Monday, September 04 2017

Hopeful (G1) Quotes

D. Wayne Lukas, winning trainer of Sporting Chance (No. 6): "Well, this surprised me more than it did the horse. I thought he was comfortable in front and he was moving well. I think he was best in the last 50 yards where he accelerated that's his style. Unfortunately, he saw something [at the finish], I guess Luis [Saez] explained that he ducked from the whip I'm not sure. I have a tendency to think it might have been something else you never know. These are 2-year-olds and he's just in his third race so you can see things happen like that everyday in 2-year-old races. I thought the fractions were realistic. I wasn't so worries about the fractions posted. I thought Luis was well within himself clocking the speed. That's the thing I was comfortable with. Somebody said twenty-two [seconds] in our box and I said at this point they're all there. Everyone was in contention in the first quarter. Even at the half-mile they weren't spreading out, there were horses all bunched there. So I was more comfortable with what Luis was doing. He was in comfortable position, he was on the outside of one of the obvious speed horses and I felt comfortable that we'd finish.

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Sunday, September 03 2017

Voodoo Song gets rare fourth win of meet in G3 Saranac

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Barry K. Schwartz' Voodoo Song became the first four-time winner in a single Saratoga Race Course meet since 1952 with a gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 3, $300,000 Saranac for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the turf on Saturday.

Voodoo Song quickly assumed the lead under jockey Jose Lezcano and, keen through the early going, drew off by as much as 5 ½ lengths on the backside to lead the field of eight. The chestnut English Channel colt relaxed through the final turn, maintaining a half-length advantage as the field turned for home. Voodoo Song rebuffed a brief challenge from Bricks and Mortar at the top of the stretch and held off a late-charging Yoshida to win by a neck under the wire.

Sent off at 6-1, Voodoo Song returned $14.40 for a $2 win wager to complete the route in a hand-timed 1:46.18 over the firm Mellon course.

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Saturday, September 02 2017

Saratoga Race Course Notes 9/1

'Workmanlike' Oskar Blues ready for stakes debut in G1 Hopeful
• Stakes winner Seymourdini begins road back with Friday breeze
• Motion contingent in good order heading into Spa's closing weekend
• Multiple G1 winner Mind Your Biscuits to return to track Saturday
• Royal Posse nearing return to races, eyeing Belmont Fall meet
• McGaughey hopes third time's the charm for War Flag

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Fern Circle Stables' impressive maiden winner Oskar Blues is ready for his close-up in the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful Monday, Closing Day of Saratoga's summer meet, trainer Ken McPeek said Friday.

The chestnut son of champion sprinter Speightstown drew post 2 in the field of eight juveniles and will carry 118 pounds including jockey Dylan Davis, who was aboard for Oskar Blues' debut victory August 12 at Saratoga.

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Thursday, August 17 2017

Saratoga Race Course Notes 8/17

Fayeq gets G1 Travers work in early with half-mile breeze
• Travers-bound Irap 'coming around at the right time' for O'Neill
• Mott looks for Elate to move forward; Good Samaritan to work this weekend
• Sadler's Joy on target for G1 Sword Dancer
• Holy Helena in good order for G1 Alabama; Shaman Ghost to have procedure on throat Monday

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Shadwell Stable's Fayeq is still on course to run in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers presented by NYRA Bets on August 26, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.

The Malibu Moon colt worked four furlongs in 48.89 seconds over the Oklahoma training track and responded well when changing leads, looking to build on his last race at Saratoga when he closed from off the pace, drawing off by 3 ½ lengths against allowance company.

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‘All-Stakes Pick 4’

Saratoga and Del Mar team up for 'All-Stakes Pick 4' on Pacific Classic Day and Woodward Day

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today an "All-Stakes Pick 4" with a partnership between Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar Racetrack on both Saturday, August 19 and Saturday, September 2.

The August 19 Saratoga/Del Mar Pick 4 will include the Grade 2 Lake Placid, run as Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:49 p.m., and the 136th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga, Race 9 on the card. It will be followed by the Grade 1, $1 million TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, featuring Arrogate, the 2016 Travers winner and currently top ranked horse by NTRA. The All-Stakes Pick 4 concludes with the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

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Wednesday, August 16 2017

A sextet of fillies face-off in G2 Lake Placid

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A group of six 3-year-old fillies will run in the Grade 2, $300,000 Lake Placid at 1 1/8 miles on the turf Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Patricia Moseley's Proctor's Ledge returns in search of adding another water-themed race to her win column after closing to capture the Grade 3 Lake George on Saratoga's Opening Day, July 21. The victory was the most significant yet for the daughter of Ghostzapper after she finished third, fourth and second in the Appalachian, Edgewood and Regret - all grade 3s - respectively. The late-running filly, who debuted with Lasix in her last start, looks promising, trainer Brendan Walsh said.

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New Money Honey looks to cash in on switch to dirt in G1 Alabama

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - E Five Racing Thoroughbreds' New Money Honey will look to parlay her success on the turf to the main track when she makes her dirt debut in the 137th running of the $600,000 Alabama for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

New Money Honey has four wins and a runner-up finish in six starts and will be going for her third Grade 1 victory in as many starts to headline a nine-horse field.

