Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. still has very high hopes for Collaborate . The 3-year-old Into Mischief colt accomplished a 5 1/4-length victory in a one-mile allowance optional claimer June 20 at Gulfstream Park, and now is likely to target the $120,000 Curlin Stakes that will be run over 1 1/8 miles July 30 at Saratoga Race Course.
The Curlin is restricted to 3-year-olds which have not won a graded stakes over a mile this year.
“I have a lot of belief in this horse. I know it hasn’t shown yet, but hopefully, we’re on the right path,” said Joseph, who reported June 23 that the Three Chimneys Farm and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds runner exited his last race in good order. “I still think he’s the best horse I’ve trained, but I know he hasn’t proved it yet.”
Collaborate impressed when breaking his maiden at second asking Feb. 27 at Gulfstream, drawing off to win by 12 1/2 lengths at a mile. His connections entered him in the March 27 Curlin Florida Derby Presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa (G1), in which he finished fifth after a troubled start and a wide trip. Soon after, he underwent a minor throat procedure to open his air passage.
The bay colt returned to action in the 6 1/2-furlong Roar Stakes May 15 at Gulfstream, finishing a disappointing third as the 2-5 favorite behind stablemates Moonlite Strike and Lauda Speed following a tardy start and wide trip.
“He’s bred to run all day. The trip last time at 6 1/2 (furlongs) was a bad decision on my part,” Joseph said. “The reason we cut him back is we thought his air got a little hinderance. I think the procedure worked.”
Collaborate fared much better while stretching out to a mile Sunday. He broke alertly to closely track the pacesetter while trapped on the rail along the backstretch, then split horses at the top of the stretch and drew off to a comfortable win under Edgard Zayas.
“He sat there and Edgard was really patient. He was in so tight, but Edgard didn’t panic,” Joseph said. “It was a very professional race. The only way I could critique it is I would have liked to see him open up more, but he wasn’t breathing hard after the race.”
Collaborate was bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm out of the Quiet American mare Quiet Temper , winner of the 2010 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). His fourth dam is the blue hen mare Blitey. Agent Mike Ryan purchased Collaborate for $600,000 from the Denali Stud consignment to The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s select yearling sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2019. Three Chimneys Farm remained as part of the ownership of the colt, who has earned $83,050 to date.