Thursday, August 23, 2012
CONTESTED CONTESTING TEST
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Contested, a Grade 1 winner who was last in her most recent start, will attempt to regain winning form and earn her most lucrative victory to date when she competes in the 87th renewal of the Grade 1, $500,000 Test on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
The Test, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, is part of a card also featuring the Grade 1 Travers, Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa presented by Jose Cuervo. NBC will provide live coverage from 4 – 6 p.m.
Kept at Belmont, she attempted to land another Grade 1 in the Mother Goose but faltered badly, finishing last of five as the 1-2 favorite on June 23 over a drying-out main track labeled “good.”
“I think the track had a lot to with [Contested’s poor performance in the Mother Goose],” said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert. “It had rained heavily the night before. It was a different track the day we ran in the Acorn. It was very fast that day. The day we ran in the Mother Goose it was deep, and I don’t think you wanted to be on the inside.”
Contested returned to California following the Mother Goose, turning in five workouts at Del Mar, and arrived at Saratoga on Monday.
“She’s training well and the weather should be good throughout the weekend, so I expect her to [rebound in the Test],” said Barnes.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over on Contested, who drew post position 8 as the 2-1 morning-line favorite.
Like Contested, Gypsy Robin is a graded stakes winner looking to rebound off a last-place finish. She closed out her 2011 season with a win in the Sorority in September at Monmouth Park and opened this year with a three-length score in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland in April. After registering a four-length triumph in the Inaugural at Presque Isle Downs, the bay chased the pacesetters and faded in the stretch to finish sixth in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 7 at Belmont.
“She was training at Saratoga as great as she ever had prior to the Victory Ride,” said trainer Wesley Ward, who owns Gypsy Robin in partnership with Gatewood Bell and New England Patriots tight end Wes Welker. “I came into the Victory Ride confident I was going to win the race. She scoped clean after the race.”
Ward said he has reason to hope Gypsy Robin’s dull effort in the Victory Ride was an aberration.
“When she returned to the track a few days [after the Victory Ride], she was bucking and kicking like she never ran,” said Ward. “Every work has been sensational since the Victory Ride. Seven-eighths is a little questionable for a speed filly, but she couldn’t be coming into the race any better.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride Gypsy Robin, 15-1 on the morning line, from post 7.
After breaking her maiden in May, Book Review was second in a Belmont optional claimer in June that has turned out to be a key race. The winner, Questing, came back to capture the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama, and third-place finisher Baffle Me returned to win a Saratoga optional claimer. Likewise, Book Review won a seven-furlong entry level allowance on July 20.
“She’s really the last filly that’s even been within earshot of [Questing] at the finish line, so that gives me some confidence for sure,” said Book Review’s trainer, Chad Brown. “Questing is an awfully nice horse. I thought Book Review ran well when she ran second to her. I’m looking forward to running her and seeing if she can step up to that level. She’s doing very well.”
Book Review, a Mary and Gary West homebred, drew post 3 and was installed as the 5-2 morning-line second choice. Javier Castellano has the call.
The Test attracted the third- and fourth-place finishers in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks in Amie’s Dini and Aubby K.
The Test will be Amie’s Dini’s first start around one turn since she was second in the Dixie Belle Stakes in January at Oaklawn Park. Following that race, she won the Martha Washington, was second in the Grade 3 Honeybee and Grade 2 Fantasy, and reported home eighth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. In the Delaware Oaks on July 14, she raced just off the pace in second and gave way in the stretch to finish third, beaten six lengths by Grace Hall.
David Cohen will ride Amie’s Dini, 8-1, from post 10. Ronald Moquett trains for Mike D. Walker and Lou Sutterfield.
James Spence’s Aubby K, runaway winner of a Gulfstream Park optional claimer in March, was third by 6 ¼ lengths in the Acorn, then finished a neck behind Amie’s Dini in the Delaware Oaks after making a bid for the lead on the final turn.
Aubby K, trained by Ralph Nicks, will depart from post 2 under Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado at 5-1 on the morning line.
The Test field also includes Well Kept, third in the Mandy’s Gold on August 8; Grade 2 winner Yara; Beautiful But Blue, who defeated older New York-bred fillies and mares in the Fleet Indian on August 1; Jazzy Idea, a stakes winner on turf who was fourth in the Grade 1 Prioress on August 4; and Ullapool, second to Book Review in the July 20 optional claimer.
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