Sombeyay_Sanford 2018_615x400

Photo: Elsa Lorieul/NYRA

Todd Pletcher earned his seventh victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford Stakes
when Sombeyay, a
2-year-old Into Mischief colt owned by Starlight Racing, ran down Strike Silver
Saturday at Saratoga to win by a neck.

“I thought
he ran really well. [He] showed a little more speed than I thought he would,” Pletcher
said of his latest Sanford winner. “Javier [Castellano] had to take a bit of a
hold on him at one point, but when he took him out, he finished up nicely.

“He’s not
a particularly impressive workhorse in the mornings. He’s always run better
than he breezes. I’m perfectly happy with that as long as he’s happy and
healthy and continues to perform in the afternoons. But, he’s not one that
would blow you away in the mornings.”

Bano Solo
and Strike Silver battled on the lead and went through the opening quarters in
:22.26 and :45.49 head to head. Sombeyay settled behind them next to stablemate
Lexitonian, with Whiskey Echo, Chasing Greatness and Knicks Go in pursuit.

The two
leaders had the advantage and stuck close to the rail turning for home. While
Lexitonian failed to run on, Sombeyay began making up ground under jockey Javier
Castellano. Strike Silver put away Bano Solo in the stretch but still had
Sombeyay to fend off. Sombeyay passed Bano Solo and began to draw even with
Strike Silver before completing the six furlongs in 1:10.35.

“It was
perfect. He broke good out of the gate and put me in the right position,”
Castellano said. “Today, I didn’t want to be too far back. It worked out the
way we wanted today. When I asked, he took off. I loved the way he finished.
He’s a good come-from-behind horse. It was very satisfying. I give all the
credit to Todd [Pletcher]. I never rode this horse before, and Todd [Pletcher]
gave me the instructions.”

Echo got up for third behind Strike Silver, beating Bano Solo, Knicks Go,
Lexitonian and Chase Greatness.

was a $230,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase for Starlight Racing and
has now won two of his three starts. A debut winner at Gulfstream Park in April,
Sombeyay returned to finish second in the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park before returning to
win the Sanford.

“I think
in these early 2-year-old races, experience is huge,” Pletcher said. “Having
two starts compared to others with only one, I think that helped today. I think
it hurt him a little the last time when he stumbled, you could argue that it
helped him today.”

As for
what’s next, Pletcher added, “I think the [Grade 1, $350,000] Hopeful [
Sept. 3]
would be the next logical step with three starts under his belt if he was
tearing the barn down, we’ll see.”


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