On Saturday, August 4, the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap headlines a card that also boasts the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress. Expected for the Whitney, a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, are Grade 1 winners Flat Out, Hymn Book, Ron the Greek, along with Endorsement, Fort Larned, Hunters Bay, Rule, Successful Dan and Trickmeister. Mucho Macho Man and To Honor and Serve were listed as possible.
The Grade 1, $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, six furlongs over the main track on Sunday, August 5, has Godolphin Stable’s lightly raced Emcee probable to face Hamazing Destiny, Jersey Town, Justin Phillip, Rothko, and possibly Indiano and Sloane Ranger.
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One of the most exciting sprinters in the country, Godolphin Stable’s Emcee, is preparing for the Grade 1, $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt.
The son of Unbridled’s Song, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin has won three of five starts, with losses coming in the Grade 3 Tom Fool and Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct.
“He is doing great and pointing toward the Vanderbilt,” said McLaughlin, who has worked Emcee steadily at the Greentree Training Center, with one visit to the main track since his last start on May 5. On that day, Emcee dropped from the Carter, one of the top sprints in the country, to a $50,000 allowance optional claimer and crushed the field by 4 ½ lengths, running seven furlongs in 1:21.78.
Emcee’s most recent work came July 22, when he worked five furlongs in 59 seconds flat at Greentree.
“He’s a fast horse and a good sprinter,” McLaughlin said. “I hope I never stretch him out.”
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Sullimar Stable’s Get Stormy is bouncing back well from Monday’s bullet five-furlong Oklahoma turf workout (57.48), trainer Tom Bush said Wednesday. The multiple Grade 1-winning son of Stormy Atlantic is preparing for a start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on August 11.
“It was faster than what I wanted, but you can’t undo those things. You just have to hope that everything is good and he seemed like he came out of it fine,” Bush said. “I’d only planned on working him twice more once he got up here, so I don’t have to work him back in seven days. I can wait and come back probably in nine days. It’s workable. A lot of horses are much keener on the rail. They see it, they know it, and they’re likely to do more. That’s what he did. But, he handles turns so well that it’s easy for him to work like that.”
Get Stormy looks for his second victory in the one-mile Fourstardave, which he won in 2010 when the race was run at 1 1/16 miles. The 6-year-old skipped last year’s running with a minor tendon issue. So far this year, he is 1-1-0 from four starts, including a victory in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February. Last time out, Get Stormy was second, beaten a length, in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes.
“Hopefully we can keep him happy,” Bush said. “He’s doing plenty well enough. He’ll need to, I’m sure [the Fourstardave] is going to come up plenty deep.”
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Several leading steeplechase prospects will take the stage tomorrow in the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, the first race on the Spa’s first Steeplechase Thursday of the meet.
Favored in the 2 1/16-mile race over national fences is Baltic Shore. Second last summer in an optional allowance at the Spa, Baltic Shore comes into the Jonathan Kiser on a two-race win streak, having taken an allowance race at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on March 31 and the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase on April 28 near Charlotte, N.C.
Lake Placid, the reigning novice champion who has easily won starter allowances in his two previous starts., will be coupled in the wagering as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line with Black Quartz, who also has won his last two starts. Black Quartz registered a maiden victory at Foxfield Spring Races in Virginia on April 28 and an allowance win on May 19 at the Radnor Hunt Races in suburban Philadelphia.
Wanganui, 2011’s 3-year-old champion, is 6-1 on the morning line, having been narrowly beaten in his most recent two starts, optional allowance races at Parx Racing on June 12 and Penn National Race Course on June 30. The previous year’s 3-year-old champion, Demonstrative, 10-1 on the morning line, is trying to get his season on track after finishing sixth in Colonial Downs’ Grade 3 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial on June 2.
American Steeplechasing’s two active Racing Hall of Fame trainers will both have starters in the Kiser. Sergeant Karakorum will make his first start in the silks of Hudson River Farms for Jonathan Sheppard, who has also entered maiden winner El Season, and trainer Janet Elliot will send out Wild for Gold, who won the Parx optional allowance by a head over Wanganui on June 12.
Completing the field are Call You in Ten, Brave Prospect and En Fuego.