SARATOGA SPRINGS — Killybegs Captain, third following troubled start in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud last out, will attempt to win his second stakes of the year when he competes in Friday’s $100,000 Tale of the Cat.
The Tale of the Cat, carded as the penultimate race on the 10-race card with a scheduled post time of 5:18 p.m. Eastern, is a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up which have not won a graded stakes in 2019.
Killybegs Captain, owned by Curragh Stables, earned his first stakes victory in his 5-year-old debut, winning the Pelican by 4 ½ lengths in February at Tampa Bay Downs. He was second over a route of ground in the Challenger in March at Tampa and enters the Tale of the Cat off three straight starts in sprints: a fourth in the listed Runhappy in May at Belmont Park, a second in the Chocolate Town Sprint in July, and earning blacktype in completing the trifecta in the Nerud on July 6.
In the Nerud, Killybegs Captain was away last of seven after stumbling and steadying at the start. He rushed up to race in third at the first point of call, and made a three-wide bid for the lead with five-sixteenths to travel before flattening out in the stretch, finishing 4 ¾-lengths behind the heavily favored winner Promises Fulfilled.
“He really ran a remarkable race, considering the circumstances,” said trainer John Terranova. “He’s trained on excellent since then, and it looks like the right spot. He just has to keep running as well as he has been and stay consistent. We’re not going to face some of the types we just faced, but all of these races are tough. I couldn’t be asking him to be doing any better.”
Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride Killybegs Captain from post 2.
Pat On the Back, winner the six-furlong Affirmed Success in April and the one-mile Commentator in May against New York-breds at Belmont, will be seeking his third straight score and fourth in five starts. He concluded his 2018 campaign with a victory in Belmont’s 1 1/2-mile Empire Classic and a fifth in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap in December at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“If timing was a little better, I would have rather run in the John Morrissey [contested on August 4],” said Jeremiah Englehart, who trains the 5-year-old for Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables and Nehoc Stables. “It just happened that he needed a little more time, so the Tale of the Cat ended up being the race. I wanted to get a race into him here before we went back to Belmont. Hopefully, he can get there towards the end. He can win going six furlongs. He just needed to get the right set up.”
Dylan Davis will ride Pat On the Back from post 3.
Skyler’s Scramjet, trained by Michelle Nevin for SJC Stable and Marcello Micozzi, looks to regain his form after finishing fifth, beaten 14 lengths, last time out in the Runhappy. The 5-year-old Creative Cause gelding was second, beaten a half length by World of Trouble, in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April at Aqueduct and won the 2018 Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at the Big A.
Rajiv Maragh has the call aboard Skyler’s Scramjet from post 6.
Sagamore Farm’s He Hate Me will look to prove he’s the smart choice as he steps up following a 2 ¼-length optional claiming victory July 19 at Saratoga. Winner of the Tremont at Belmont as a 2-year-old, He Hate Me will be making his first stakes start since finishing fourth in the 2018 Miracle Wood at Laurel Park.
Trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by Luis Saez, He Hate Me drew post 4.
Exiting graded stakes competition is Uno Mas Modelo, seventh in the Grade 3 Commonwealth in April at Keeneland and 10th in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs on May 4. A 6-year-old gelding, Uno Mas Modelo has won three black-type stakes in his career, including the Perseus in January and the Rough and Ready in February at Gulfstream Park.
The Anthony Quartarolo-trained Uno Mas Modelo, owned by Ron Paolucci Racing, will depart from post 1 under Eric Cancel.
Rounding out the field is Ruler of the Night, stepping up in class off three straight wins from post 6; Bon Raison, second in an optional claimer July 19, out of post 7; and Eight Town, who will be making his first start since finishing second in an optional claimer last September at Belmont, leaving from the outside post 8.