GREEN MASK TOO STRONG IN TROY

Taken from www.thoroughbreddailynews.com 

Laying claim to the mantra of this country’s best turf sprinter, Green Mask fell into a perfect trip from third behind a searching early pace, was steered out three deep at the head of the stretch and powered home to post an impressive victory in Sunday’s $250,000 Troy S. at Saratoga.

Beaten a neck into second by Disco Partner (Disco Rico) in this event last summer, Green Mask was narrowly favored at 3-2 this time around and was only too happy to take the sit from third beneath Javier Castellano as 8-5 second choice Pure Sensation (Zensational) was hustled along and fought out the early pace with longshot Bold Thunder (Bold n’ Flashy). The duel began to exact a toll on the front-runners and Green Mask was first to pounce, pinched a winning break passing the eighth pole and was never in serious danger. Holding Gold tracked the move of the eventual winner into the stretch, but could not go with that one and finished runner-up. Long On Value rallied nicely down the center of the track to grab third money, just ahead of international Group 1 winner Undrafted (Purim) in fourth. The final time of 1:00.49 for the 5 1/2 furlongs was 0.03 off the track record set in 2015 by ‘TDN Rising Star’ Lady Shipman (Midshipman).

Brad Cox, who took over the training of Green Mask from Wesley Ward a little more than a year ago, is pleased that his charge has developed a killer instinct.

“I was really pleased with the effort,” said Cox. “He had been training well. His last breeze on turf last Monday was fantastic and he’s doing well and figured out how to win. Going into last fall at Belmont, we were starting to wonder if he even knew how to win anymore. He obviously has picked it up and he’s in great form right now.”

Narrowly second to Holding Gold in Keeneland’s Gr.3 Shakertown S. Apr. 8, Green Mask finally broke through for a first graded success in the Gr.3 Turf Sprint S. at Churchill May 5. Second in the Gr.3 Jaipur S. at Belmont June 10, he recorded a career-high 110 Beyer in posting a two-length success in the Gr.2 Highlander S. at Woodbine July 2.

Cox confirmed that the long-term goal for Green Mask is the Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, in which he was a close third in 2015 and a running-on fifth last year.

Date: 6 August 2017