Tuesday, August 04 2009


ENCOURAGING START FOR SPA MEET: ATTENDANCE JUMPS 13.5 PERCENT; ON-TRACK HANDLE UP FIVE PERCENT


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Attendance is up 13.5 percent, on-track handle up 5.0 percent, and all-sources handle fractionally up 1.1 percent from 2008 totals through Week One of the 2009 Saratoga Race Course Meet.

· Attendance for the first six days of the 2009 meet was 142,519 up from 125,617 for a daily average of 23,753 compared to 20,936 in 2008. (*See NOTE on attendance below.)





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Sunday, August 02 2009


SEVENTH STREET SPLASHES TO VICTORY IN THE GO FOR WAND


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Godolphin Stable’s Seventh Street set up in a perfect stalking position off longshot Color Me Up and then ran down Spritely in the stretch during a summer downpour to win the 56th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Go For Wand Handicap on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.

Except for a sharp drift wide in the first turn, Seventh Street did little wrong in the 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares named for the ill-fated star that won the Test and Alabama in 1990.





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JUSTENUFF HUMOR MAKES IT FIVE IN FOURSTARDAVE


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Darley Stable’s Justenuffhumor proved again Sunday that his “knucklehead” ways are no impediment to victory when he surged late and drew off to win the 25th running of the Grade 2, $150,000-added Fourstardave Handicap by 2½ lengths.

After rearing in the gate, Justenuffhumor, ridden by Alan Garcia, sat well off early fractions of 23.91 and 47.63 set by favored Cowboy Cal, then powered through in the stretch to hit the wire in 1:42.83 over turf listed as good. The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor has now racked up five straight victories, with the Fourstardave his first in a stakes race.





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SARATOGA RACE COURSE NOTES: Sunday, August 2, 2009


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Stonestreet Stables and Gulf Coast Farms’ Kensei, who powered home to a 2¼-length victory over Warrior’s Reward in the Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy came out of the race in good shape, according to trainer Steven Asmussen’s assistant Larry Ulrich.

In his first start around two turns, Kensei stalked Warrior’s Reward through six furlongs in 1:11.55 and then surged away from the field in the stretch.





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MINE THAT BIRD TO ARRIVE AT SARATOGA MONDAY


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is scheduled to arrive at Saratoga Race Course late Monday morning to begin preparations for the Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers on Saturday, August 29.

The 3-year-old Birdstone gelding ran third by 1-3/4 lengths as the second betting choice in yesterday’s Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby contested over 1-1/8 miles at Mountaineer Racetrack.





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KENSEI TAKES JIM DANDY TO CAP GREAT DAY FOR ASMUSSEN


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In the span of a few minutes on Saturday afternoon, trainer Steve Asmussen beat the Kentucky Derby winner in one state and unleashed a budding superstar in another.

Moments after Soul Warrior upended Big Drama and Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby, Asmussen saddled Stonestreet Stable and Gulf Coast Farms’ up-and-coming Kensei to a sparkling 2¼-length victory over Warrior’s Reward and Charitable Man to win the 46th edition of the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.





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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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