Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rock Fall looks to keep roll going in G2 Amsterdam

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Contact: Sean Morris


Rock Fall looks to keep roll going in G2 Amsterdam


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Exciting sprint prospect Rock Fall will take his first crack at graded stakes company on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course when he contests the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam at 6 ½ furlongs for 3-year-olds.


The Amsterdam, which serves as a local prep for the Grade 1 Ketel One King's Bishop on August 23, will be part of an 11-race card on Saturday that features the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, a springboard to the Grade 1 Travers, also on August 23.


Rock Fall's career got off to an inauspicious start when he finished eighth, beaten 16 lengths, in a maiden race on April 12 at Gulfstream Park at odds of 6-1. One start later, however, the son of Speightstown found the winner's circle, thrashing a field of maidens by 9 ¼ lengths and earning a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in a six-furlong, off-the-turf race on May 11 at Belmont Park.


"He got away poorly in his debut and got dirt in his face and reacted like a lot of first-time starters; he just climbed from the dirt and was uncomfortable with the kickback," said Rock Fall's trainer Todd Pletcher.


To prove his off-the-turf maiden win was no fluke, Rock Fall aired in a first-level allowance race on June 4 at Belmont, winning by 3 ¼ lengths and stopping the clock in 1:09 flat for six furlongs after being eased up by jockey Javier Castellano in the final 70 yards. At that point, Pletcher knew he had a horse with serious potential on his hands.


"We needed to see that second win to know for sure," said Pletcher, who trains the dark bay or brown colt for Stonestreet Stables. "When you run against an off-the-turf field, you're never 100 percent sure, even though the figures were quite strong. But after the allowance race we were zeroed in on the Amsterdam, and if that goes well, hopefully the King's Bishop."


Castellano will again have the mount aboard Rock Fall, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, and the pair will break from post 2.


Trainer Mike Hushion, who will saddle Captain Serious in the Amsterdam, had a decision to make following his trainee's last start.


Captain Serious ran strong race in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Dwyer on July 5 at Belmont, leading every step of the way through swift fractions before being nailed by Kid Cruz a few strides from the finish. Since the son of Successful Appeal began his career with three straight victories at distances of five, six, and seven furlongs, Captain Serious' performance in his route debut presented Hushion with a crossroads: continue to stretch the bay gelding out in distance (in the 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy or 1 1/8-mile Curlin) or turn back in distance for the Amsterdam.


"The timing was right [for the Amsterdam] and I would rather cut him back him in distance than run him at nine furlongs," said Hushion, who trains Captain Serious for Barry Schwartz. "He's been training well."


Captain Serious should find the shorter distance to his liking, as two starts ago, the Barry Schwartz color-bearer won the seven-furlong Mike Lee for New York-breds by three lengths, completing the distance in sub-1:21 time and earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure, his lifetime best.


Captain Serious will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post 8 and sits at 4-1 on the morning line.


Trainer Leah Gyarmati sends out Noble Moon in the Amsterdam, who will be making his first start since a foray on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year. Noble Moon was a strong two-length winner of the Grade 2, 1 mile, 70-yard Jerome on January 4 at Aqueduct, before finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 5, the last time the bay colt has competed on the track. The son of Malibu Moon has not sprinted since his debut, a six-furlong dash at Belmont he won by ¾ lengths.


"He's had quite bit of time off for different reasons so I didn't want to start him out going long," said Gyarmati, who trains Noble Moon for Treadway Racing Stable. "He broke his maiden going short, though, and he has some tactical speed."


Beyond the Amsterdam, route racing may be in Noble Moon's future, according to Gyarmati.


"He's bred to go long; that's what he's made to do," said Gyarmati, "and that's what we will do unless he pops up and impresses everyone [in the Amsterdam]."


Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the mount aboard Noble Moon, who drew post 7 and sits at 8-1 on the morning line.


Grade 3 Bay Shore winner Coup de Grace will return to graded stakes company on Saturday for his new trainer, Larry Jones. The chestnut colt won a thrilling edition of the seven-furlong Bay Shore on April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack, and was transferred to Jones following a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by RTN at Belmont. In his last start, the son of Tapit took the six-furlong Oh Say at Delaware Park by a neck.


Coup de Grace, 3-1 on the morning line, will be ridden for the first time by Rosie Napravnik and the pair will break from post 4.


Rounding out the field are the 1-2 finishers of the Cherokee Run at Gulfstream Park, C. Zee and Casiguapo; Tiznowforamerica, popular winner of a first-level allowance race on July 3 at Belmont; John's Island, winner of a New York-bred optional claimer in his latest; and Big Guy Ian, third-place finisher in an optional claimer in his most recent outing.


The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam:









C. Zee (FL)

L Saez


N P. Zito



Rock Fall (KY)

J Castellano


T A. Pletcher



Casiguapo (KY)

J Lezcano


M Morales



Coup de Grace (KY)

R Napravnik


J Larry Jones



Tiznowforamerica (KY)

J Rosario


T Albertrani



John's Island (NY)

A S. Arroyo


J A. Jerkens



Noble Moon (VA)

I Ortiz, Jr.


L Gyarmati



Captain Serious (NY)

J L. Ortiz


M E. Hushion



Big Guy Ian (KY)

S Bridgmohan


M Dilger





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