SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Of course Graham Motion was going to run a horse in Wednesday’s $100,000 Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga. But Craftsman isn’t just a token entry; he is among the bevy of contenders in a fairly wide-open running of this one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds.
Motion trained Better Talk Now through a marvelous career that included nine graded stakes victories from 14 wins and earnings of $4.3 million. That included a victory in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer, a race Motion won again Sunday with Main Sequence.
Craftsman will not be confused with either Better Talk Now or Main Sequence, but he was a Group 3 winner in Ireland last year and is coming off a victory in the Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park in his first start for Motion. Craftsman showed a different dimension that day under Alex Cintron, coming from off the pace. That style might suit him well again Wednesday in a race with plenty of speed.
“He ran a big race last time, obviously against lesser horses than this,” Motion said. “I give Alex a lot of the credit. Alex changed up the way he rode him that day. He worked him a couple of times, and he said, ‘I’m going to take him back,’ and really, it made a big difference.”
Cintron, the second-leading rider at Delaware Park this meet, will make his Saratoga debut Wednesday.
Storming Inti, trained by Chad Brown, is the horse to beat. He reeled off four consecutive victories from last September through January, including three stakes similar to this. He has lost his last five starts but against superior competition than what he faces here. Most recently, Storming Inti was third behind Tourist in the Sir Cat Stakes here on opening day, a race, like this one, run at a mile and restricted to 3-year-olds. Tourist finished second in Saturday’s Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington.