What he doesn’t necessarily like are long races, and trainer Dale Romans plans to keep him focused on what he does best when he sends the 5-year-old Unbridled’s Song horse to post in Saturday’s 50th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap at nine furlongs on the turf.
Although Thorn Song ran third in the Grade 2 Fourtardave here August 3, he again distinguished himself. Beaten a length and a quarter by Red Giant to whom he conceded two pounds, Thorn Song handled a course that was listed as “yielding” after being pummeled by rains that plagued the early part of this meet.
But Thorn Song has won on yielding ground before, leading at every call to win the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill Downs on Independence Day by a length over Einstein.
“He has held his form for a long time,” said Romans, who has also entered stakes-placed closer Yate’s Black Cat in the Bernard Baruch. “It doesn’t matter what kind of turf he runs on, who rides him or what the pace is. He can do whatever you want him to do, and he has done it while facing some top horses like Kip Deville and Einstein.”
Thorn Song will get another jockey change for the Bernard Baruch, as Julien Leparoux accepts the call. Romans hopes that a good showing in the Bernard Baruch will help set up Thorn Song for his Grade 1 quests this fall.
“We’re not going to run him at a mile and a half,” Romans said. “He has always run well at Saratoga, and our plan is to get a good race from him on Saturday, and then go to the Shadwell Turf Mile (Grade 1, Keeneland, October 4) and then on to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1, $1 million, Santa Anita, October 25).”
Shadwell Stable’s Irish-bred Shakis, is entered for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. In winning the 2007 Bernard Baruch, Shakis set the Mellon Turf Course record for nine furlongs (1:45.33). The old course record was 1:45.40, set first by Tentam (August. 10, 1973) and later tied by Waya (August 21, 1978).
Gilchrist Makes Spa Return with unbeaten Indyanne in Victory Ride
In 2005, Greg Gilchrist came to Saratoga Race Course with undefeated superstar Lost in the Fog, who proceeded to give the trainer his first Grade 1 victory when he dominated the King’s Bishop.
Gilchrist is in a familiar place this weekend, as he has brought David and Jill Heerensperger’s Indyanne to the Spa. She is unbeaten in four career starts, and will put that streak on the line Saturday in the sixth running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Victory Ride for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs.
Indyanne, an Indian Charlie filly who arrived from Golden Gate Fields on Tuesday, has simply run away from her opposition so far, winning by 10 lengths, six lengths, seven lengths, and, in her most recent start, nine and a half lengths in Calder’s Grade 3 Azalea.
“She’s flat-out fast, there’s no doubt about that,” Gilchrist said. “But we don’t go into these races thinking that she has to have the lead. It has just worked out that she has out-run her competition, and we don’t want to discourage her if she is doing it willingly and easily. We’ve worked her behind horses before and I have no doubt she can rate, but rating is one thing and taking the run out of a horse is another. At Calder, she just dragged Russell (Baze, jockey) to the front when no one else wanted the lead.”
Favored in each of her races, Indyanne figures to have that same role on Saturday.
“When we first got her, we knew she was the exceptional one of the young group of horses that she came up with,” Gilchrist said. “And she has handled everything. She handled synthetic surfaces, dirt and then we hauled her to Calder and she shipped well, too. She’s a very laid-back horse. Looking at her record and how she wins her races, you would think she would be very high-strung and precocious. But she is just the opposite.”
The field for Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Drum Major George Weaver Cornelio Velasquez 115
2. Thorn Song Dale Romans Julien Leparoux 118
3. Operation Red Dawn Christophe Clement Ramon Dominguez 114
4. Elusive Fort (SAF) Raja Malek Eibar Coa 114
5. Distorted Reality Todd Pletcher John Velzquez 115
6. Shakis (IRE) Kiaran McLaughlin Alan Garcia 115
7. Proudinsky (GER) Bobby Frankel Edgar Prado 118
8. Sensational Humor Tom Bush Rajiv Maragh 113
9. Yate’s Black Cat Dale Romans Robby Albarado 115
10. War Monger Bill Mott Kent Desormeaux 115
The field for Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000-added Victory Ride:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Palanka City Barclay Tagg Eibar Coa 123
2a. Throbbin’ Heart Steve Asmussen Shaun Bridgmohan 120
3. More Happy Bob Baffert Cornelio Velasquez 120
4. Informed Decision Jonathan Sheppard John Velazquez 115
5. Indyanne Greg Gilchrist Russell Baze 123
6. Porte Bonheur David Duggan Ramon Dominguez 120
7. Sly Storm Tom Proctor Javier Castellano 120
8a. J Z Warrior Bill Mott Kent Desormeaux 120