National Treasure Romps in Hill 'n' Dale Met Mile

National Treasure | Sarah Andrew

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY–The morning-line odds may have suggested that a showdown between Classic winning National Treasure (Quality Road) and GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner White Abarrio (Race Day) could be in the offing in the GI Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan H., a 'Win and You're In' for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. After the dust had settled, however, it proved to be more of a procession for the Bob Baffert runner, who streaked home a much-the-best 6 1/4-length winner over Post Time (Frosted).

Getting away in good order, the 6-5 choice went straight to the front as Hoist the Gold (Mineshaft) pressed the issue with 8-5 second choice White Abarrio and Castle Chaos (Palace Malice) five lengths farther back through an opening quarter in :23.52. Narrowly in front through a :45.75 half-mile, the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner didn't show any signs of slowing down passing the quarter pole. Spurting away from Hoist the Gold as if that one was tied to a post, the favorite was given a couple of reminders in the stretch, but it was too little too late for the rest as he strolled home an uncontested winner over Post Time, who managed to fend off Hoist the Gold by a neck at the wire. White Abarrio crossed the wire in fifth.

“The first part of the race, I had to keep him engaged” said Flavien Prat. “But then once I got down the backside, it felt like I was going to be able to get away from Johnny [Velazquez, aboard [Hoist the Gold]. Then after that, when I tightened my rein, he just went on.”

Prat added, “He has always shown talent. There's one thing about him is he always shows up and runs his race. It was a great run today.”

When asked about any pre-race instructions for his jockey, Baffert explained, “I talked to [Flavien] Prat about it [past pressure] earlier and I knew [Hoist the Gold] would be pressure, but we've learned about this horse that you have to let him run. That's his weapon–his speed–and if you take it away from him, he won't run well. That's just him. Sometimes, you just have to go for broke.”

Of White Abarrio's performance, Irad Ortiz, Jr. said, “I mean, they went fast. He broke good and I was happy where I was. They went a little quick in front of me. I was about four or five lengths off of them. I felt great and started to pick it up, but I couldn't catch any of them. He didn't fire today. It was not his day.”

After breaking his maiden first time out at Del Mar in September of 2022, it took four more tries before National Treasure would return to the winner's circle, that victory a front-running score over Blazing Sevens (Good Magic) in the GI Preakness S. at Pimlico. Off the board in both the 12-furlong GI Belmont S. and the 1 1/4-mile GI Travers S., he was fourth when returning west for Santa Anita's GI Awesome Again S. over nine furlongs in September. Cutting back for the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita, he found only Cody's Wish (Curlin) too good, having to settle for second by a nose behind the eventual champion sprinter. Favored at Gulfstream when stretching back out in on Pegasus Day, National Treasure came home the narrow winner over Senor Buscador, but saw the tables turned on him next time out when a battling fourth behind that colt in the G1 Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.

“He's royally bred and a beautiful horse, but it's about the excitement of winning these big races for these clients,” said Baffert when asked about the colt's stallion career. “That's why they're in the business–to play on the big stage. The stallion part of it he'll have to prove down the road, but we know he's a tremendous racehorse.”

When asked about a potential start in the nine-furlong GI Whitney S. Aug. 3 at the Spa, offering a “Win and You're In” berth to the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, Baffert said, “If he tips me off, it's very possible.”

Pedigree Notes:

National Treasure, a $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select yearling purchase, is campaigned by a partnership comprised of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC and Catherine Donovan. The colt was bred by Peter Blum Thoroughbreds, who retained his dam Treasure–a maiden of seven career starts–after she RNA'd for $375,000 as a yearling at the 2013 Keeneland September Sale. Treasure is also responsible for the stakes winner Ultimate (Speightstown) and last year's GI Hopeful S. third-place finisher and 'TDN Rising Star' Pirate (Omaha Beach), who was a $350,000 Keeneland September yearling buy. Treasure's 2-year-old Authentic filly has been named Renoir. Blum also bred Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Authentic. Treasure delivered a full brother to National Treasure this past January.

 

Saturday, Saratoga
HILL 'N' DALE METROPOLITAN H.-GI, $1,000,000, Saratoga, 6-8, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:35.12, ft.
1–NATIONAL TREASURE, 125, c, 4, by Quality Road
  1st Dam: Treasure, by Medaglia d'Oro 
  2nd Dam: Proposal, by Mt. Livermore
  3rd Dam: Lady of Choice, by Storm Bird
($500,000 Ylg '21 FTSAUG). O-SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC and Catherine Donovan; B-Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Flavien Prat. $550,000. Lifetime Record: 13-4-2-2, $5,372,000. *1/2 to Ultimate (Speightstown), SW, $413,560; 1/2 to Pirate (Omaha Beach), GISP, $108,653. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Post Time, 120, c, 4, Frosted–Vielsalm, by Fairbanks. 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($85,000 Ylg '21 EASOCT). O-Hillwood Stable LLC; B-Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman & Milton P Higgins III (MD); T-Brittany T. Russell. $200,000.
3–Hoist the Gold, 120, h, 5, Mineshaft–Tacit Approval, by Tapit. ($47,000 RNA Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Dream Team One Racing Stable; B-Dream Team Racing (KY); T-Dallas Stewart. $120,000.
Margins: 6 1/4, NK, NK. Odds: 1.35, 5.10, 11.50.
Also Ran: Castle Chaos, White Abarrio, Blazing Sevens.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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