by NYRA Press Release
August 6, 2017
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Green Mask and Holding Gold were game challengers, falling just short of a record-setting performance last out against graded stakes competition. The duo will look to build on those efforts, linking up again in Sunday's 13th running of the $250,000 Troy Handicap for turf sprinters on Saratoga Race Course's Mellon turf course.
Abdullah Saeed Almaddah's Green Mask and Live Oak Plantation's Holding Gold finished a half-length and length, respectively, behind Disco Partner, running 2-3 in the Grade 3 Jaipur on June 10, Belmont Stakes Day. Disco Partner, last year's Troy winner, set a six-furlong world-record of 1:05.67. The pair will now be part of a field of seven seeking a strong effort at the Spa.
Multiple graded-stakes winner Green Mask followed up his second in the Jaipur with a win in the Grade 2 Highlander at Woodbine on July 2. Trainer Brad Cox said he likes the way the 6-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding looks heading into Sunday.
"Yeah, he was good in the Jaipur. We were happy with him there," he said. "He has beat [most of] the horses in this race at one point, so I think he should be able to handle the competition and we are looking forward to him running on Sunday."
Javier Castellano will have the mount from post 4.
Following his third-place Jaipur effort, trainer Mark Casse said Holding Gold is well rested heading into the 5 ½-furlong sprint.
"He's been training extremely well," Casse said. "He got beat by a length and that's when they broke the world record. We gave him a bit of a break after that. He's won here going 5 ½. It's a [tough distance]. I wish it was three-quarters but a lot of it has to do with the track. I always have concerns, but it is what it is."
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride from post 6.
Patricia Generazio's homebred Pure Sensation returns off a fourth-place finish in the Japiur, setting blistering fractions as the pacesetter before Disco Partner's run for the record books. The Christophe Clement trainee held the North American six-furlong record before Disco Partner's performance, setting the previous mark in the 2016 Jaipur.
"Pure Sensation has more natural speed [than Disco Partner]," said Clement, who also trains the world-record setter for Patricia Generazio. "The Troy should be a very good race. A tough race. I think he can be competitive with anybody, and I am excited to see him run."
Pure Sensation, a 6-year-old Zensational gelding, is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Parx Dash and will break from post 2 with Kendrick Carmouche in the saddle.
Mongolian Saturday, the 2015 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint champion, who finished second in the Parx Dash, beaten 5 ¾ lengths, will break from the outside post for trainer Enebish Ganbat with Florent Geroux in the irons.
Third in the Parx Dash by a neck was Andrew Sulley's Bold Thunder. The Patricia Farro trainee will leave from post 8 with Paco Lopez in the saddle.
The field also features multiple graded stakes winner Undrafted, a chestnut gelding by Purim owned by former NFL wide receiver Wes Welker and trained by Wesley Ward. Undrafted will break from the rail with jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Rounding out the field is Watchel Stable's Long On Value breaking from post 2 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott with Joel Rosario aboard.
Doctor J Dub and Weekend Hideaway are entered for main track only.