(Gunite wins the G1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga / Image Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Gunite supplied Corridor of Fame coach Steve Asmussen his third consecutive score in the Quality 1, $300,000 Hopeful, a seven-furlong dash for juveniles, on Closing Day Monday at Saratoga Race Class.
Asmussen, who gained the Hopeful with Basin  and Jackie’s Warrior , was joined by Gunite jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. in securing their respective fifth Quality 1 win of the 40-working day Spa summertime meet.
Steve Asmussen — Gunite (1st):
“I liked how he went by way of the wire. He didn’t get absent excellent right now. Ricardo mentioned there was just a tiny little bit of bumping,” Asmussen stated. “Going 22 and 1 to 44 and 2, and to search how he did it to the wire, it is heading to be interesting likely ahead. I was anxious we weren’t exactly where we envisioned to be in the initial hundred yards. But I watched the race from up the extend and Ricardo, coming into the stretch, moved his arms a bit but experienced him loads gathered up. I felt definitely very good then.
“It’s point out of thoughts,” extra Asmussen about Gunite’s growth. “We’ve been intense with him and he’s place on excess weight and gotten more powerful the full time. We have been by way of the roof with how very well he’s doing.”
The Asmussen-experienced and Santana, Jr. piloted Echo Zulu presented Gun Runner – the 2017 Horse of the Calendar year underneath Asmussen’s care – with his to start with Grade 1-winner as a sire by capturing Sunday’s Grade 1 Spinaway at the Spa and Gunite doubled that quantity with a dominant Hopeful rating.
Asmussen mentioned Gunite, who graduated at 3rd inquiring sprinting six furlongs at Churchill Downs on June 26, improved with additional floor.
“The distance it was a little also brief,” Asmussen mentioned of Gunite’s 1st two commences. “But we have been nervous to get the Gun Runners managing. He’s from a strong sprint family of the Winchells with Gun Runner supplying him some endurance. But he’s very strong, mentally and physically. As much strain as we put on him, he accepted it.”
Asmussen claimed Gunite will now concentrate on the one-mile Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on Oct 2 at Belmont Park, which presents a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Del Mar.
“I love him for far more 2-year-outdated races this calendar year. We know what we want his future two races to be and we come to feel genuinely great about them,” Asmussen explained. “The Champagne and the Breeders’ Cup are what we’re hoping his subsequent two races are. I love his model for the Juvenile. He’s heading to journey and we’ll try to consider it. We’re incredibly proud of him.”
Todd Pletcher — Wit:
Pletcher said Wit executed nicely underneath difficult situations.
“He possibly compromised himself,” Pletcher claimed. “I assumed he set in a good, sustained run. It was a rough place to occur from.
“He took a respectable chunk out of both of those quarters,” extra Pletcher. “I’m not indicating he felt it through the race. It was the result of stumbling absent from there.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. — Wit:
Ortiz, Jr. tipped his cap to the winner right after a troubled vacation aboard the formerly undefeated Wit.
“He got beat by a wonderful horse. He stumbled a tiny little bit at the starting and he attempted challenging to conquer that,” Ortiz, Jr. mentioned. “I had to hustle him and check with him to get place to get there on time, but it was far too significantly. It appears to be like he can [stretch out].”
Ricardo Santana, Jr. — Gunite (1st):
Santana, Jr, who was aboard for the Grade 1 wins with Yaupon and Max Participant, also engineered a leading-flight victory with Maracuja in the Coaching Club American Oaks.
The 28-yr-outdated Santana, Jr. reported he was in awe of his accomplishments at Saratoga this summer time.
“It’s distinctive. Saratoga is one particular of the very best tracks in North The us. I’m definitely blessed. 5 Quality 1 wins in a person meet up with is unreal,” Santana, Jr. said.
Reside racing returns Thursday, September 16 for Opening Working day of the 28-day slide satisfy at Belmont Park, that includes the Quality 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory, a 2 1/2-mile steeplechase handicap for 4-12 months-olds and up.
The Belmont Park fall meet up with, which will run from Thursday, September 16 by way of Sunday, October 31, will involve 5 Quality 1 races and 5 “Win and You are In” qualifiers to the Breeders’ Cup in November at Del Mar.