Post Time Breezes Saturday for Met Mile (G1) Start

Multiple SW Won Laurel’s General George (G3) Feb. 17
Copper Tax Sharp in Saturday Work, Saratoga Possible
Jockey Jorge Ruiz Triples Saturday; Nine Races Sunday

LAUREL, MD – Hillwood Stable’s multiple graded-stakes winning 4-year-old Post Time, trained by Laurel Park-based Brittany Russell, breezed Saturday morning ahead of his next scheduled start in the $1 million Metropolitan Handicap (G1) June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

“We’re going for it,” Russell said. “Why not? The horse is doing nothing wrong. He’s training great. Everything about him is just good right now. It’s a big deal. It’s a big race and you have a horse good enough to consider it and a horse that’s doing fantastic. I think we’d be silly not to try now.”

Under exercise rider and assistant trainer Emma Wolfe, Post Time went five furlongs at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. in his third work since having a four-race win streak snapped when second in the one-mile Westchester (G3) May 3 at Aqueduct.

“He worked great,” Russell said. “He went in a minute and a piece. I just wanted something easy and that’s steady for him. He was just cruising. I just wanted to see that he worked well. He handled himself well, galloped out good and he pulled up bouncing. He’s ready.”

Post Time closed to be beaten less than a length as the favorite in the Westchester, his third straight graded-stakes attempt following victories in the Feb. 17 General George (G3) at Laurel and April 6 Carter (G2) at Aqueduct, both sprinting seven furlongs. Prior to that he won Laurel’s Jan. 28 Jennings going one mile against fellow Maryland-bred/sired horses and the Nov. 25 City of Laurel, a seven-furlong sprint.

Overall Post Time, purchased as a yearling for $85,000, has eight wins, one second and one third in 10 starts with $365,000 in purse earnings. He went undefeated in three starts at 2 capped by the Maryland Juvenile, and was voted Maryland’s champion 2-year-old male of 2022.

Among the horses Post Time is expected to face in the Met Mile are 2023 Preakness (G1) and Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner National Treasure; 2022 Florida Derby (G1) winner White Abarrio, a finalist for 2023 Horse of the Year following wins in the Whitney (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1); and 2022 Champagne (G1) winner Blazing Sevens, runner-up to National Treasure in the Preakness.

In its history, which dates back to the inaugural 1891 running, no female trainer has ever won the Met Mile.

“It’s going to be interesting, right?” Russell said. “It’s not your normal one-turn mile. You’re coming out of the chute there and, look, anything can happen. You’re going to need a good post position, you’re going to need a good trip. Let’s go for it.”

Russell also entered Joel Politi’s Biscuitwiththeboss in the 5 ½-furlong Astoria for 2-year-old fillies June 6 at Saratoga. The Maryland homebred daughter of Holy Boss won her only prior start, a maiden special weight sprinting 4 ½ furlongs by a neck May 4 at Laurel.

Copper Tax Sharp in Saturday Work, Saratoga Possible

Rose Petal Stable’s multiple stakes winner Copper Tax, an automatic qualifier for the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1), continues to train forwardly as his connections consider several options for a next start including the summer 3-year-old stakes at Saratoga.

Copper Tax worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 Saturday at Laurel Park for trainer Gary Capuano, fastest of 27 horses at the distance. It was the second breeze for the bay son of Copper Bullet since being pulled from consideration for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown May 18 at historic Pimlico Race Course, having earned a free berth by virtue of his victory in Laurel’s Federico Tesio April 20.

“We decided it wasn’t the best strategy to put him in the Preakness and we don’t regret that, although it was nice to be invited. That means a lot,” Rose Petal’s Chris Loso said. “We just wanted to take another strategy. Gary’s got the experience and we’re just looking at alternatives like running up at Saratoga at some point during the season. Everything goes through Gary.”

Copper Tax has won seven of 10 career starts including back-to-back stakes at Laurel in the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms March 23 and 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio, his most recent race. Copper Tax also owns stakes wins in Laurel’s James F. Lewis III and the Rocky Run at Delaware Park as a 2-year-old.

In all Copper Tax shows four timed works at Laurel following the Tesio, the previous three going one mile including 1:43.80 May 23. Two-turn dirt stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga include the Curlin July 19 and Jim Dandy (G2) July 27, both at 1 1/8 miles, and 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) Aug. 24.

“I’m not sure which race but that’s definitely what we’d be looking at. Again, we take everything day by day. We look to make sure the horse is happy and sound,” Loso said. “It would be my father’s dream if that were to happen.

“We were raised up in Vermont and we used to go down to Saratoga during the summers and watch the races. It’s a beautiful track. It has a lot of history with my family as well as the track itself,” he added. “My father, one of his dreams, is to have a horse run at Saratoga. We hope that might be a strategy we take.”

Notes: Jockey Jorge Ruiz rode back-to-back winners Saturday aboard Mattitude ($12.40) in Race 5 and Thegirlfromireland ($5.60) in Race 6. Ruiz completed his hat trick with Dazzling Move ($3) in Race 8 … Shamrock Farm’s 4-year-old homebred Thegirlfromireland, placed second in last August’s All Brandy at Laurel, was making her 11th start and second off a nine-month layoff in the entry-level allowance for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares 3 and up … Dazzling Move, back on dirt after running fourth in the Honey Ryder May 4 on the Gulfstream Park turf, held off a late bid from Go Sherry Go for a popular triumph in the Saturday feature, an open entry-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old fillies … Laurel’s live nine-race Sunday program kicks off at 12:25 p.m.

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