The Chad Brown trainee will be returning to the Spa for the first time since finishing second in her first start in September 2016, an effort that she parlayed into a maiden-breaking win in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo and a half-length score in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to cap her 2-year-old year.

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Saratoga Race Course Notes 8/16

'Fit and happy' McCraken breezes for G1 Travers
• Lockdown ready for G1 Alabama after bullet work
• Coasted ready to roll in G2 Lake Placid; Miss Mystique to make stakes debut in Seeking the Ante
• Hot City Girl looks to repeat in Union Avenue after layoff

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Whitham Thoroughbred's homebred and multiple graded stakes winner McCraken turned in his penultimate breeze Wednesday morning for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers presented by NYRA Bets at Saratoga Race Course on August 26.

The sophomore colt by Ghostzapper took to the Oklahoma training track shortly after 6 a.m. with regular jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. aboard, covering six furlongs in 1:16.23. The work was his second since finishing a close runner-up in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 30, where he was beaten a nose by fellow Travers candidate Girvin.

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Monday, August 14 2017

Saratoga Race Course Notes 8/14

Competitive edition of G1 Travers attracts 17 nominations
• Highway Star remains on point for G1 Ballerina
• G1 Whitney winner Gun Runner 'happy' in half-mile work
• Bigger Picture eyes G1 Sword Dancer
• Holy Helena on target for G1 Alabama
• Old Friends open house on Tuesday, August 15
• Ward enters talented pair for Bolton Landing

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Nominations for Week 6 stakes at Saratoga Race Course are now available, anchored by the summer's signature event for 3-year-olds, the 148th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers presented NYRA Bets on Saturday, August 26.

In total, a diverse group of 17 sophomores have been nominated to the 1 ¼-mile 'Mid-Summer Derby,' one of seven stakes on Travers Day. Among the top nominees are Grade 1 Belmont Stakes hero Tapwrit, trained by Todd Pletcher and making his first start since his two-length victory in the 'Test of the Champion' on June 10; Easy Goer and Grade 3 Los Al Derby winner West Coast from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who sent Arrogate to a record victory in last year's Travers; Good Samaritan, a 4 ¾-length winner of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in his first start on dirt for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott; Grade 1 Haskell Invitational winner Girvin for trainer Joe Sharp; and Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, also trained by Pletcher and looking to rebound from his third-place finish in the Jim Dandy.

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Sunday, August 13 2017

Saratoga Race Course Notes 8/13

Songbird confirmed for G1 Personal Ensign
• Oscar Performance targets G1 Joe Hirsch after Secretariat win
• World Approval exits G1 Fourstardave win in fine fettle
• G1 Hopeful may be next for gutsy debut winner Oskar Blues
• Brown keeps focus on Saratoga despite out of town success
• Toner-trained turf trio targeting Spa stakes off Saturday breezes
• Pure Silver possibility for G1 Spinaway
• Giuseppe the Great living up to his name in Travers training
• Royal Posse sharp in five-furlong breeze, Evan Shipman possible
• Sibling rivalry on tap in Monday's Saratoga Dew

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -Fox Hill Farm's Songbird will make her much anticipated return to Saratoga Race Course in the Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign on Travers Day, August 26, as announced by Fox Hill Farm on social media following the 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro's five-furlong breeze in 1:01 early Sunday morning at Del Mar.

"We are definitely running," said owner Rick Porter by phone. "I want to run at Saratoga. It's my favorite track to run at and I think it's the right race for her anyway: the timing is right, the purse is right, and she's run well there."

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Saturday, August 12 2017

Fourstardave (G1) Quotes

Mark Casse, winning trainer of World Approval (No. 7): "When we saw the rain was coming, Ms. [Charlotte] Weber was concerned and we talked about it a few times, and I thought his race was so good in the [Grade 2] Dixie, I thought the rain it wasn't going to hurt her. We couldn't get Julien [Leparoux] and I said to Norman [Casse], 'We're going to win the Fourstardave and I'm not sure who's going to ride him.' It turned out to be Manny; he impresses me. He played in a basketball charity game last week and he had so much drive and he's so athletic and we've got some luck with him, so let's ride him. You couldn't have asked him to ride a horse any better. The only instructions I told him was that he likes a target. That was one of the reasons we cut him back to a mile, because we thought if we could win the Breeders' Cup Mile or have a shot anywhere, it would be a mile [race]. When you run him farther, he doesn't get a target. [If it's] shorter, there's more speed, and he got a target and it looked like he loved it.

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Pure Silver romps field in G2 Adirondack

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It took just a few strides out of the gate for Pure Silver to get her customary lead before she quickly took command of the field of seven in cruising to a 9 ½-length win in the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Sent off at 8-5, Pure Silver was sent to the lead along the rail by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez after the skittish-but-projected pace-setter Limited View didn't get off at the break as intended. The daughter by Mission Impazible registered a quarter-mile in 22.44 seconds while longshot Di Maria and Luis Saez sat close along the outside.

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