Thursday, August 27 2009


SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Thursday, August 27, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – As he heads toward Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers with longshot Our Edge, Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito can’t help but reflect back on the 2004 Travers, which he won with Birdstone.

“The interesting thing is, Our Edge is by the Cliff’s Edge, who we trained, and he was second to Birdstone in that race,” said Zito. “So we have a lot of footprints in this race. You have a Birdstone in there (Summer Bird), there were almost two Birdstones (before Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird declared), and a Cliff’s Edge, trained by us. This horse looks a lot like his dad, so I’m kind of happy about that. He’s going to represent his dad as well as he can.”





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AMERICA’S RACETRACK SALUTES OUR ARMED FORCES WITH “PROUD TO BE AMERICAN” DAY AT SARATOGA RACE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Saratoga Race Course will pay tribute to our armed forces, both past and present, with the return of Proud to be an American Day at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday, September 2.

Presented by the New York Racing Association (NYRA), the day will feature free grandstand admission for all United States active military and veterans with a military ID, courtesy of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. All patrons are encouraged to wear red, white and blue.





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GODOLPHIN IS WELL-REPRESENTED ON TRAVERS DAY UNDERCARD


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – At the end of the Belmont Park Spring Meet, Godolphin had just one winner from 13 starters: Tam Lin in an overnight stakes.

But when Rick Mettee, Godolphin’s North American racing manager and assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, brought the stable north on the 190-mile trek to Saratoga Race Course, all that changed dramatically.





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FIDDLERS AFLEET SETS SAIL IN ALBANY


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Odds-on favorite Fiddlers Afleet held off a determined late charge from Slevin Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course to take the 32nd running of the Albany Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds by a head.

Ridden by Saratoga’s leading jockey, Ramon Dominguez, the son of Northern Afleet grabbed the lead coming out of the gate and zipped through fractions of 22.83, 46.02 and 1:10.36 while being shadowed by Pocket Cowboys, and then had enough left to turn back Slevin while hitting the wire in 1:49.78.





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MUNNINGS, BIG DRAMA CUT BACK IN NETJETS KING’S BISHOP


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The last time Munnings faced the starter, the brilliant sprinter attempted to stretch his speed 1 1/8th miles in an attempt to topple star filly Rachel Alexandra and Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. One day earlier, another blazing sprinter, Big Drama, took on a remarkably similar challenge, facing Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby on August 1.

Neither colt won, but both turned in big efforts and proved they rank among the best in the 3-year-old division. On Saturday the two will clash at what is likely their favorite distance — seven furlongs — in the Grade 1, $300,000 NetJets King’s Bishop at Saratoga Race Course.





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TRIPLE CROWN CONNECTION WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT SARATOGA


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Three lucky fans won the opportunity today in Saratoga Race Course’s “Triple Crown Connection” contest to have a meet-and-greet with this year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes winners on Wednesday, August 26.

Bob Anthony of Hamden, Conn. will get to meet Derby winner Mine That Bird, Elizabeth Lis of Amsterdam, N.Y. will get to meet Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra, and Wanda Powell of Tannersville, N.Y. will get to meet Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird. In addition to spending time with the superstar thoroughbreds and their trainers, the winners will also receive breakfast for four on the porch and a Clubhouse box for four.





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SIX FILLIES READY TO DANCE IN BALLERINA


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Saturday’s 31st running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Ballerina has attracted some of the top sprinting talent in the country, with six 4-year-old fillies going postward in the seven-furlong contest.

At the head of the field is Augustin Stables’ Informed Decision, undefeated in her last five starts, all at seven furlongs. With a lifetime record of 8-0-1 from 10 races, the daughter of Monarchos has turned in two bullet works since her last win, an easy 4¾-length score in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park.





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Wednesday, August 26 2009


DEFINING MOMENT FOR MANY IN SHADWELL TRAVERS


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY. – For each of its seven participants, the 140th running of Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes encompasses an array of possibilities beyond even the glamour and excitement of winning one of the most recognizable races for 3-year-olds in the United States.

Traditionally, the prestige and the purse alone guarantee a compelling event, but this year’s “Mid-Summer Derby” offers both veterans of the Triple Crown trail and late-bloomers the chance to step up and take their place as leaders in a divisional race that could go down to the wire.





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PURSE HIKES IN 4 OF 11 OFF-THE-TURFERS FROM INCENTIVE PROGRAM DURING WEEK FOUR AT SARATOGA


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Ten more races, including four of the 11 races taken off the turf, qualified under the purse incentive program created to increase field size during Week Four of the 2009 Saratoga Race Course meet, according to The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). Purse increases from incentives during the meet’s fourth week totaled $83,020, a 20.3 percent advance over the original purse values.

From 239 races run at the meet’s two-thirds point, 56 (23.4 percent) have qualified under the program. The total purse increase to date is $405,690, a 17.2 percent advance over original purse values.





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MINE THAT BIRD TO SKIP SHADWELL TRAVERS STAKES


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach and trainer Chip Woolley announced Wednesday that Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird would not enter Saturday’s 140th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers, citing continued concerns about an entrapped epiglottis that was repaired on August 18.

“We’ve decided to err on the side of caution and pass this race up and aim down the road to the Breeders’ Cup,” Woolley said. “There’s one little spot underneath the epiglottis pushing up just a tiny bit and after studying and looking at it, we’re going to hold off and make sure the horse is okay and not take any chances with the rest of his career.”





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MINE THAT BIRD WORKS, TRAVERS DECISION WEDNESDAY


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird breezed this morning at Saratoga Race Course for the first time since undergoing minor throat surgery last week and the next 24 hours should determine whether he will run in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes.

“Doc (Dr. James Hunt) is happy with the way he looked today,” said trainer Chip Woolley of Mine That Bird, who had an entrapped epiglottis repaired last Tuesday at the Ruffian Equine Medical Center next to Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. “He’ll look at it again in the morning, and we’ll make a final decision in the morning.





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Tuesday, August 25 2009


SILVERCUP BABY RUNNETH OVER FIELD IN UNION AVENUE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Silvercup Baby broke from the gate on top then set up in an ideal stalking position — just as trainer Carl Domino ordered — before powering past tiring leader Dance Gal Dance with less than a furlong to go to win the $70,000 Union Avenue on Monday at Saratoga Race Course.

Ridden for the first time by jockey Javier Castellano, the Eric Brophy homebred daughter of American Chance won the six-furlong sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares in 1:10.28. As the $10.40-to-1 fourth choice in the field of six, Silvercup Baby paid $22.80 for a $2 win bet.





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