“We felt like this summer the 2-year-olds were training very well, and we were coming in holding a strong hand,” said Pletcher, who saddled 23 juvenile winners among his meet-leading 36 victories. “When some of them start to win and their workmates come up to run, you kind of get a good feel for it. We’re not surprised, but we’re happy.”
“The purse is $300,000, you get a $100,000 [NYRA] bonus, and I still have shares in [Shanghai Bobby’s sire] Harlan’s Holiday,” said Starlight Racing’s Jack Wolf. “I said to my wife, ‘This is a pretty big race.’ It’s nice that NYRA came up with the bonus. It seems to have helped the 2-year-old program.”
Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Shanghai Bobby settled in the middle of the pack as Majestic Hussar set opening fractions of 22.55 and 45.28 seconds with Overanalyze, another Pletcher runner, and Fortify in pursuit. Moving up eagerly three-wide when given his cue on the turn, Shanghai Bobby took command at the head of the stretch and never was challenged as he rolled under the wire 3 ¾ lengths in front of the 8-5 favorite.
The dark bay colt completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.72 and returned $6.30 as part of a 2-1 Starlight Racing entry with Lawn Man.
“He’s a very talented horse,” said Napravnik, who has been aboard the undefeated Shanghai Bobby’s three victories, including the Track Barron on June 27 at Belmont Park in his most recent outing. “I really liked this horse since day one. He’s very sensible, and he’s been moving forward every race and really maturing.”
Fortify, who was looking to give trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Racing their sixth graded stakes win of the meet, was three-quarters of a length ahead of Grade 2 Sanford winner Bern Identity.
“Fortify ran very well,” said McLaughlin, who this summer saddled Emcee to take the Grade 1 Forego, Questing to win the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama, and Alpha to win the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and dead-heat in the Grade 1 Travers. “He finished second today, but we feel like he’s going to keep improving. That’s a big step up, so we’re happy.”
Overanalyze, Show Some Magic, Vegas No Show, Majestic Hussar and Lawn Man – the third Pletcher trainee – completed the order of finish. Royal Art was scratched.
Shanghai Bobby, who missed the Grade 2 Saratoga Special with a fever, likely will run next in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne on October 6 at Belmont Park, said Pletcher.