“Everything we’ve seen so far has been good,” said Zito, who trains Jackson Bend for his breeder, Fred Brei, and Robert V. LePenta. “Jackson has passed all the tests. Physically, he looks terrific. All our vets and everyone I work with has given us clearance and assured us he is the same Jackson.”
Winner of a second Grade 1 when he beat Caleb’s Posse and Shackleford to win the Carter Handicap in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, Jackson Bend drew post position 4 for the Forego as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. Multiple Grade 1 winner Shackleford, hero of the 2011 Preakness and the 2012 Metropolitan Handicap, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of accomplished older sprinters, including Jersey Town, Isn’t He Perfect, Pacific Ocean, Hamazing Destiny, Emcee and Caixa Eletronica.
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Saratoga’s final Friday boasts a full feature in the $100,000 Riskaverse Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, attracting 10 entrants with three on the also-eligible list and one Main Track Only. The race will be run as the eighth of nine races on the “Party at the Spa” card, with a scheduled post time of 6:22 p.m.
Trainer Chad Brown has chosen the Riskaverse to bring back Jerry Frankel’s dual Grade 3 winner Dayatthespa, sidelined since winning the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland on April 19. The daughter of City Zip easily defeated fellow New York-breds in a maiden race at the Spa last August and, after a second-place effort in Woodbine’s Grade 3 Natalma on September 17, closed out her juvenile season ninth of 14 in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Dayatthespa is undefeated in 2012, having taken the Sweet Chant and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park en route to the Appalachian.
“Dayatthespa is doing very well,” Brown said. “We ran her at Keeneland, she ran super. She came out of the race with some soreness in her hind end that just required some freshening. She stayed with me the whole time, never went to a farm or anything like that, we just backed off on her. She had three solid performances in stakes this year already, won all three of them, and really ran in all three races. She needed to be freshened up a touch, came back great, so we’ve been pointing towards this race for about a month and a half now.”
Javier Castellano will ride the 7-5 morning-line favorite from post position 4.
Siena Farms’ Alaura Michele exits a winning effort in the Nani Rose overnight stakes on July 29, her first start in nearly 10 months. Last summer the Arch filly broke her maiden and won the P.G. Johnson at the Spa, then checked in sixth over soft turf in Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Miss Grillo on October 20.
Eddie Castro has the return call from post 1 at 6-1 on the morning line.
The runner-up in the Nani Rose, Sweet and Lovely (12-1), will run back in the Riskaverse, along with the respective fourth- and fifth-place finishers from that race, Angel Terrace (15-1) and Dame Marie (20-1).
Peace Preserver, Resonating, Run a Risk, Assateague and Heart of Destiny complete the field, with Zultanite, Thunderous Lady and Ainsley rounding out the also-eligible list. And Why Not, coupled in the wagering with Assateague, may run if the Riskaverse is moved to the main track.
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Magnolia Racing Stable and Hidden Brook Farm’s Street Life, who pulled up after the wire and was vanned off after finishing last in the Grade 1 Travers, has been retired, trainer Chad Brown said Thursday morning.
The 3-year-old Street Sense colt was diagnosed as having suffered a ruptured ligament in his left front pastern, said Brown, and was resting comfortably in his stall, where he will remain indefinitely.
“The horse seems happy, stable,” said Brown of Street Life, who was the 6-1 fourth choice in the Travers after he prepped for the race with a 1 ¾-length victory in the July 27 Curlin. “[The injury] is not unprecedented, but it’s new to me; I’ve never had that happen before.”
Winner of the Broad Brush Stakes in his third start at Aqueduct Racetrack, Street Life next finished sixth in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial, third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan and fourth in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. After the Curlin, Brown believed the colt was poised to take the next step forward in his career.
“It’s very disheartening that we’re losing the horse for his career,” Brown said. “I mean, this horse, it was one thing to take a loss in the Travers, a race we thought we had a real shot to win. That’s hard enough to take; you don’t get too many cracks at the race when you really think you’re live going in the gate. Then, to not only lose the race but lose the horse for his career, a horse that I felt had an enormous amount of potential and could have gone on to accomplish great things, is harder to take.”
Street Life ran eight times in his career, won three, and earned $237,735.
“The ownership group, both the McNairs and Hidden Brook Farm, is very fond of this horse and this is a horse that will have a great, pampered life somewhere,” Brown said.
With a pair of victories on Wednesday, Brown, a native of nearby Mechanicville, N.Y., headed into today’s card trailing Todd Pletcher by six in the race for the H. Allen Jerkens training title. Watdsdachances gave Brown his 23rd victory in the P.G. Johnson in her American debut, while the claimer Gimme Credit scored another for Brown one race later.
The trainer said Irish-bred Watsdachances will likely make her next start on October 7 at Belmont Park in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo, a race Brown won in 2008 with Maram, who went on to take the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
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Racing returns to Belmont Park on Saturday, September 8, with the Grade 2, $200,000 Bowling Green Handicap the first of 21 graded stakes for the 37-day meet. Expected to line up for the 1 ¼-mile turf race are multiple graded stakes winner Air Support; Brilliant Speed, most recently third in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational; Kindergarten Kid, claimed for $50,000 by trainer Michael Maker last time out, and the Bill Mott-trained stakes winner Newsdad, fourth in the Sword Dancer. Alwaary, Center Divider, and Freud’s Honor are questionable, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.
Sunday, September 9, features a pair of races for New York-bred turf horses: the $150,000 John Hettinger for fillies and mares and the $150,000 Ashley T. Cole, both at 1 1/8 miles.
Likely for the Hettinger are longtime rivals Hessonite and Gitchee Goomie, most recently first and fourth in the Yaddo on August 17; Dreaming of Cara, fifth in the Yaddo, and Inimitable Romanee, second to Hessonite in the Irish Linnet on July 27 two starts back. Considerate and Shakeira are questionabl
Expected to head the field as he looks for a repeat victory in the Ashley T. Cole is Compliance Officer, most recently third behind Lubash in the West Point on August 16. Probable to join the West Point are runner-up Minnie Punt; fourth- and fifth-place finishers Majestic Raffy and Street Game, and recent allowance winner Hangover Kid. Ampersand and Writingonthewall are questionable.