Monday, August 11, 2008
SARATOGA NOTES, Sunday, August 10, 2008
2007 Horse of the Year Curlin is scheduled to work Monday morning between 5:45 and 6 a.m. on the main track, weather permitting, in preparation for his next start, the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward Stakes here on August 30.
Last Wednesday, Timeform of England ranked Curlin as the best horse in the world. According to Timeform publishers, its ratings are “the merit of the horse expressed in pounds, and is arrived by careful examination of its running against other horses using a scale of weight for distance beaten which ranges from around three pounds a length at five furlongs and two pounds a length at a mile and a quarter to one pound at two miles.”
Timeform ratings for three-year-olds and up are as follows:
140 - An outstanding horse
130-135 - Above average Group 1 winner
125-129 - Average Group 1 winner
115-120 - Average Group 2 winner
110-115 - Average Group 3 winner
100-105 - Average listed race winner
Curlin earned a 134, with his closest rival Duke of Marmalade (133). Next were Big Brown (132), Papal Bull (132) and Henrythenavigator, New Approach and Sacred Kingdom, all at 130.
* * *
Tale of Ekati, winner of Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial and a candidate for the 139th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm on Saturday, August 23, worked five furlongs on the firm Oklahoma turf course in 1:01.66, handily, this morning.
You and I Forever, another likely Travers runner, went a half-mile on the Oklahoma training track in 50.44 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. That was You and I Forever’s first workout since finishing second to Mambo in Seattle in the Henry Walton Stakes here at Saratoga as part of the Jim Dandy undercard.
Mambo in Seattle also worked this morning for trainer Neil Howard. Over the Saratoga main track, Mambo in Seattle breezed six furlongs in 1:13.
* * *
Godolphin Stables’ Music Note breezed five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 Sunday morning on the Polytrack surface at the Greentree Training Center adjacent to Saratoga Race Course. Shortly thereafter, stablemate Little Belle covered the same distance in 1:00 4/5.
Both fillies are being pointed toward Saturday’s 128th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama for three-year-old fillies at a mile and a quarter, although Music Note, winner of four straight including the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Mother Goose at Belmont Park, is also under consideration for the Travers.
“I spoke with (Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor) right after they worked,” said Rick Mettee, North American racing manager for the stable. “He said to prepare as if both fillies were to run in the Alabama. The final decision [as to where Music Note runs] will be made by Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid al Maktoum] and the Maktoums.”
Mettee said the fillies had been galloping on the Polytrack all week because of the wet weather, which was the reason he elected to have them work over the artificial surface.
“Music Note went off a bit slow, she got the first eighth in :14, but finished up strong, getting the last quarter in :22 4/5,” he said. “She galloped out real well. It was pretty good work for Little Belle, who is not much of a work filly.”
* * *
Trainer Todd Pletcher indicated that Team Valor Stables Fairbanks came out of Saturday’s Duke of Magenta Stakes in good shape following his 5¾-length victory over Angliana and former stablemate, Magna Graduate.
Fairbanks came back to the winners’ circle with a minor cut on the inside of the right-hind quarter, but that wasn’t much of a concern for Pletcher, who has not made any plans as to the 5-year-old’s next start.
“It was just a small cut; it wasn’t anything major,” Pletcher said. “We’ll take our time with him and look at our options. We’ll see how he comes out of this race and how he trains.”
Yesterday, Pletcher worked two of his Grade 1 stars – Unbridled Belle, also owned by Team Valor, and Wait a While – over the main track.
Unbridled Belle, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Beldame Stakes, went 1:01 4/5. Pletcher is looking to give her another shot in the Grade 1, $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at a mile and a quarter on August 22. In last year’s Personal Ensign, Unbridled Belle was second to Miss Shop.
Wait a While, who won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes and American Oaks as a three-year-old, worked for the first time since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Diana Handicap with a four-furlong breeze that went in :50 1/5 seconds.
Pletcher is looking for Wait a While to defend her Grade 2, $150,000 Ballston Spa Handicap title on August 21. The Ballston Spa is for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth.
“Both are on target for their respective races,” Pletcher said. “For Wait a While, it was a while since she had run and it was over a soft course. That was a fast race over that type of a course. She should improve from that race.” -
This morning, Pletcher sent Stronach Stables’ Harlem Rocker for a five-furlong workout over the main track that went in 1:01 3/5.
Harlem Rocker, winner of the Grade 3 Withers and Prince of Wales Stakes, is another Travers contender.
. * * *
Shadwell Stable’s Lucky Island, who has won five of six starts, including Belmont Park’s Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap and the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap, breezed five furlongs this morning over the Saratoga main track in :59 4/5.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is training Lucky Island up to the Grade 1, $250,000 Forego for three-year-olds and at seven furlongs on August 30. Nine days ago, Lucky Island went four furlongs in :48 over the main track.
“He looked really nice out there this morning,” McLaughlin said. “He went four (furlongs) in about :47 and finished up within a minute. We’re going to keep him on this schedule leading up to the Forego.”
