Sunday, September 16, 2012
BELMONT PARK NOTES: Saturday, September 15, 2012
ELMONT, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott expressed his satisfaction this morning after Ron the Greek and Flat Out turned in “very good” works at Saratoga Race Course in preparation for the Grade 1 TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on September 29 at Belmont Park.
Ron the Greek, runner-up in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap, worked six furlongs in 1:14.05, while Whitney third-pace finisher Flat Out zipped five furlongs in a bullet 59.89, fastest of 12 at the distance on the Oklahoma training track.
Flat Out, whose most recent victory came in last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup while in the care of Scooter Dickey, and Ron the Greek, winner of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap this year, will work again next weekend, weather permitting, said Mott.
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Multiple Grade 1 winners Dullahan and Little Mike posted separate five-furlong workouts on Saturday at Churchill Downs in preparation for upcoming starts at Belmont Park.
Dullahan, a 3-year-old owned by Donegal Racing, traveled the distance in 1:01.80, while Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike, a 5-year-old, was clocked in 1:03.20.
“They both worked great and they’ll work at Churchill Downs next week, then we’ll work on getting a plane [to New York],” said their trainer, Dale Romans.
Dullahan defeated older horses to win the Del Mar’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic on August 26 over Polytrack and is targeting the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational on September 29 or the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica on October 6, also on the turf. The 1 ½-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic is open to 3-year-olds and up, while the 1 1/8-mile Jamaica is restricted to 3-year-olds.
Little Mike will attempt to carry his speed an additional quarter-mile in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic after leading from start to finish in the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile Arlington Million on August 18.
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Atigun, who was fourth, beaten just over a length, in the Grade 1 Travers, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 this morning at Saratoga as he readies for the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“Atigun is doing super,” reported trainer Ken McPeek, who also sent out Golden Ticket, who dead-heated with Alpha to win the Travers, for a five-furlong move in 1:00.68. “It was a nice, maintenance work for both of them.”
Owned by Shortleaf Stable, Atigun was three, four and five wide throughout the 1 ¼-mile Travers, coming up a length short of third-place finisher Fast Falcon after a solid stretch run.
“He didn’t have the cleanest of trips,” said McPeek of Atigun, who prior to the Travers was sixth over a sloppy, sealed track in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. “Who’s to say he wouldn’t have won?”
McPeek said he most likely will send Golden Ticket to the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby on September 22, partly because he wants to keep his two 3-year-olds apart and partly because he believes the 1 ¼ miles of the Jockey Club Gold Cup suits Atigun better than the 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby.
“Both horses are doing extremely well,” he said. “I think Golden Ticket will improve a little bit off the Travers, and Atigun is improving, too.”
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