“No final decision has been made,” said Rick Mettee, North American racing manager for Godolphin. “I spoke with Saeed (bin Suroor) yesterday and faxed them the form on both races, and they are still looking. I think they want to make sure they run something. Entering (Music Note) in the Alabama and then scratching is a possibility; anything can happen after they draw.”
The last of seven fillies to win the Travers was Lady Rotha in 1915.
“Both ways, it would be interesting,” said Mettee. “They would have two chances to win the Alabama, which is obviously a classic race, while the Travers is, well, the Travers. I think the concern is the big field. If the Travers were under six or seven, they might be a little more gung-ho about it.”
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Belmont Stakes winner Da’ Tara, last in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes after a front-end speed duel with Mint Lane, remains Nick Zito’s lone definite for the Travers, although the Hall of Fame trainer said he would like to have a second starter in the August 23 race.
“We’ll work them Friday and Saturday and go from there,” said Zito. “Obviously, our main choice is Da’ Tara. I’m sure we’ll add another one to it, we’ll have to see how they work.”
Zito has four other three-year-olds nominated to the Travers: Cool Coal Man, who was third to Big Brown in the Haskell Invitational on August 3; Amped, third in an overnight stakes here at Spa on July 27; Anak Nakal, fifth in the Jim Dandy, and Coal Play, second in the Haskell.
“I have one definite and I’m working on another one,” he said. “Knock wood, my second choice, if I could have another one, would be Cool Coal Man.”
Zito said that Tracey Farmer’s seven-year-old Commentator, winner of the Grade 1 Whitney here opening weekend, was on track for the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at nine furlongs on September 20 at Suffolk Downs, and added that he is looking to send out Arthur Hancock’s seven-year-old Wanderin Boy against 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward on August 30.
“He’s got great credentials,” said Zito of Wanderin Boy, winner of an allowance at the Spa on July 28. “And he likes Saratoga.”
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Trainer Neil Howard confirmed this morning that Will Farish’s Mambo in Seattle will likely start in the Travers.
“It looks like the Travers; it’s worth going into the Travers and giving him a chance,” Howard said. “We had been talking about it since his last race and wanted to make sure everything was in good order. Mr. Farish and I both agree the horse is moving forward.”
Mambo in Seattle has won three straight races, including his most recent in the Henry Walton Stakes here at Saratoga on July 27 where he defeated You and I Forever by a neck in 1:50 4/5 for a mile and an eight. On that same day, a race later, Macho Again won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in 1:51.
“His race record speaks for itself,” Howard said. “He’s got a great demeanor and he has been training really good. Everything is falling into place. He’s got a race over the track. The timing is good between that day and the Travers.”
Last year, Howard put Grasshopper, also owned by Farish, into the Travers and he finished a game second to Street Sense. On Tuesday, Grasshopper breezed five furlongs over a sloppy Saratoga main track in 1:00.
Coming off a distant third-place finish to Commentator and Student Council in the Grade 1 Whitney on July 26, Grasshopper has been nominated for the Grade 2, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs on the turf, also on Travers Day.
Howard, however, will likely be shipping Grasshopper to Monmouth Park for Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes.
“We have discussed that possibility, but we had a late change in plans and decided to run in the Iselin,” Howard said about Grasshopper running on the turf. “We’ll probably take a shot on the turf at Belmont Park sometime in the fall. It gives us another option. He’s a smooth-moving horse. We’ll probably breeze him here on the turf course near the end of the meet and see what kind of a feeling that we can get. We want to see if it opens any other doors for him.”
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Also on Wednesday, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott sent out Travers hopeful Court Vision for a half-mile breeze of 48.10 on the “good” main track.
Trainer Steve Asmussen reported this morning that Horse of the Year Curlin, Travers candidate Pyro, Millennium Farms’ Student Council, and Zayat Stables’ J Be K are doing “super” following their workouts on Monday.
Over a muddy Oklahoma Training Track on Monday, J Be K went out after Curlin, who had handled six furlongs in 1:14 3/5. Pyro breezed six furlongs in 1:16, and Student Council went six furlongs in 1:14.46. J Be K worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5.
“Everyone is super this morning,” Asmussen said. “J Be K looked good during workout and seemed to handle the track well. He’s on schedule for the King’s Bishop.”
J Be K seeks his third straight graded stakes victory in the Grade 1, $250,000 NetJets King’s Bishop Stakes for three-year-olds at seven furlongs on August 23. J Be K has been unbeaten as a sprinter with victories in the Grade 2 Woody Stephen Stakes and the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes.
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Trainer Wesley Ward had two horses with two Hall of Fame jockeys aboard, on the main track around noon for a pair of six-furlong public workouts.
Notonthesamepage, with retired jockey Angel Cordero Jr., and Mine All Mine, with the Hall of Fame’s recently inducted Edgar Prado, worked in company.
Mine All Mine had a three-length advantage early in the workout before Notonthesamepage went past her and finished in 1:10 1/5. Mine All Mine, who was originally scratched from the Grade 3 Schuylerville on Opening Day to win a maiden race on the next day, finished in 1:11 2/5.
Notonthesamepage, coming off a second-place finish in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth, is eligible for the Grade 1, $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes for two-year-olds on Saratoga’s Closing Day on September 1. Mine All Mine is eligible for the Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway Stakes for two-year-old fillies on August 31.