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Ward Duo Tops Quick Call

Trainer Wesley Ward will have two chances in Eye Witness  and No Nay Hudson  to earn his second score in the $175,000 Quick Call Stakes (G3T) July 16 at Saratoga Race Course.

Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, Derrick Smith, and Michael B. Tabor’s dual stakes-winner Eye Witness (post 3, Jose Ortiz) has won three of four starts and enters the 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for 3-year-olds from wins in the six-furlong Animal Kingdom Stakes in March at Turfway Park and the seven-furlong Paradise Creek Stakes May 20 over yielding turf at Belmont Park.

Last out, he settled in fifth position under Ortiz, making an early move for the lead late in the turn and staved off the late charge of Inflation Nation  to win by a head. That effort came in contrast to his previous efforts earned in more prominent fashion.

“I left that up to Jose,” said Ward, who captured this event in 2021 with Golden Pal. “He’s a very patient rider and when it comes to these kinds of horses, I usually go to him or Joel Rosario. I try to fit the riding style to the horse and both of them do well for me with those type of horses.

“He rode a really good race,” added Ward. “He said he moved a little sooner than he wanted to in the race which cost him at the end, but he still held on and won, so I was happy.”

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Andrew Farm and For the People Racing Stable’s No Nay Hudson (post 1, James Graham) also demonstrated new dimensions last out, closing from seventh to win the 5 1/2-furlong William Walker Stakes May 13 at Churchill Downs with Graham aboard for the first time.

The No Nay Never  colt was ridden in five of his first six starts by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, but Ward said he wanted to try something new last out and engaged Graham, who will be in search of his first Spa score.

“I wanted to change the horse’s style,” Ward said. “So, I told him, ‘Rider, you may not understand this one, but I want an Eddie D.’ That’s an old term from California where Eddie Delahoussaye used to come from way back and come with a run. So, I said to him, ‘I’ll give you one you do know—give me a Joel Rosario.'”

Graham did not disappoint, rating the talented bay off the pace before unleashing a wide run down the lane to secure a 1 1/2-length win and a career-best 94 Equibase Speed Figure.

The improving No Nay Hudson is in with a shout Sunday. Ward said the colt has trained well, including a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 June 28 over the Keeneland dirt.

“He’s one we’re just trying to get to settle. My main exercise rider, Julio Garcia, has got the horse to relax,” Ward said. “We’re doing some nice, easy, slow works and he’s got a couple races in him now. Fitness isn’t an issue. It’s just trying to get his mind to where we can get him to settle. He’s at Saratoga now and ready to go.”

Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher, Skychai Racing, and Angelo Carlesimo’s graded-stakes placed Gaslight Dancer  (post 10, Tyler Gaffalione) finished third last time out as the favorite in the William Walker. He’ll be looking to upset the Ward duo on Sunday.

He entered the William Walker off a 1 1/2-length score in the April 16 Palisades Stakes at Keeneland.

Entries: Schuylerville S. (G3)

Saratoga Race Course, Thursday, July 13, 2023, Race 9

  • Grade III
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $175,000
  • 2 yo Fillies
  • 5:44 PM (local)

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.

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