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Bern Identity Best in Saratoga’s Sanford Stakes

bern identity
Bern Identity followed up his nearly 14-length maiden win last time out with an impressive score in Sunday’s Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.

Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Bern Identity rated off the blazing early pace of Handsome Jack and Brave Dave. The fast fractions took their toll on the pacesetters late as Bern Identity rolled past Handsome Jack late to win by 1 ¼ lengths. The 2-year-old son of Bernstein covered the six furlongs in 1:11.13,

“He ran great. He’s really got a lot of grit,” Napravnik told NYRA Press. “We weren’t quite as forwardly placed as I thought we might be, but the pace was extremely fast. He just hung in there down on the rail and finished strongest coming for home. [Co-owner Lori Hall] asked me if this was my first Sanford and I said, ‘Yes.’ I’ve had a lot of firsts for these guys. They’re great supporters and I’m glad to be riding for them. He’s extremely talented and, on top of that, he’s got a lot of heart. I’m excited to see where he goes from here.”

Bern Identity, now a winner in two of three starts, is owned by George and Lori Hall and trained by Kelly Breen.

“He’s a fast horse,” said Breen. “After he won, he came back and worked extremely fast. That kind of indicated to me he was the real deal. That’s how I feel in my heart anyway. They outran him a little bit in the beginning; I was a little surprised. Maybe the fast workout last week took a little bit out of him. But he showed his grit, got a little bit of dirt in his face and ran nice. He didn’t break great, but in the blink of an eye we were a length behind. She had to ride him coming out of there. Around the turn it was a little nerve-wracking – is he going to keep coming? – she never had a chance to give him a breather. She sat on him a little bit around the turn and then asked him to go again. He showed a lot of grit. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think he was a nice horse. We take our chances coming to New York, and when we show up we’re here for a reason. We were here with what I thought was a nice horse.”

Along with his $120,000 share of the purse, the Bernstein colt became the first horse to win the new $100,000 juvenile bonus from The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). The  bonus, instituted this year, is awarded to any 2-year-old maiden winner at Aqueduct Racetrack or Belmont Park who goes on to win a graded stakes at a NYRA track.

“The extra $100,000 bonus makes it all sweeter. So, thanks, NYRA!” said  Breen. “Even for his first start, without the bonus, I don’t know if I would have run him in New York to begin with. Maybe with the big money here, we’ll have to think about bringing some more horses here.”

Bern Identity/NYRA photo