Sunday, August 02 2009


FOREVER TOGETHER RECOVERS WINNING FORM


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Returning to the winner’s circle to a wave of applause from the filled clubhouse seats, Augustin Stables’ 5-year-old Forever Together basked in the adulation after reconfirming her status as the leading turf mare in the country after winning the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux, the gray or roan champion surged past horses rounding the far turn and overhauled leader Carribean Sunset in the final strides to take the 71st running of one of racing’s most prestigious grass races for the second straight year.





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Saratoga Race Course Notes: Saturday, August 1, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Commentator, the 8-year-old who on August 8 will attempt to become only the third horse in history to win three runnings of the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney, put in an “unbelievable” work Saturday morning on the Oklahoma training track, covering a half-mile in 47.85, handily.

The move, with exercise rider Maxine Correa up, was the second fastest of 19 at the distance, topped only by stablemate Da’ Tara (47.55).

“Commentator was terrific, unbelievable,” said his Hall of Fame trainer, Nick Zito, who saddled Commentator to victory in the 2005 and 2008 editions of the 1 1/8th mile Whitney. “It was nice and smooth, like silk. He was absolutely beautiful. Let’s hope he has a good week and a good day on Saturday.”





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Saturday, August 01 2009


BE FAIR SPLASHES HOME A WINNER IN LAKE GEORGE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When day-long rain forced the 14th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George Stakes onto the main track, no one was more relieved for Westrock Stables’ Be Fair than her Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

“I would have run her on the turf if it had been normal, but I would not have taken a filly of her caliber and tried her on the turf in these conditions for the first time,” said Lukas.





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QUALITY ROAD HEADS LOADED AMSTERDAM FIELD


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Todd Pletcher stood outside the Oklahoma training track and contemplated the field of six lined up to contest Monday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam – including Capt. Candyman Can, Custom for Carlos, Everyday Heroes and his own Quality Road – and put the sprint stakes for 3-year-olds in perfect perspective.

“There are a lot of good horses in here,” Pletcher said. “I didn’t expect a Grade 2 at Saratoga to be easy.”





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LUCK OF THE IRISH, SARATOGA RACE COURSE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Irish or not, track-goers alike will enjoy a special day at the races with Celtic music and dance, and a sumptuous selection of classic Irish fare at the first-ever Mid-Summer St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, August 5 at Saratoga Race Course.

Fans will have the opportunity to indulge in classic corned beef sandwiches, Guinness-soaked beef with soda bread, bangers and mashed potatoes, and Irish cookies for desert. Even the popcorn and cotton candy will go green in honor of the festivities.





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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Friday, July 31, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After a torrid Belmont spring/summer meet, in which he won 14 races from 46 starters (30.4 percent), trainer Tony Dutrow has picked up right where he left off at Saratoga.

In the first two days of the meet, the 51-year-old Maryland native posted two wins, a second and two thirds from five starters. On Thursday, his hard-hitting 5-year-old gelding Kaper Lake dropped into a $25,000 claimer and nearly broke a long-standing track record, racing six furlongs in 1:08.07.





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Thursday, July 30 2009


NO ARGUING WITH BACKTALK IN SANFORD WIN


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Of all the qualities Backtalk displayed in his rousing victory in Thursday’s 95th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, the one that impressed trainer Tom Amoss the most was his sheer determination.

“I think the ability to come from that far off the pace on a day like today when it looked, to me, as the day went on that speed was a good commodity (and) the wide trip he had … I think those things were very exciting,” said Amoss, who trains the undefeated 2-year-old son of Smarty Jones, out of the Affirmed mare Apasionata Sonata, for GoldMark Farm. “And, I would say, a will to win.”





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SMOOTHER TRIP EXPECTED FOR SEVENTH STREET IN GO FOR WAND


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When jockey Rajiv Maragh eased Seventh Street back into an ideal stalking position in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 13 at Belmont Park, he could not have expected his Godolphin Racing and Darley Stable teammates Sea Chanter and Music Note to charge up and force a furious pace.

After a withering four-way war -- that also included My Dinah -- pushed the field through six furlongs in 1:09.96, Seventh Street cleared off by a length in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile race but had little left to hold off Seattle Smooth at the finish, losing by 1¼ lengths.





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FAMILIAR FACES, AND SOME NEW ONES, IN FOURSTARDAVE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Sunday’s 25th running of the Grade 2, $150,000-added Fourstardave Handicap will bring together a diverse field of nine including accomplished older turf horses and rising younger stars.

Among the older talent entered in the 1 1/16-mile contest, to be run as Sunday’s seventh race, is Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut, a 7-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid. A two-time winner (’06 and ’07) of the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at Arlington Park, Cosmonaut finished second in the race last year. He made his most recent start in the 2009 edition on July 11, finishing third after breaking from the outside in the field of 12.





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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Thursday, July 30, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Grace Stables’ Hot Dixie Chick was in excellent shape Thursday morning after her eye-catching 6¼-length victory in the Grade 2 Schuylerville, which gave trainer Steve Asmussen and Robby Albarado their second straight win in the race.

“She’s very professional,” Asmussen said. “My filly broke alertly. She settled behind that filly and changed sides with her. It was probably the dirt where she crossed over [that made her take the awkward step], but she was immediately back on the bridle.”





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DÉJÀ VU FOR ASMUSSEN, ALBARADO IN SCHUYLERVILLE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – At first glace, the 91st running of the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes looked a lot like the 90th – a bay filly cruising to victory in the rain with familiar faces in the winner’s circle.

In the 2009 edition, Barbara Banke’s Hot Dixie Chick brought trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Robby Albarado both their second consecutive victories in the six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.





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OPENING DAY SARATOGA ATTENDANCE UP 40 PERCENT, ON-TRACK HANDLE UP NEARLY 30 PERCENT


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- On-track and all-sources handle soared over 2008 totals as Saratoga Race Course opened its 141st season of thoroughbred racing in warm, muggy conditions with intermittent showers after the sixth race.

Attendance of 25,444 was up 40.4 percent over 2008 when 18,127 braved a steady downpour.





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