Friday, August 22, 2008
SARATOGA NOTES, FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2008
The 139th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm will be the 11th race (5:45 p.m., ESPN) on Saturday’s 12-race card that begins at noon. Saratoga Race Course will open its gates at 7 a.m., and the last race will go to post at 6:20 p.m.
The Travers will cap a $1 million guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 that will begin in race 8 with the Grade 3 Victory Ride (4:03 p.m.), and follow with the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap (race 9, 4:38 p.m.), the Grade 1 King’s Bishop (race 10, 5:10 p.m.) and the Travers.
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Trainer Barclay Tagg was in a jovial mood Friday morning, even doing his best impression of Rick Dutrow, Jr., trainer of Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Big Brown.
Tagg will saddle Charles E. Fipke’s Tale of Ekati in tomorrow’s Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm. The son of 1997 King’s Bishop winner Tale of the Cat out of the Sunday Silence mare Silence Beauty will break from the rail.
“I like the post position,” said Tagg. “He likes the inside and Edgar (Prado, jockey) is very good on the inside. He’s a fantastic inside rider. He’s a fantastic rider anyways, but he’s a really fantastic inside rider. He can find his way through. And Tale of Ekati likes it there.
“So, ‘We’re all-in, Babe’.”
The three-year-old has done all of his best running on the inside: he won the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont last year by coming up the rail, and caught champion War Pass in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in April in similar fashion.
Tale of Ekati has earned an impressive $894,200 in his nine-race career, with three wins and one second-place finish, that coming in last year’s Sanford Stakes here.
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California-based Tres Borrachos looked good Friday morning settling into his new surroundings at Saratoga Race Course, galloping a mile and a half under exercise rider Andrew Durnin.
“He handled the track great,” said Greely of Tres Borrachos, who has 10 lifetime starts, seven of them over synthetic surfaces in California. “He loved it. He went very well. A few breezers came up to him and he wanted to go. He’s a horse who’s acted like he’s handled everything we’ve put him on surface-wise, so hopefully that will continue.”
In three starts on conventional dirt surfaces, the son of Ecton Park out of Pete’s Fancy, by Peteski, has two third-place finishes and one ninth-place finish, that coming after a stumble at the start in the Grade 1 Preakness. Both of his wins, including an upset victory last time out in the Grade 2 Swaps, have come on Hollywood’s Cushion Track
Tres Borrachos, who name is Spanish for “Three Drunkards,” will break from post number 10 of 12.
“There’s nothing you can do about a post position,” Greely said. “But at the same time, it looks like there’s a little speed inside and usually, with the exception of the Preakness, he’s been a very good gate horse. So, we hope to have a nice little run in the stretch. Hope to pop out and save some ground, and come down the lane.”
It is the first trip to Saratoga for Greely since 2002, when he finished fourth in the Travers with Like a Hero. In 2001, he won the Grade 2 A.G. Vanderbilt with Five Star Day, who was second in the 1999 King’s Bishop.
“Knock on wood, we’ve been on the board so far,” he said. “Hopefully, that will continue.”
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Hickory Plains Farm’s Trouble Maker took the $80,000 Old Red Stakes yesterday by a half-length under jockey Eibar Coa, stopping the timer in 1:37 1/5 for the inner turf course mile.
“I thought she ran fantastic,” said trainer Tom Albertrani on Friday morning. “She was coming off of a good second in her previous race (the De La Rose), and she got beat in a tough photo that day. She came out of that race training extremely well again, so I’m happy she kept her form and she really dug in hard yesterday to fight off a late charge.”
The five-year-old daughter of Labeeb out of Deo Devil, by Devil’s Bag returned $13.60 to her backers. Lady Carlock finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of 22-1 longshot Final Refrain.
As far as the future for Trouble Maker, Albertrani said, “She’s doing well this morning and we’ll probably wait until Belmont and find something there for her again.”
The winner’s share of the Old Red put Trouble Maker over the $200,000 mark. She now has a race record of four wins, five seconds, and two thirds from seventeen starts.
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