Halladay Faces Five In Bernard Baruch




Riding a two-race winning streak, Harrell Ventures' Halladay (War Front) will try to take it to the next level in Sunday's GII Bernard Baruch S. at Saratoga. Victorious in Gulfstream's Tropical Park Derby last December, the grey finished fourth–beaten two lengths–in the GIIII Tampa Bay S. Feb. 8 before returning with a three-length score in a one-mile Gulfstream optional claimer Apr. 4. Most recently, Halladay went gate-to-wire over subsequent GI United Nations winner Aquaphobia (Giant's Causeway) and stablemate Social Paranoia (Street Boss), who took the GIII Poker S. at Belmont Park two starts later.

“So far, the turf course has not been kind to horses close to the pace,” said trainer Pletcher, who won the Baruch in 2012 with Dominus. “That's really my only concern. The horse is training super and we're excited about Sunday. He's in great form and seems to be steadily improving. Obviously, he took to the turf at Gulfstream quite well so I'm hoping that he can apply that to this turf course.”

Jockey Luis Saez was aboard for Halladay's two latest winning efforts and retains the mount from post six.

Trainer Chad Brown is represented by a pair of contenders in the 8 1/2 furlong test–the lightly-raced Good Governance (GB) (Kingman {GB}) and graded-stakes winner Olympico (Fr) (Rajsaman {Fr}). Campaigned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, Good Governance broke his maiden last August over the Spa's inner turf before finishing a close-up second in the GIII Saranac S. Benched for the remainder of the season, the English-bred registered a 3 3/4-length win in a Belmont allowance June 26.

“He's lightly raced, but he's very talented,” said Brown. “Hopefully he's up to the challenge. He has a nice race under his belt and he looks good.”

The bay's regular pilot, Irad Ortiz, Jr., reunites with the 4-year-old and will attempt to collect his third Bernard Baruch triumph.

Stablemate Olympico will attempt to record his first win since lighting up the tote board at 18-1 in his North American debut in last year's GII Fort Marcy S. at Belmont Park. Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables, the 5-year-old finished fifth in this race one year ago before finishing runner-up in the GII Knickerbocker S. over the inner turf at Belmont Oct. 14.

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