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Big Apple Triple on Tap at Saratoga
When he started his three-year-old season, there was nothing to indicate Amberjack was going to do anything special. In fact, in his very first start in 2013, the chestnut son of Indygoshiner recorded a DNF after being eased in the stretch in an optional claiming event at Gulfstream on New Year’s Day. But fast forward a few months, and the Micheal Hushion-trained New York bred is on the verge of his fourth straight win, and a historic sweep of the Big Apple Triple.
Only one other has claimed Triple title
For NY breds, the Big Apple Triple consists of the Mike Lee Handicap at Belmont, the New York Derby at Finger Lakes, and the Albany Stakes at Saratoga. The Albany goes Wednesday, and if he can finish in front of six others over the 1 1/8 miles, he’ll join Tin Cup Chalice as the only horse to claim the title since the series began in 1999. In doing so, he’ll also claim the $250,000 bonus given out to the Triple champion. From a 12-1 longshot in the first leg, Amberjack will go into the gate as the 4-5 morning line favorite for the Albany.
Escapefromreality offers biggest challenge
In trying to pick up his fifth win in seven lifetime starts, it’s expected Amberjack’s toughest competition will come from the 7-2 second choice, Escapefromreality. Escapefromreality showed great promise earlier this season, with a second-place showing in the Grade III Withers Stakes at Aquaduct, beaten only a neck by Revolutionary, who went on to a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He faltered in his next outing, however, finishing ninth in the Grade III Gotham Stakes. In with a shot at the exotics might be Smooth Bert, who finished second in the NY Derby, and third in the Mike Lee.
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