Wednesday, August 26 2009


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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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Monday, August 24, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Edward P. Evans’ Quality Road put in his final breeze before Saturday’s 140th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers at Saratoga Race Course, covering five furlongs Monday morning over the muddy main track in 59.68, fourth fastest of 24 at the distance.

“It felt good, very good. I wanted to do enough, but not let him do too much,” said jockey John Velazquez, on board for the work in company with stablemate Unbridled Belle, a 6-year-old mare also trained by Todd Pletcher. “As soon as I got right to the other horse, he got into the bridle and then I had him slow down a little bit. I didn’t want to let him do too much down the lane.”





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RACHEL ALEXANDRA TO WOODWARD; PURSE HIKED TO $750,000


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Rachel Alexandra will attempt to make history again as she takes on older males for the first time in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, September 5, trainer Steve Asmussen announced Monday.

Jess Jackson’s 3-year-old filly, a leading contender for Horse of the Year after having twice defeated colts in the Preakness and Haskell Invitational, is attempting to become the first female to win the 1 1/8th mile Woodward, won last year by Jackson’s two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.





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WEATHER UNSETTLED BUT NUMBERS STILL UP THROUGH SPA WEEK FOUR


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Attendance remains up 1.2 percent, on-track handle up 3.2 percent, and all-sources handle up 1.0 percent from 2008 totals two-thirds through the 2009 Saratoga Race Course meet despite a week of unstable weather and unpredictable forecasts resulting in fewer betting interests and 11 races taken off the turf, the first since opening week.

· Attendance for the first 24 days of the 2009 meet is 588,173, up from 581,021 in 2008, for a daily average of 24,507 compared to 24,209. (*See Note on attendance below.)





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Monday, August 24 2009


NEHANTIC KAT TAKES YADDO


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Statehouse Stable’s Nehantic Kat rallied four-wide down the stretch and pulled away to a 1½ -length victory over Vivi’s Book to win the $100,000 Yaddo Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course.

Forced to check leaving three-eighths pole, winning jockey Rajiv Maragh was able to take advantage of early fractions of 23.92 and 49.62 set by Love Cove when asking his mare for a late run.





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THE SAGA OF ONE-EYED, 7-YEAR-OLD DIRGE CONTINUES AT SPA


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When Dirge steps into the starting gate for Monday’s seventh race at Saratoga Race Course, it will be just another step on the 7-year-old gelding’s remarkable journey through life.

Afflicted with a bowed tendon at age 3 and then an infection that cost him his left eye at age 4, the homebred son of Lord Avie didn’t even make it to the races for his breeders, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and owner William Pape, until he was 5. In his first start, over hurdles, he lost jockey Danielle Hodsdon; in his second, a claiming flat race, he lost his original connections when snapped up by a rival trainer for $25,000.





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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Sunday, August 23, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Quality Road, record-setting winner of the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga Race Course will put in his final work for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes on Monday morning.

Originally scheduled for Sunday at 8:45 a.m., trainer Todd Pletcher said he postponed the work because of overnight rains that turned the track muddy. Quality Road is now scheduled to take to the main track Monday at 8:45 a.m.





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MIXED UP, PLANETS ALIGNED CLASH AGAIN IN NYTW CUP


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Mixed Up, winner of the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick Memorial on August 6, returns Thursday to head a field of seven in the 68th running of the Grade 1, $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup, a 2 3/8th mile steeplechase handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

Mixed Up, a 10-year-old Carnivalay gelding trained by his breeder, Jonathan Sheppard, and owned by William Pape, has won 17 races and earned $684,017 in his career, as well as having won three of five starts at Saratoga.





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AMAZING SIX-WAY PHOTO FINISH ELICITS AWE AT THE SPA


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In one of the most amazing finishes ever seen at Saratoga Race Course, six horses finished within a neck of each other in Saturday’s ninth race, an allowance run at 1-1/16 miles on the inner turf track. The official race replay can be seen at http://www.NYRA.com and NYRA’s Official YouTube Page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz-HKPYAB3E

The eventual winner, Grassy, stumbled at the break, and came from the clouds to get up and beat Cherokee Speed by a nose. The following four finishers, all with a nose margin over the next, were Good Prospect, Rock in Bage, Yankee Empire, and Boots Ahead.





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Saturday, August 22 2009


CANADIAN INVADER CARELESS JEWEL CAPTURES ALABAMA


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Careless Jewel took command on the far turn and drew off to a commanding 11-length victory over favored Milwaukee Appeal Saturday to capture the 129th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in a breakout performance.

“It doesn’t get better that that,” said Canadian-based trainer Josie Carroll of Careless Jewel, now a winner of four straight by a combined margin of 29 lengths. “The one thing about this filly, she’s made the lead, and she’s kicked on, and I think it’s very special when a horse can make pace and kick on. That gave us a lot of confidence.”





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