
Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount at station 2.
Trainer Chad Brown won last year’s Lure edition with Flavius and has won three in race history since the inaugural race in 2014. The four-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner will now send a pair of suitors bred in Britain in Sift the sands and Public sector.
Peter Brant’s Sifting Sands will return to the stakes company for the first time since wrapping up his 3-year campaign with an eighth-place finish at the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November in Del Mar.
The Dubawi colt ran sixth in his 2022 arc against Allocation Company on May 5 at Belmont before earning a career-high 94 Beyer Speed Figure for his last victory in the half-length over a mile on Belmont’s firm turf on July 3. He will compete in Saratoga for the first time since winning his first Better Talk Now stakes contest last August.
Manny Franco will be in irons from position 7.
Public Sector, owned by Klaravich Stables, has previously competed in the Saratoga Summer Meet, finishing third in the one-mile Grade 3 Banned Apple on July 15.
After a quick turnaround, the winner of Grade 2 Hill Prince in October at Belmont will seek further success in the Saratoga Stakes following his score at Grade 3 Saranac in September 2021. Public Sector is a 4-year-old son of Kingman, who will make a 5-3-2 record in 13 starts over the weekend. Flavien Prat will start from position 1.
Skychai Racing and David Koenig Somelikeithotbrown posted Beyers of 90 or more in seven straight runs, which included wins at the 2021 Sophomore dinner and the Mohawks against state stockmen in November to close out his year.
Raised in New York by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables, 5-year-old Somelikeithotbrown amassed a career-best 8-6-4 in 25 starts for earnings of more than $1.2 million. The Mike Maker trainee made his seasonal bow with a fifth-place finish at the Kingston in May at Belmont before running third at the Jonathan B. Schuster Memorial in July at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the mission out of station 8.
south elbowowned by Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber and Peter Deutsch, finished sixth in Lure last year for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, but then finished second in Year 3 Harlan’s Holiday in December at Gulfstream Park.
In his 5-year-old year, the son of Algorithms will be looking for his first victory on his fifth start this campaign, drawing the 3 post with Joel Rosario on board.
Rounding out the field is Mrs. Fitriani Hay’s Duke of HazzardSeek Again finalist in May at Belmont for coach Wesley Ward [post 4, Jose Ortiz]; NBS stable Dance TDninth of 3rd year Monmouth last in his first start for trainer Jason Barkley [post 6, Luis Saez]; and Flying P Stable and James Schurman’s Dynadrivea winner running 1 1/4 miles against optional contenders last seen on July 1 at Belmont, trained by Tom Morley [post 5, Eric Cancel].
The Fasig-Tipton lure is scheduled for race 5 on Saturday 12 race card. The first message is at 12:35 p.m. Eastern Time.
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Header photo: Safe conduct earning optional allowance claiming at Belmont in May (NYRA/Coglianese)