Forego Stakes Pits East vs. West

Drefong will seek to get to the wire first — with jockey Mike Smith still in the saddle — in the Forego Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday (photo by Jordan Sigmon).

Drefong will seek to get to the wire first — with jockey Mike Smith still in the saddle — in the Forego Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday (photo by Jordan Sigmon).

In the 33 years since the creation of the Breeders’ Cup, only two winners of the Forego Stakes (G1) have gone on to Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) victories (Orientate in 2002 and Midnight Lute in 2007). With the top two early choices for this year’s edition of the race — Mind Your Biscuits and Drefong — running in Saturday’s Forego at Saratoga, it’s possible that number could rise to three come November.

Drefong ships in from California for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Baoma Corporation and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. After finishing fifth on debut in October of his 2-year-old season, the son of Gio Ponti went on a five-race winning streak that spanned from November of 2015 to November of 2016.

Drefong broke his maiden by 9 ¼ lengths in his second start, but the talented young colt would not be seen again for 7 ½ months. Back and better than ever, Drefong cruised through first- and second-level allowance wins before diving into deeper waters in the King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) on this very card last year.

Allowed to have an easy lead throughout the early stages, he rolled home to an easy 3 ¼-length victory. He then trained up to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, where he was faced with a stiff early challenge from Masochistic, rattling off splits of :21.49 and :44.03 for the opening half-mile. While Masochistic dropped back, Drefong just kept on going, winning the race by 1 ¼ lengths and earning himself an Eclipse Award for Champion Male Sprinter.

Plagued with various issues for most of this year, Drefong did not make his 4-year-old debut until July 29 in the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1). Everything pointed to a win for the champion, but Drefong had other plans. As soon as the field exited the chute, the colt made a left turn, dropping jockey Mike Smith, then a right turn to rejoin the field. He continued on with the field throughout the race and managed to finish third (though it didn’t count due to the lack of a rider). With that behind them, both Baffert and Smith hope for a smoother trip this time around.

While nothing has gone to plan with Drefong this year, everything has gone perfectly for his chief rival Mind Your Biscuits. Owned by J Stables LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Chad Summers, and M. E. Kisber and trained by Chad Summers, the New York-bred son of Posse is riding a two-race winning streak.

It took the colt five starts to break his maiden and, for three races after that, he stuck with state-bred company before an eye-catching allowance win prompted his connections to move to open company. Mind Your Biscuits rewarded that confidence with a powerful win in the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) while in the care of his original trainer, Robert Falcone Jr. He then finished a troubled fifth in the King’s Bishop, second in the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3), and third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint before winning the Malibu Stakes (G1) to close out his three-year-old season.

Transferred to the care of part-owner Chad Summers, Mind Your Biscuits opened his four-year-old campaign with a game second to Unified in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (G3), beaten just a neck. He bettered that effort in his next start, the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) in Dubai, where he faced the best sprinters from around the world.

Back in the US, he rolled to another easy win in the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (G2) in his most recent start.

Multiple graded stakes winners Awesome Slew, Tommy Macho and Tom’s Ready, along with graded stakes winner Stallwalkin’ Dude, the multiple graded stakes-placed trio of Divining Rod, Ross and Tale of S’avall and graded stakes-placed Very Very Stella round out the field.

The $600,000 Forego Stakes has been carded as the ninth race on Saturday’s Saratoga program, with an approximate post time of 4:12 pm ET.

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