By Joe Bianca
Attempting to build on the promise he showed last summer, Stronach Stables' Green Light Go (Hard Spun) will kick off his 3-year-old season against dazzling debut winner Untitled (Khozan) and six other foes in an intriguing renewal of the GIII Swale S. Saturday at Gulfstream.
Unveiled by trainer Jimmy Jerkens July 4 at Belmont, the bay went to the lead and shook off the bid of subsequent SW/GSP colt Another Miracle (American Pharoah) en route to a 3 1/4-length success before scoring by a similar margin, this time from off the pace, in the GII Saratoga Special S. Aug. 10. Sent off favored when routing for the first time in the GI Champagne S. Oct. 4 at Big Sandy, he went back to his front-running tactics, but was no match for Tiz the Law (Constitution) while just holding second. He'll turn back to seven furlongs in the Swale instead of rematching with his conqueror in the 1 1/16-mile GIII Holy Bull S. later on Saturday's card.
“A two-turn race first-time out of the box would be tough. If his race in the Champagne was a little more evenly run I would have considered it, but this made a little more sense,” Jerkens told the Gulfstream notes team. “I didn't expect him to be on the lead like that. He did falter a little but I thought he ran very well to hang on for second.”
Normally, a horse with Green Light Go's credentials would be the clear headliner in a race like this, but he shares top billing due to the presence of a potential star in Untitled. Debuting against fellow Florida-breds for breeders Brent Fernung and Michael Sebastian and trainer Ralph Nicks going six furlongs here Dec. 14, he was bet hard throughout, made the lead from his rail draw and extended his advantage at every pole in a powerful 11-length romp. Earning a 98 Beyer for the effort, Untitled was bought into by Gary Barber in the interim and switched to Mark Casse's barn.
“I really like him. So far, everything I've seen of him I really like,” Casse said. “I like his demeanor. He's a handsome horse. He's my kind of horse, which is that he has a little more leg and length than to him than a lot of other horses, which I like. He's a good mover. He has a great attitude.”
Mischevious Alex (Into Mischief) looms a threat for Cash is King and LC Racing. Failing to build on a debut win June 25 at Parx in his next three tries, the $140,000 OBS April buy added blinkers in the Parx Juvenile S. Nov. 5 and flipped the proverbial switch to the tune of a 9 3/4-length rout. Every single horse behind him that day who has run since has improved their Beyer figure by double digits from that try in subsequent starts.
Fringe contenders include Jacks or Better Farm's Shivaree (Awesome of Course), who looks for his third straight stakes victory after scores in the local Buffalo Man S. and Limehouse S., and Sagamore Farm and Stanley Hough's Necker Island (Hard Spun), who prevailed after dueling on a fast pace in a live maiden race Nov. 30 at Churchill.