That is why it surprised trainer Kiaran McLaughlin when a state-bred race at Saratoga he had pointed for did not go, and he was forced to send Rereadthefootnotes to Monmouth Park for the Grade 3 Sapling.
“It’s not unusual for an `a other than’ not to go and you have to step your horse up in company,” McLaughlin said. “But this was a $100,000 race, so it was really surprising that it didn’t go. Rereadthefootnotes was ready to run, so I had no choice but to run him at Monmouth.”
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Rereadthefootnotes was impressive in his racing debut at Saratoga on August 3, leading all the way for a 2 ¼-length victory at five and a half furlongs.
Then came the six-furlong Sapling, and Rereadthefootnotes turned in a solid performance.
“He actually broke a little slow,” McLaughlin said. “But he got back into the race and ran pretty well. I think he is going to run a big race on Sunday.”
Back in with state-breds, Rereadthefootnotes will also be reunited with jockey Alan Garcia in the Bertram F. Bongard.
Another moving back from open company to facing state-breds is Donnie Kelly’s Remarkable Storm, and if you listen to trainer Jamie Sanders, the Bertram F. Bongard just might be the coming out party for this Stormy Atlantic colt.
“We have always thought very highly of him,” said Sanders of Remarkable Storm, who is owned by her fiancé, Donnie Kelly. “He had trouble in his first two races against open company at Churchill. He didn’t break in his first race and then he checked a few times. The third time we ran him was at Saratoga, and he ran into Cribnote, who ran second in the Hopeful. Then he won his race, and he seemed like he was finally getting it together.”
Remarkable Storm was then entered in the With Anticipation at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass at Saratoga on August 29 and finished last.
“To us, that race is a throwout,” said Sanders, a former jockey who also was an exercise rider for several trainers, including Hall of Famer Nick Zito. “He was going long for the first time, and he was pretty rank early. We tried the turf because he had trained at Keeneland and really loved the Polytrack. Plus, he has Marquetry on his bottom side; in fact, his half-sister, Remarkable Remy, is stakes-placed on the grass in NewYork.”
Remarkable Remy also won the Caveat Competor on August 31 and was one of seven consecutive winners saddled at Saratoga Race Course by trainer John Kimmel. Sanders believes Remarkable Storm is also capable of major accomplishments.
“We still think this horse is something special,” Sanders said. “We nominated him to the Futurity at Belmont, but decided to take advantage of the New York program and run him here. If he runs well, we can always run him back on New York Showcase Day (October 18). I know this horse will stretch out and I believe he can handle dirt, turf or Polytrack. Right now, he hasn’t made up his mind to be a racehorse. He is still playing around, but I think he is coming along. He has a lot of talent, and we are certain he will show that one day very soon.”
Also on the card is the filly counterpart to the Bertram F. Bongard, the $100,000-added Joseph A. Gimma for state-bred juvenile fillies at seven furlongs.
Obviously NY Stable’s Mother Russia is the obvious choice here, having won both of her career starts, including the Lady Finger at Finger Lakes on September 1. A daughter of Mayakowsky, Mother Russia is trained by Linda Rice and will carry high weight of 122 pounds in the Joseph A. Gimma.
The first race on Sunday’s 10-race card will be the Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory Steeplechase, where Good Night Shirt’s journey to a second Eclipse Award resumes. The son of Concern won the inaugural running of the 2½-mile stakes in 2007 en route to year-end honors and returns from his customary summer vacation as the horse to beat.
Last year’s Lonesome Glory proved a validation of sorts for Good Night Shirt. The Jack Fisher-trainee entered on the heels of an upset win in the Grade 1 Iroquois looking to prove his Nashville win was no fluke. A year later, the reigning champion enters at the top of the sport, climbing up the all-time leader board and aiming for his fourth consecutive Grade 1 triumph and sixth overall.
Good Night Shirt won his first stakes, the Grade 3 Zeke Ferguson, in 2006 but truly arrived on the scene in April 2007 when he was second by a neck in the Grade 1 Royal Chase at Keeneland. He followed that effort with a 5 ¼-length tour-de-force in the Iroquois over big guns McDynamo and Sur La Tete. After a summer respite he took the Lonesome Glory, finished fourth in the Grand National, then cemented his championship with another win over McDynamo in the Colonial Cup.
Though Fisher chose to start Good Night Shirt’s 7-year-old campaign this April in the Grade 1 Georgia Cup -- a race he won by a resurgent length and a half -- the trainer has followed a familiar path in 2008. Good Night Shirt again took home the Iroquois, this time in a polished and professional effort under regular rider Willie Dowling, and again headed to the sidelines for some rest and relaxation shortly thereafter.
Fisher recently installed a Polytrack training surface at his Butler, Md., farm and Good Night Shirt has trained there in preparation for his first start in more than four months. Fisher sees little change from the horse he brought to Belmont last year.
Nothing’s different,” Fisher said. “He’s the same horse, or at least I think he’s the same horse as last year. Everything’s gone pretty much the same. Last year, the ground was hard so I was going to Fair Hill (Training Center) a lot. This year, I have the track and the ground has been better lately, but he likes anything. I could have put in a glass track and he would have been happy.”
The field for Sunday’s Bertram F. Bongard:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Remarkable Storm Jamie Sanders Kent Desormeaux 117
2. Tall Poppi Barclay Tagg Eibar Coa 117
3. Rereadthefootnotes Kiaran McLaughlin John Velazquez 117
4. Uncle T. Seven John Morrison Javier Castellano 117
5. Trinity Magic Steve Asmussen Shaun Bridgmohan 112
6. Doughdaddy John Kimmel Edgar Prado 115
The field for Sunday’s Joseph A. Gimma:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Sneakin Joseph Pierce Jr. Carlos Marquez Jr. 115
2. Mother Russia Linda Rice Mike Luzzi 122
3. Akilina Christophe Clement Rajiv Maragh 117
4. Ouchy Night Tom Bush Edgar Prado 117
5. Mona from Deltona Richard Violette Jr. Eibar Coa 115
6. Seek On William Badgett Cornelio Velasquez 117
7. Stunning Electra Steve Asmussen Shaun Bridgmohan 117
8. Fabulous Florence Marialice Coffey Channing Hill 115
9. Crafty Shocked Ralph D’Alessandro Jorge Chavez 117
10. Gem for Hook John Kimmel Kent Desormeaux 117
11. Sapphire Sky Rafael Rohena Sr. John Velazquez 117
The field for Sunday’s Grade 1 Lonesome Glory ‘Chase (re-drawn):
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Dalucci Charlie Swan David Casey 138
2.a Sermon of Love Jonathan Sheppard Danielle Hodsdon 138
3. Best Attack Bruce Miller Paddy Young 146
4. Duke of Earl Jack Fisher Xavier Aizpuru 138
5. Red Letter Day Janet Elliot Robbie Walsh 138
6. Dark Equation Paul Fout Matt McCarron 154
7.a Mon Villez Bruce Miller Jody Petty 146
8. Good Night Shirt Jack Fisher Willie Dowling 158
a-Sermon of Love and Mon Ville are coupled.