Aqua Regia & Cleveland Sound Contest Graded Stakes
West Point runners Aqua Regia and Cleveland Sound contest graded stakes events this weekend on the East Coast
Tom Albertrani trainee Aqua Regia takes on a full field of sophomore fillies in Saturday’s $100,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3). She’s looking to rebound from a fourth place finish behind division leader Untapable in the Mother Goose (G1).
A pretty dark bay daughter of Pollard’s Vision, Aqua Regia was purchased at the 2013 OBS June 2-Year-Old in Training Sale. She broke her maiden in February at Aqueduct before capturing a first level allowance race on June 5 at Belmont Park.
“This filly is blossoming in Saratoga,” said WPT president Terry Finley. “When there weren’t any overnight stakes options at Saratoga, we zoned in on this spot, knowing her residual value is increased if she hits the board in a graded stake. She’s really muscled up and developed over the past few weeks.”
The likely favorites in the Monmouth Oaks are the top two finishers in the Iowa Oaks (G3), Size and Ria Antonia. Ria Antonia won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification but hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since.
Aqua Regia reunites with Eddie Castro, who piloted her to her maiden-breaking score earlier this year. Castro is back in the saddle after being injured in a paddock accident at the end of the June.
WPT’s first juvenile winner of 2014, Cleveland Sound, takes on a full field in Sunday’s $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2) run at six and one half furlongs.
A son of More Than Ready out of the Horse Chestnut mare Twilight Service, Cleveland Sound is named for FM station 87.7 owned by WPT Partners Tom Wilson and Misty Gonzalez. He was purchased by Terry Finley and the WPT buying team at the 2013 Saratoga yearling sale.
His debut win at Delaware Park on July 10 came as a bit of a surprise to trainer Graham Motion and West Point Partners. This is a big, rangy colt who hadn’t given this indication that he had enough early zip to be ultra competitive going five eighths of a mile. The plan was to use this race simply to get experience under the colt’s belt before stretching out.
After breaking a step slow, Cleveland Sound willingly came up the rail and vied for the lead under Angel Serpa. He was challenged on the turn before digging in down the stretch and prevailing by a length and a quarter.
“After he broke his maiden we looked around at the options for winners, and there wasn’t really an ideal spot,” said trainer Graham Motion. “I see him ultimately doing his best running around two turns, but we like the progression from eighths to six and a half. He’s a very professional two-year-old, so I think he’ll handle the big field just fine. Win or lose, we’ll probably stretch out next time.”