By Joe Bianca
Reflective of a murky early-season 2-year-old male pecking order, a full dozen will line up in Saturday's GIII Sanford S. at Saratoga, with 'TDN Rising Star' Wit (Practical Joke) expected to go favored from the rail.
Easily the most expensive of 88 yearlings to sell from his freshman sire in 2020 when hammering for $575,000 at Keeneland September, the dark bay was hammered down to 45 cents on the dollar debuting June 5 at Belmont only to break last. That was no matter though, as the Todd Pletcher trainee advanced strongly while wide on the turn, swept to the front in mid-stretch and burst clear to a six-length romp.
Mueller Thoroughbred Stable's Candy Landing (Twirling Candy), the second choice on the morning line, won like he was odds-on debuting as a 17-1 shot June 11 at Churchill. The homebred prevailed in a pace duel with the race's co-favorite and drew clear in the final furlong to a 4 1/2-length success.
Breeze Easy went to $550,000 at OBS March to secure Headline Report (Gormley) and the ridgling rewarded that confidence in his debut, cruising to a promising score Apr. 23 at Keeneland. Laid up since then, the bay has worked sharply for this, including a five-furlong bullet in :59 3/5 (1/12) June 28 at Keeneland.