* * *
Coming off her win in the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland, Ariege earned another victory Saturday afternoon in the Madame Jumel overnight stakes.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said that she came back from the race well and is now pointed toward the Grade 1, $250,000 Garden City for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on the turf on September 6 at Belmont Park.
Ginger Punch, convincing winner of the Grade 1 Go for Wand here on July 26, worked a half-mile over the main track Saturday morning in 50.04.
Frankel is pleased with the way she worked and had no doubts that she would have any problems breezing over the main track, even though racing had been canceled the day before because of the effects of heavy rain.
“She handled the track very well, that filly can handle anything,” said Frankel.
Ginger Punch is now headed for the Grade 1, $400,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter here on Friday, August 22.
Stronach Stables’ Spring Waltz, winner of the Grade 2 Rampart, who had to scratch from the Go for Wand, worked five furlongs in 1:00.88 this morning. Frankel is also pointing her towards the Personal Ensign.
After a disappointing start in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont, First Defence tried his hand at turf. Although he was victorious in the Grade 3 Jaipur, he will change surfaces once more, and has resumed training on dirt.
First Defence worked a half-mile Saturday on the main track in 49.12. Frankel was happy with his work and is pointing him to the Grade 1, $250,000 Forego at seven furlongs on Saturday, August 30.
Finally, Frankel said that Sudan was scratched from Saturday’s Arlington Million because of a tendon injury. The 5-year-old Irish-bred was fourth in Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Man o’War on July 12, behind Red Rocks, 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin and Better Talk Now.
* * *
Mauralakana continued to build on her impressive 2008 record yesterday with a 1 ¼-length score in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in Chicago. She has now won five of six starts this year since being transferred from Patrick Biancone’s barn to Christophe Clement’s, with her one defeat a second-place finish behind Hostess at Gulfstream Park in March.
Clement said Sunday morning that he did not know how Mauralakana was doing after the race because she was still in Chicago, but said that if she is doing well her next race will be either the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park on September 27th or the Grade 1, $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita on the same day.
The Flower Bowl and Yellow Ribbon will serve as preps for the Grade 1, $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on October 24th at Santa Anita.
Mauralakana is French-bred daughter of Muhtathir out of Jimkana, by Double Bed. Owned by Robert Scarborough, she has earned more than $1.4 million in her career.
* * *
Eternal Star bounced back nicely from his front-running victory under jockey Ramon Dominguez in Saturday’s James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga, according to trainer Michael Trombetta's assistant, Tana Aubrey.
“He’s fine,” Aubrey said. “He ate all his supper and walked good this morning.”
The son of Five Star Day will most likely take a step up in class in his next start and go in the Forego here on August 30th.
Eternal Star is owned by Harry and Tom Meyerhoff, who campaigned the legendary Spectacular Bid when he won back-to-back-to-back Eclipse Awards from 1978-1980. Spectacular Bid’s trainer, Grover “Bud” Delp, trained Eternal Star for his first four starts in 2006 before passing away.
Since Trombetta has taken over conditioning duties, the four-year-old chestnut colt has won six of his 10 starts, including four stakes.
* * *
Chilean trainer Rodrigo A. Ubillo is proof that hard work and determination pay off. Dr. D.F.C proved formidable in Saturday’s nine-furlong Solomon Northup Stakes for New York-bred under jockey Aldo Arboleda. Because of a minor tendon injury, the son of Personal Flag was running his third race back after a six-month layoff.
“He’s always been an eye-catching horse from the first day,” Ubillo said. “We were very patient; if you’re patient it pays off.”
After stumbling badly at the start, Dr. D.F.C. made a daring bid along the rail before tipping outside at the head of the stretch and going on to score by a length in 1:50.57. This tactical move from Arboleda caused an objection, which was disallowed, and the placing remained the same
. When asked what lies ahead in Dr. D.F.C.’s future Ubillo responded, “We are still celebrating the win. We don’t know what’s next yet.”
* * *
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas successfully ran Flying Private and Nautical Storm at Saratoga on Saturday. These wins were Lukas’ third and fourth wins for the meet.
Flying Private won under jockey Jamie Theriot in the second race, a maiden special weight for two-year-old colts at six furlongs. Nautical Storm also won at six furlongs in the eighth race for three-year-old maidens.
When asked which win gave Lukas more of a thrill he said, “Well, the two-year-old, obviously, because you know it gives us a future. Whenever you get a two-year-old that runs like he did, with his pedigree and everything, you have a chance to maybe take him into a three-year-old picture”
Lukas has high hopes for Flying Private, a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby/Wood Memorial winner Fusaichi Pegasus and Beautiful Treasure, who is a daughter of 1990 Kentucky Derby/Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled
“We start thinking Triple Crown, and Classics early for all of our colts,” he said. “So, if they show an affinity for being able to finish and maybe go two turns, we start targeting those races.”
Read more articles in the Saratoga category.