SANFORD STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 6 FURLONGS
Team D's Big Trouble took advantage of a torrid pace upfront and surged at the wire to capture his stakes debut in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Sanford Stakes for two-year-olds at Saratoga. The Tony Dutrow charge paid $25.60 for the upset as the 11-1 fifth choice on the board.
"I told Irad [Ortiz] that he breaks very good and to give this horse a chance to run good," Dutrow said. "So I didn't know what was going to happen, but I'm so happy that this boy was able to do something different than his maiden win against some nice horses today. For him to be completely different than he was in his first race, and only having one racing experience, I have to feel really good about his future."
Big Trouble raced near the back of the field as Chocolate Wildcat fired an opening quarter in :21 ⅗ seconds before giving way to Cinco Charlie, who posted a swift half mile in :45 seconds.
Big Trouble made his move three wide around the far turn, while 3-2 favorite, Nonna's Boy engaged the leader turning for home. Those two were locked into a duel down the stretch as Big Trouble and eventual runner-up, Mr. Z were battling it out just behind them.
Mr. Z was looking for running room and came out to bump Big Trouble, but that did not deter the eventual winner who continued to dig in. Mr. Z reeled in the leaders in the final yards to emerge with a short lead, but he could not hold off a late surge by Big Trouble, who prevailed by a neck in the end.
"Obviously right now the Hopeful makes sense," said Dutrow, when asked what might be next. "We haven't given him a lot of time from January 1 until now, so I might wait until Belmont, but certainly he'll be nominated to the Hopeful."
Big Trouble covered six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:10 ⅗ and banked $190,000 for the victory to boost his bankroll to $235,000 from two starts. The Tiz Wonderful bay colt was exiting a 4 ¼-length win in his racing bow on June 1 at Belmont.
Mr. Z had to settle for second and was 1 ½ lengths in front of third-place finisher Cinco Charlie, who was a neck clear of Nonna's Boy in fourth. Silverhill, Less Than Perfect, Bessie's Boy and Chocolate Wildcat rounded out the order of finish. Souper Colossal was scratched.
"They beat us up and we were still there," said Lukas, trainer of runner-up Mr. Z. "He's got a big future. It was a great effort. I felt I had a great chance to win this."
Bred in Kentucky by Columbiana Farm, Big Trouble is out of the Najran mare Silver Lullaby. He is a full brother to stakes-placed Silver Lining John. The bay's grandam is Million Stories, who produced Grade 3 winners Tubrok and Sunshine for Life. His female family also includes the 1989 French One Thousand Guineas winner, Pearl Bracelet as well as multiple Grade 2 scorer Anak Nakal.
Big Trouble sold as a yearling for $230,000 at the Keeneland September sale.