Friday, August 15, 2008
SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES, August 15, 2008
Robert LaPenta’s Belmont Stakes winner Da’ Tara and Saratoga Race Course’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy winner Macho Again, owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, head the likely field for the Travers.
Also expected for the Travers are IEAH Stable’s Acai, WinStar Farm’s Colonel John, Stronach Stable’s Harlem Rocker, Mrs. William S. Kilroy’s Mambo in Seattle, Ron Winchell’s Pyro, Charles E. Fipke’s Tale of Ekati, C. Beau Greely’s Tres Borrachos and Edmund A. Gann’s You and I Forever.
Zabeel Racing International’s Tiz Now Tiz Then is considered questionable.
“Da’ Tara worked beautiful today,” said Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito. “Hopefully, he’ll have a good week, we’ll have a good week.”
Zito added that Cool Coal Man, who, like Da’ Tara is owned by Robert V. LaPenta, is another candidate for the Travers. Cool Coal Man, third to Big Brown in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, worked Thursday, going four furlongs in 48.42 over the muddy track.
“They’re both doing well. I’m happy about that,” said Zito. “I like the way (Cool Coal Man) came out of the race (Haskell). He came out of the race real, real good and had a tremendous work yesterday. He’s a very good horse. The (Grade 2) Fountain of Youth is not an easy race to win and he won it. So, if we go with that we’ll be OK.”
Macho Again galloped Friday morning on the Oklahoma training track after trainer Dallas Stewart scrapped a planned five-furlong move.
“He had a little gassy stomach this morning, so he’ll just gallop a little bit,” said Stewart of the gray son of Macho Uno. “I don’t know if he’ll breeze tomorrow, the weather has a lot to do with it.”
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Trainer Todd Pletcher said Harlem Rocker, winner of Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Withers Stakes and the Prince of Wales Stakes, remained on target for the Travers and is scheduled to breeze five-eighths Sunday morning.
“We’ve been lucky with his schedule, we haven’t missed any breezes with him,” said Pletcher of Harlem Rocker, a striking gray son of Macho Uno who is 4-for-5.
“He’s a good-looking horse” said Pletcher. “I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of him yet. The Travers will be interesting.”
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Also on the Travers Day card is the 24th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 NetJets King’s Bishop for three-year-olds at seven furlongs.
Expected here are Centennial Farm’s Desert Key, Robert A. Murphy Jr.’s Golden Spikes, Zayat Stable’s J Be K, Vinery Stable’s Kodiak Kowboy, Overbrook Farm’s Nautical Storm, Southern Equine Stable’s Salute the Sarge and Team Valor International’s Visionaire.
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The Travers Day turf feature will be the Grade 2, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs.
Probable contenders are Centaur Farm Inc.’s Distorted Reality, Dion A. Recachina’s Operation Red Dawn, Gary A. Tanaka’s Proudinsky (GER), Shadwell Stable’s Shakis (IRE), Oxbow Racing’s Steve’s Double, Zayat Stable’s Thorn Song, Peter Vegso’s War Monger and Jerry Crawford’s Yate’s Black Cat.
Questionable are Codeword (IRE), Hotstufanthensome and Interpatation, who is entered for Saturday’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational.
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The Grade 3, $100,000-added Victory Ride Stakes for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs completes the graded stakes offerings on Travers Day.
David and Jill Heerensperger’s Indyanne, Zayat Stable’s J Z Warrior, Michael Bello’s Lovely Isle, William Stiritz’ Palanka City, Johanna Murphy-Leopoldsberger’s Porte Bonheur, Richland Hills Stable’s Secret Gypsy and Glen Hill Farm’s Sly Storm.
Moonshine Alice is also a possibility.
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Travers Week stakes action begins on Wednesday with the 31st running of the $150,000-added Albany for New York-bred three-year-olds at nine furlongs. The race is the final leg of the OTB’s Big Apple Triple, and if Tin Cup Chalice, who has already won the Mike Lee at Belmont Park and the New York Derby at his home track of Finger Lakes, can win the Albany, he will receive a $250,000 bonus for owner/trainer Michael Lecesse.
Making history in the New York Breeding & Racing Program is nothing new for the Lecesse. Raymond Lecesse, Michael’s father, owned 1981 Whitney winner Fio Rito.
Thursday’s feature race will be the 20th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Ballston
Spa Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf.
Probable are James J. Berry’s Genuine Devotion (IRE), Virginia Kraft Payson’s Rutherienne, IEAH Stable’s Sharp Susan, Lael Stable’s Valbenny (IRE) and Arindel Farm’s Wait a While. Possible are Carriage Trail and Criminologist.
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The Grade 1 parade starts on Friday with the 61st running of the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter.
Stronach Stable’s Ginger Punch, who already won the Grade 1 Go for Wand this meet, will likely be joined by Darley Stable’s Golden Velvet, Donald A. Adam’s Indescribable and Team Valor International’s Unbridled Belle. Copper State, Lemon Drop Mom, So Glitzy and Spring Waltz are questionable.
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The 30th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares at seven furlongs will be the feature race on Sunday, August 24. As part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Challenge,” the Ballerina winner will automatically qualify for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on October 24.
Zayat Stable’s Baroness Thatcher, Peter E. Blum Racing’s Elope, Tom Grether Farm’s Intangaroo, WinStar Farm’s Leah’s Secret, J. Paul Robsham’s Mistical Plan and Stronach Stable’s Sugar Swirl are likely.
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Trainer Ronny Werner’s son and assistant, Rowdy Werner, said Friday morning that Run Away and Hide came back in good shape after his 1 ¼-length score in Thursday’s Grade 2 Saratoga Special.
“We went over his legs today and everything looks good. He came back very well. We’re very happy,” said Werner.
“It looks like we’ll be shooting for a race in California [for his next start]. We haven’t really discussed it yet, of course, since he just ran yesterday. So, we’ll still have to talk about it and see where he’ll head next. The Three Chimneys Hopeful (Grade 1, September 1, Saratoga Race Course) might be a little quick for him.”
Run Away and Hide is now a perfect three-for-three in his career with two graded stakes wins and earnings of $224,684 for owners Ronald K. Kirk, John C. Bates, and Michael Riordan. He is by City Zip out of Jilted, by 1982 Travers winner Runaway Groom.
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Flying Zee Stable’s Megapixel hung on to win by a neck in yesterday’s Van Raalte Stakes for three-year-old state-bred sprinters. The chestnut son of Tale of the Cat set fractions of :23 3/5 and :46 4/5 under Edgar Prado, saving enough to repel bids from Law Enforcement and Be Bullish and stopping the clock in 1:22 1/5 for seven furlongs. He returned $3.90 to win as the favorite in a field of five.
“We lost time; he got here and got a little cough,” said trainer Carlos Martin. “I didn’t publicize that. I let the horse do the talking. He has so much heart. He only had two workouts. This horse has so much heart I just had to run him. He’s got a heart of gold. “
Martin has not yet decided on a next race.
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