Tom’s Ready will use his victory in the Leemat Stakes-LR (1600m) as a springboard into the Saratoga season that runs between July 21 and September 4.
The More Than Ready colt had to work hard to win Sunday night’s feature for Pennsylvania-bred milers at Presque Isle Downs. Racing on an all-weather track for the first time, he was unhurried in the early stages before looming into contention down the lane.
With Brian Hernandez Jr in the irons, Tom’s Ready forged to the lead and then fought on well to prevail by a head as the heavy favourite. It was the second stakes win for More Than Ready on the weekend following Sonic Boom’s Group 3 victory in the American Derby (1800m) at Arlington on Saturday.
Trainer Dallas Stewart has several black-type options at Saratoga albeit after his colt came up short at the Spa in 2015 (Hopeful Stakes-Gr.1) and 2016 (Allen Jerkins Memorial-Gr.1).
Tom’s Ready (4c More Than Ready – Goodbye Stranger by Broad Brush) won the Woody Stephens Stakes-Gr.2 at Belmont and Ack Ack Stakes-Gr.3 at Churchill Downs on either side of last year’s famed summer meet.
Sunday’s result boosted his record to 4 wins in 17 starts and $803,760 in prizemoney for New Orleans couple Tom & Gayle Benson. They bought him for $145,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
Tom’s Ready was purchased as a stallion prospect last year by Kentucky-based Spendthrift Farm. “He’s one of the best-looking colts we’ve ever seen by More Than Ready who is an important sire of sires, both in America and Australia,” general manager Ned Toffey said. “He’s incredibly sound and versatile and has a big future ahead.”
More Than Ready (USA) can claim a third stakes win this week when Montauk runs in the Grafton Cup-LR (2350m) on Thursday. He is coming off a close second to Gallic Chieftain in the Winter Cup-LR (2400m) at Rosehill on July 1.
Vinery stands More Than Ready for a $66,000 (inc gst) service fee.