Bass Racing’s Annapolis suffers another tough loss

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard Annapolis. (© Candice Chavez/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Another festive Saturday at historic Saratoga Race Course. Another gallant effort. Another excruciating defeat. Casa Creed 2, Annapolis 0.

That, in a nutshell, sums up the weekend for Bass Racing’s 4-year-old grass horse Annapolis, who surged to the lead in the homestretch of the prestigious Fourstardave Handicap only to be overtaken by 7-year-old phenom Casa Creed for the second time in four weeks.

Casa Creed, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, won by three quarters of a length while Annapolis had to settle for his fourth second place finish against six wins in 11 lifetime starts. The only time he’s finished worse than second was in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, a race won by Irish-bred star Modern Games.

Despite finishing second to Casa Creed in the July 15 Kelso Stakes, Annapolis went off as the 6-5 favorite in the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap while Casa Creed was the 9-5 second choice in the wagering.

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A product of Fort Worth philanthropist Ramona Bass’s Kentucky-based thoroughbred breeding and racing operation, Annapolis was sired by War Front out of the Unbridled’s Song mare My Miss Sophia. He is trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and ridden by superstar jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Bass Stables LLC and Bass Racing LLC. are managed by Ramona and Lee Bass’s son, Perry Bass II.

Pletcher said after the race that Annapolis, who has suffered from slow starts and traffic problems in past races, had no excuses in the Fourstardave.

“He got outrun,” Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form. “Sometimes it happens.”

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That said, it’s worth noting that the one-mile race was contested on a Saratoga grass course listed as “good” due to recent rainstorms in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Annapolis is decidedly partial to a firm surface. All six of his wins have come on firm turf.

Saturday’s race was a “win and you’re in” event for the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, and Mott told DRF that Casa Creed won’t run again until then.

With no third-time’s-the-charm rematch on the table before November, Pletcher said Annapolis is likely headed to the Oct. 7 Coolmore Turf Mile at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. Annapolis won the Coolmore last year en route to the Breeders’ Cup.