Tuesday, August 12, 2008
SARATOGA RAC COURSE NOTES, Aug. 11, 1980; CURLN WORKS
SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES
Trainer Steve Asmussen called an audible early Monday morning, switching 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin’s scheduled workout from Saratoga Race Course’s main track to the Oklahoma training track because of overnight rains.
“Mother Nature said, ‘Not today’,” said the trainer, who apparently made the right call as rain again hit the area a few hours after the work.
With regular exercise rider Carmen Rosas aboard, the four-year-old chestnut went out in the second set after the first break, working three-quarters in 1:14.67 over the muddy training track in company with stablemate Hawaii Calls as he prepares for the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward at nine furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on August 30.
Curlin was timed in splits of 13.04, 25.47, 37.82 and 49.75, galloping out in 1:28.68. Hawaii Calls, also owned by Stonestreet Stables, was timed in 1:14.97.
“They went a little quicker than I was expecting them to, but they did it really easily,” said Asmussen. “I got them in 1:14 and change and we were expecting 15 or a little slower. We were hoping to get a work on the main track, and this morning would have been good because we would have gotten that done and over with. Now, we will really have to watch the weather, but if the main track is muddy (next week), we’ll work him here.”
Asmussen also sent out Jim Dandy runner-up Pyro and Whitney runner-up Student Council Monday morning, with Pyro working six furlongs in 1:16.01 with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, and Student Council covering the same distance in 1:14.46.
“Pyro had a solid race last time, and his work this morning was nice and steady and safe,” said the trainer. “He galloped out real big and came back good.”
Pyro is expected to run in the meet’s biggest race, the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm. The “Mid-Summer Derby” for three-year-olds at a mile and a quarter will be run on Saturday, August 23.
Student Council took to the mud with relish, turning in splits of 12.69, 24.77, 36.88 and 48.87, galloping out in 1:28.84. Asmussen said he is tempted to follow the same schedule as he did last year when he won the Pacific Classic, to be run on August 24.
“He worked Monday and flew out Wednesday,” said the trainer. “He’s a fabulous work horse, a train.”
Banrock came out of his two-length score in Sunday’s nine-furlong West Point Handicap over the soft Mellon turf in good order, according to trainer Tom Bush. Bush does not have a next race picked out for “The Rock,” as he affectionately calls the son of 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin, but he’s considering all his options.
“I know he has to have at least one more race before New York Showcase Day
(October 18th, Belmont Park),” Bush said. “I know that they have one more New York-bred stake in mid-September, but I really don’t know the schedule. I haven’t ruled out running him in an open race, but we’ve just got to see how we do. I think that we know a lot of horses dislike the soft and he doesn’t dislike it, so we have to hope for the best.”
The West Point was Banrock’s third stakes win this year on less-than-firm ground. The five-year-old gelding has a career record of seven wins from 21 starts and earnings of $363,673 for owner/breeder Nyala Farm.
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Dee Zee Stable’s Latitude Forty is recovering nicely from her neck victory over You Go West Girl in yesterday’s Yaddo Handicap, according to trainer John Hertler.
“She came out of the race good,” said Hertler. “Tired, but good.”
Plans for the daughter of Chester House’s future are still up in the air.
“We’re going to sit down and talk about it,” Hertler said. “We don’t know yet.” “She’s a filly with a lot of heart,” added jovial owner/breeder Donene
Honnold as she visited with Hertler and her winning mare on Monday morning.
Latitude Forty has won five races from 20 career starts $297,207. She also won the Yaddo last year.
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Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is having some success with his two-year-olds here, with two of his five victories coming with first-time starters. On August 3, he sent out West Point Thoroughbreds’ Rereadthefootnotes to victory in a New York-bred maiden race; Sunday he saddled Charitable Man to an eye-popping 11 ½-length score in his debut as he covered the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.61.
“He is a serious two-year-old,” said McLaughlin of the son of 1999 Belmont Stakes/ Travers winner and 2000 Whitney winner Lemon Drop Kid, who is owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren. “We have three or four more very nice ones, but he’s a special horse.”
Wednesday, McLaughlin will be saddling Golden Artemis in the Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack for two-year-old fillies, and will also send out two more first-time starters: West Point’s Celestial Diamond in the second race and West Point and Lakeland’s Speed Dating in the seventh race.
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One of Saratoga’s more popular races, the Grade 1 Alabama, is the headliner for Saturday, August 16. But this year, the $600,000, 1 ¼-mile race for three-year-old fillies will share the card with the 34th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at a mile and a half on the turf.
Both races are coming up blockbusters.
The 128th running of the Alabama will likely feature Grade 1 winners Little Belle and Proud Spell. Music Note, Little Belle’s stablemate, is likely here, but is also nominated to the meet’s biggest race, the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm on Saturday, August 23. She won the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, both Grade 1s, at Belmont Park.
Mushka, Skylighter and Grade 2 winner Sweet Vendetta are also possible.
The Sword Dancer will be headed by Red Rocks (IRE), who defeated Curlin in the Grade 1 Man o’War at Belmont Park; 9-year-old Better Talk Now, who was third in the Man o’War and who won the Sword Dancer in 2004; 2007 Sword Dancer winner Grand Couturier (GB); Monmouth Park’s Grade 1 United Nation’s winner Presious Passion; Dancing Forever, winner of Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap; Grade 2 winner Champs Elysees (GB); Equitable and the stakes-placed mare, Hostess.
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