Saturday, August 11, 2012
SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Friday, August 10, 2012
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Grade 1 Travers candidate Paynter arrived at Belmont Park this morning from New Jersey and will be monitored to see if he can make the $1 million “Mid-Summer Derby” on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course.
Two days after winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational by 3 ¾ lengths on July 29, the Zayat Stables-owned son of Awesome Again spiked a fever. After spending time in the barn of trainer Kelly Breen at Monmouth Park, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sent Paynter to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in Ringoes, N.J.
Baffert said he has no schedule set for Paynter and will monitor him on a day-to-day basis in hopes of making the 1 ¼-mile Travers.
“Our main concern is to make sure the sickness didn’t go really bad on him,” said Baffert. “It was precautionary. He’s doing fine now.”
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Grade 2 Jim Dandy winner Alpha and Curlin victor Street Life both came out of their Thursday works in good order as they continue preparations for the Grade 1 Travers on August 25.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Alpha was doing “great” the morning after he breezed four furlongs over the main track in 48.47, while trainer Chad Brown said everything continues to look good after Street Life went the same distance in 50.93 in company with Vivo.
“Street Life will work two more times before the race,” said Brown. “I thought he handled himself very well in the Curlin. He adapted and got himself involved a little earlier in the race, which we had been trying to get him to do, and I think it worked out pretty well. He’s maturing. I think Jose [Lezcano] rides him very well, and they’re getting to know each other. He has confidence in the horse. I’m excited about his chances.”
Next Saturday, Brown plans to send Grade 1 Man o’ War runner-up Center Divider in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at 1 ½ miles on the turf. The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway has made one start at the Spa, finishing second in last year’s 1 5/8-mile John’s Call.
“His race in the John’s Call over the same course was good,” said Brown. “He’s a horse with speed, and he totally missed the break. I don’t remember exactly what happened, he was eliminated at the start, and I was impressed he earned second. He wants to be up or on the lead. We’ll give it a shot.”
Brown added that Stronach Stable’s undefeated Awesome Feather, unraced since winning the Sunshine Millions Distaff in January at Gulfstream Park, continues to flourish at Saratoga. Wednesday, the 4-year-old Awesome of Course filly put in her fourth timed work over the Oklahoma training track, covering four furlongs in 50.65.
“Awesome Feather is doing really well; she couldn’t possibly be doing any better,” said Brown. “I think we’ll probably get one race in before the Breeders’ Cup, but I don’t know where.
“She’s in a unique situation,” he added. “You have a horse that’s undefeated, and you hate to put her in a situation where’s she would be vulnerable and put a blemish on her record. Off a layoff could prove to be a challenge for her. We try to manage her the right way. We’re brave enough to run her – we’ve done it three times already – and she can overcome a lot. I want to make sure I make the right move. I really think that if I can get her to Santa Anita sound and doing as well as she’s doing right now, she’s the horse to beat. The most important piece of the puzzle is she’s doing well right now; the rest will fall into place.”
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Trainer Jimmy Toner was a mix of stoic and sentimental as he talked this morning about multiple Grade 1 winner Winter Memories, whose retirement midway through her 4-year-old campaign was announced Thursday afternoon.
“You can’t call it ‘devastating,’” he said, “but it’s a pretty good hit.”
Toner, who with the filly received a steady stream of well-wishers at the barn all morning, said that Winter Memories came out of her victory in Grade 1 Diana on July 28 in good order, but developed filling in her ankles after she returned to training.
“The X-ray showed that she had some bruising in the condyles, which in itself is not a major issue, but you can’t run,” he said. “Right now it’s not serious; it’s not even an injury.”
Winter Memories likely will ship home to Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky within a few days, a departure Toner is not looking forward to.
“With her not being in that first stall, there’s going to be a bit of an empty feeling,” he said. “I don’t think too many like her come down the pike. We’ve had a lot of nice horses, good horses; we had a champion. But they were workmanlike; they did their jobs.
“This filly has done things I’ve never seen before. She’s got the ‘wow’ factor, and that’s the part you don’t see too often.”
The popular gray filly, a daughter of El Prado out of Memories of Silver, compiled a record of 8-2-0 from 12 starts, with seven graded stakes victories and earnings of $1,268,100. This year, in addition to the Diana, she won the Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont Park and finished second in the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 9.
Toner expressed particular regret that such a fan favorite was going to leave the racetrack.
“I’m sure many people were sorry to hear this,” he said. Then he laughed. “None more than me.”
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Trainer John Hertler’s Considerate is on track for her next start in Friday’s $150,000 Yaddo for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
“She’s doing very well,” said Hertler of the 5-year-old mare, who is by Leroixdesanimaux, sire of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. “She’s developing more now than she did in two years. I guess it’s the breeding; she’s by a Brazilian stallion, and that suggests that she’ll go better when she gets older.”
Considerate made her first three starts on dirt before being switched to the turf. While she’s not picky about the condition of the course, Hertler said she’s got a definite surface preference.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s hard or soft,” he said, “as long as it’s turf. She just wants grass.”
Considerate, who carries the colors of Edward J. Messina, was third on July 27 behind Hessonite in the Irish Linnet, in which she pressed the pace behind Mystic City and held on to finish a half-length behind runner-up Inimitable Romanee. All three are set to come back in the Yaddo.
“In her last race [jockey] Rosie [Napravnik] got her back a little bit, and she finished, so I’m hoping that she learns from this and relaxes more the first part and finishes strong,” said Hertler. “We’d like to hook in behind some speed if I could, cover her up and see if she could kick in, or be on a nice easy lead with nobody near me.”
Hertler is also hoping that as Considerate matures, she’s able to handle longer distances. While most of her best performances have come in sprints, her last win came at a mile; the Yaddo is 1 1/16 miles, a distance at which the 5-year-old mare has finished third twice in two starts.
“We didn’t think for the longest time that she would run long, but she’s showing us now that she’s trying to pace herself and finish, and that’s what I’m hoping,” said Hertler. “She’s in excellent condition.”
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B Shanny, one of the most promising maiden winners of the 2011 meet at Saratoga, returns for his second start of the year in Sunday’s fifth race, a 5 ½-furlong optional-claiming race for New York-breds.
Owned by former New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) president and CEO Barry Schwartz and trained by Michael Hushion, the 3-year-old son of Street Cry debuted last July at Belmont Park and finished second in a race that produced four next-out winners.
B Shanny was one of them, breaking his maiden last August 20 at Saratoga, running seven furlongs in 1:24.03 while defeating subsequent graded stakes winner El Padrino; Five Sixteen, who finished fifth in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and second in the recent Curlin Stakes; and News Pending, who went on to place second behind eventual Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.
Unfortunately, B Shanny suffered a bone chip in his knee and went to the sidelines while preparing for a run in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
In his comeback on June 16 at Belmont, B Shanny was beaten by a nose by Notmyfirsttime in a six-furlong race that went in 1:10.41.
Hushion said B Shanny is ready to go Sunday and he is “hopeful for a stakes race” down the road.
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