Monday, August 10 2009

SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Monday, August 10, 2009

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird had his first serious move for the Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers at Saratoga Race Course this morning, zipping a half-mile over the main track in 48.22.

The move, with Jamie Theriot aboard, was the seventh-fastest of 27 at the distance and admittedly faster than trainer Chip Woolley had planned.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When Queen of Hearts broke her maiden going 1 1/8th miles at Belmont Park on July 22, trainer Jimmy Jerkens suspected from the way the filly galloped out that she wanted to go longer.

On Monday, the 4-year-old filly owned by Susan Moore and M and M Thoroughbred Partners got her chance in the 1½-mile Signature Stallions Series stakes, formerly the Waya. Positioned well behind front-running Zaskar through most of the race, Queen of Hearts closed an eight-length gap and dueled with the pacesetter through the stretch to prevail by a nose at the wire in the $73,500 turf contest at Saratoga Race Course.

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WHAT: Week # 3 at the Saratoga Race Course

WHEN: Wednesday, August 12 - Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WHERE: Various locations in Saratoga Springs

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – While Zabeel Racing International’s Game Face didn’t get to employ her usual stalking style, she had no trouble galloping home to a 1½-length victory in Sunday’s 18th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of six, the 4-year-old daughter of Menifee broke sharply under jockey Edgar Prado and pressed pacesetting Keep the Peace through early fractions of 22.76 and 45.74, surging to the lead in the stretch to cross the wire in 1:10.70 for the six furlongs.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Finally collaring a stubborn and fast Go Go Shoot at the sixteenth pole, Walter Downey’s Fabulous Strike showed Sunday why he is widely considered the finest six-furlong sprinter in the country, winning the 25th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez for trainer Todd Beattie, Fabulous Strike broke from the gate on top and then set up outside longshot Go Go Shoot for a protracted stalking drive before finally reaching and surging past the leader to win by a length. Go Go Shoot finished second, 1¼ lengths in front of Kodiak Kowboy.

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Sunday, August 09 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After day 1 of the first Fasig-Tipton Jockey Trainer Contest, trainer Chad Brown and jockey Cornelio Velasquez hold narrow leads over their competition, setting up what should be a great final day of the contest. The day 1 standings are located online at

Brown, a Mechanicville, N.Y. native, scored 18 points on day 1, with a system where points are compiled based on a 5-3-1 system for win, place, and show, with double points for horses that passed through the Fasig-Tipton sales ring. Kiaran McLaughlin is right behind Brown with 14 points, while Edward Lotruglio is in third place with 6 points.

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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Sunday, August 9, 2009

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – As expected, Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito announced this morning that Tracy Farmer’s two-time Grade 1 Whitney Handicap winner Commentator has been retired after finishing third in Saturday’s $750,000 Whitney.

“He’s officially retired. We’ll let him go out on a high note,” Zito said. “It would have been wonderful for him to win. Physically, there’s nothing wrong with him other than his age. Considering what he has to do to run back in those Grade 1 races, we thought this was the best thing to do.”

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – All week long, the topic of conversation for the $750,000 Whitney Handicap conversation was the great gelding Commentator and his quest to become only the third horse to win the Grade 1 fixture in its 82-year history.

Even in a field of seven – reduced to six by the scratch of Asiatic Boy – few bothered to mention longshot Bullsbay. Yet midway through the far turn Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, there was jockey Jeremy Rose surging to the front aboard the 5-year-old bay, and with Macho Again mounting a stretch drive too late, Bullsbay ran to a stunning victory before a crowd of 39,568.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Godolphin Stable’s Flashing rallied down the middle of the stretch and went on to a 1½ length victory over Pretty Prolific to take Saturday’s 84th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

Under jockey Richard Migliore, the chestnut daughter of A.P. Indy stayed in midpack behind early fractions of 22.63 and 45.31 set by Heart Ashley, then began moving up on the turn to bid for the lead, taking over inside the sixteenth pole hitting the wire in 1:22.40 for the seven furlongs.

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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Saturday, August 8, 2009

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Colonel John, winner of the 2008 Shadwell Travers, could return to the scene of his most famous triumph in the Grade 1, $500,0000 Woodward on September 5, trainer Eoin Harty said.

Since winning last year’s Travers by a nose over Mambo in Seattle, Colonel John has gone 1-for-3, including a sixth-place finish in last years Breeders’ Cup Classic. The colt’s most recent start was a win in the one-mile Wickerr Stakes over the Del Mar turf course, his first start on that surface.

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Friday, August 07 2009

SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Friday, August 7, 2009

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird took his first tour of Saratoga Race Course’s main track on Friday morning, jogging an easy mile under exercise rider Liandro Atempa. Trainer Tim Ice said the son of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone would gallop 1½ miles Saturday morning as he prepares for his next start, the Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers on Saturday, August 29.

“The rider said he looked around a little bit and that he was feeling good,” said Ice. “He was on his toes, and feeling high-spirited. We wanted him to get loosened up and get a feel for the track. Tomorrow, when he gallops, he’ll have blinkers on.”

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Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing: The Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing, August 8 and 9, will celebrate the rich partnership between racing and yearling sales with a variety of special events, a celebrity race call, best-turned-out horse (and people!) contests and an innovative, free speaker series for fans. Ushering in two evenings of sales on August 10 and 11 at the newly-remodeled Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion on East Avenue, the centerpiece of the Festival is two days of world-class racing, including two new overnight stakes, courtesy of Fasig-Tipton: on Saturday, the John Hettinger Stakes will be run on the main track while on Sunday, the Finney Stakes will be run on the turf. Fasig-Tipton is also sponsoring a “Best Turned-Out Horse” contest for both stakes, with the winning grooms to receive a cash prize of $500.

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