Pletcher entered Shanghai Bobby, Archwarrior, and Micromanage in the Foxwoods Champagne, a one-mile race for 2-year-olds. In the one-mile Frizette for juvenile fillies, Dreaming of Julia will carry the torch for the Pletcher stable.
Starlight Racing’s Shanghai Bobby is unbeaten in three starts and owns victories at all three NYRA tracks. After debuting a four-length winner in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, Shanghai Bobby posted a one-length score in the Track Barron overnight stakes in June at Belmont and enters Saturday’s race off a 3 ¾-length triumph in the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Hopeful on September 3 at Saratoga Race Course.
The speedy colt showed a new dimension in the Three Chimneys Hopeful when he settled in fourth early before launching a bid with three furlongs to travel.
“We were encouraged with the way he rated in the Hopeful,” said Pletcher, who on Saturday won the Grade 2 Futurity with Overanalyze and the Grade 2 Matron with Kauai Katie. “Even though he was close to the pace, he was able to let horses go in front of him and seemed to settle pretty well. The fact he successfully got seven furlongs and wasn’t desperate doing it was a good indication that a one-turn mile should be well within his scope.”
Rose Napravnik has the return assignment aboard Shanghai Bobby, who drew post position 2 as the 3-1 co-second choice on the morning line.
Archwarrior was backed at 1-4 in his only start to date, and the Alto Racing representative battled for the early lead and opened up under a hand ride in the stretch to deliver a 3 ¼-length decision in 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight on August 30 at Saratoga.
“He’s a big, strong colt who has shown us a lot of ability in the mornings, and I thought he backed it up with a good, solid effort in his debut,” said Pletcher. “I liked the way he finished the race and the way he galloped out, and he’s trained well since then. It’s an ambitious move, but it’s a move we think that fits his schedule based off what we’ve seen.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride Archwarrior, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, from post 4.
Mike Repole’s Micromanage also comes off an eye-catching debut win, a five-length romp in a seven-furlong event on September 1 at the Spa.
“We were expecting him to run well, but he actually exceeded our expectations,” said Pletcher. “We thought he ran very well. Not only did he run well, but it seemed like he moved forward for having run the race. He’s trained even better since then and has grown and filled out. He’s really developing the way you want to see them do it this time of year.”
Micromanage, 5-1 on the morning line, drew the outside post in the field of seven. Joel Rosario has the call.
Fortify tracked the pace along the inside in the Three Chimneys Hopeful and stayed on well to finish second. The Godolphin Racing homebred drew post 5 for the Foxwoods Champagne, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin hopes the outside post will help the colt turn the tables on Shanghai Bobby.
“He was back there a little along the inside [in the Three Chimneys Hopeful] and ended up taking some dirt,” said McLaughlin. “He took the worst of it while Shanghai Bobby and Rosie were in the clear. It was good for him education-wise. I was hoping he’d draw outside, and that he’ll have a cleaner trip this time.”
Fortify, who prevailed by 5 ½ lengths on August 4 at Saratoga in his only other start, was installed at 6-1 on the morning line. Ramon Dominguez will ride Fortify for the first time.
From the rail out, the Foxwoods Champagne field includes Goldencents, a dominant debut winner at Del Mar; Chief Havoc, a maiden who has placed in a pair of starts in England, and Bern Identity, third in the Three Chimneys Hopeful after winning the Grade 2 Sanford in July.
Dreaming of Julia will try graded stakes competition for the first time in the Frizette. She is unbeaten and untested in two starts: a 10 ½-length maiden win on August 6 at Saratoga and a 16 ¼-length romp in the Meadow Star overnight stakes on September 9 at Belmont. The Meadow Star was conducted over the Frizette’s one-mile distance.
Like Matron winner Kauai Katie, Dreaming of Julia races for Stonestreet Stables.
“The obvious reason [we targeted the Frizette with Dreaming of Julia] is that she’s a daughter of A.P. Indy, and the way she trains and the way she ran in her debut suggests that added distance won’t be a problem,” said Pletcher. “In the case of keeping her and Kauai Katie separated, it was really based on the type of fillies they are. They’re both fast, but one is bred to go long and the other filly might go long at some point but seems to be a gifted sprinter. We were lucky we had two good options for them.”
Dreaming of Julia, installed at 2-5 on the morning line, will depart from post 7 with John Velazquez aboard.
My Happy Face will negotiate an extra 2 ½ furlongs off a 21 ¼-length maiden win on August 31 at Saratoga. The Frizette will be her third start as she was second to Teen Pauline in July at the Spa.
“We’re excited to see her run, and hopefully she runs the way we’re expecting,” said Rudy Rodriguez, who trains My Happy Face for Michael Dubb. “This race is tough; Todd Pletcher has a beast in there. This is the nicest spot we could pick for her, and hopefully it’s the right one. She’s a very big, scopey filly and I think she can go the distance, but we won’t know until we try it. This is a good time to try her. Hopefully she shows the speed she showed last time, and hopefully she’ll be able to rate a little bit, and hopefully she’ll be able to go the distance. At this time of the year, anything is possible. The horses are still immature and the competition is deep, but I think we have a very good chance.”
My Happy Face, 4-1, will leave from post 2 with Ramon Dominguez aboard.
Roveing Patrol, a stakes winner at Emerald Downs; Grade 1 Spinaway runner-up Sweet Shirley Mae; Nancy O, who is switching to dirt off a third in the Grade 2 Natalma, and maiden winners Toasting and Carameaway complete the Frizette field.