Friday, August 08, 2008
FOUR OVERNIGHT STAKES ON 11-RACE SATURDAY CARD; YADDO HANDICAP RE-SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY
Saturday’s 11-race card, which includes four $100,000 overnight stakes, has attracted horses prepping for two key races – the 55th running of the Grade 1 Woodward and 29th running of the Grade 1 Forego Stakes -- on the final weekend of the 140th Saratoga Race Course season.
The 36-day meet, which began July 23 and concludes on Monday, Labor Day, September 1, is closing in on its half-way point.
Saturday’s featured 10th race will be the $110,000 Duke of Magenta for three-year-olds and up at a mile and three-sixteenths. It has attracted a field of seven, including Magna Graduate and Fairbanks, both of whom could be facing 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin in the $500,000 Woodward, a weight-for-age, nine-furlong event, on Saturday, August 30.
Graded stakes winner Fairbanks has not raced since his second-place finish in the Grade 3 Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course in April. Trainer Todd Pletcher has also entered stakes-placed Sam P. in the Duke of Magenta.
A field of seven is also set for the $100,000 James Marvin for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs, including Most Distinguished, Bold Start, Eternal Star and Noonmark. These four are prepping for the $250,000 Forego for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs, also on August 30, where Lucky Island awaits them.
Bold Start has won three of his last four starts for trainer Ken McPeek, while Eternal Star has won four of his last five for trainer Michael Trombetta. Noonmark, also trained by Asmussen, has not been worse than third in five starts this year.
Most Distinguished, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, is the horse for the course here with a win and two seconds in four Spa tries. His lone Saratoga victory came in the Grade 2 Amsterdam last year.
Also carded for Saturday are the $100,000 Madame Jumel for three-year-old fillies at one mile on the inner turf course and the $100,000 Solomon Northup for New York-breds, three and up, at a mile and an eighth on the dirt.
The $100,000 Yaddo Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares, three and up, originally scheduled for Saturday, will now be contested on Sunday along with the $100,000 West Point Handicap for New York-breds, three and up. Both races will be run at nine furlongs on the turf. New York Racing Association Vice President and Director of Racing P.J. Campo expects five to seven for the Yaddo and a field of 10 to 12 for the West Point.
In keeping with Saratoga’s 140th anniversary, including this Saturday’s “Tradition Turns 140” celebration, Saturday’s four stakes commemorate Saratoga history and tradition:
JAMES MARVIN – Born in Ballston, NY in 1807, Marvin managed the famous United States Hotel on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. A congressman, director of the New York Central Railroad and founder of the First National Bank of Saratoga Springs, he is the only local man to serve as president of Saratoga Race Course.
DUKE OF MAGENTA – In 1878, this famed Thoroughbred won the Preakness, Withers, Belmont Stakes and Travers. Man o’War and Native Dancer are the only other horses to accomplish that feat. He dominated Saratoga that season, for, in addition to his Travers victory, he also won the Sequel Stakes and the two-mile Kenner Stakes.
MADAME JUMEL – Eliza Jumel was from an impoverished Rhode Island family. Her marriage to Stephen Jumel, a wealthy French merchant who had made his fortune in the wine trade, gave her entry to New York’s highest social circles. Following the death of her husband in 1832, the eccentric Madame Jumel married former United States Vice President Aaron Burr, but the marriage lasted only four years. She purchased a vacation home in Saratoga Springs and was its first grand dame of society.
SOLOMON NORTHUP – He was a well-educated black man who was born free in Rhode Island. He had learned to play the violin, and 1841, two men heard him play at Saratoga Springs and hired him to join a circus in Washington, D.C. Believing he would be gone for only a few weeks, Northup told no one he was leaving. He was kidnapped and sent to the slave market in New Orleans. Northup spent 12 years of his life as a slave, and chronicled his story in Twelve Years a Slave. Narrative of Solomon, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841. In 1984, a television movie, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, aired on PBS.
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