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Edited NYRA Staff Release – LBD Stable, Manganaro Bloodstock and David Ingordo’s dual Grade 1-placed Tarabi scored her first stakes victory in Thursday’s $135,000 Wilton and will now turn her focus back to Grade 1 company once again for the $500,000 Longines Test on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Cherie DeVaux, the daughter of First Samurai made her second start since finishing a game third behind Champion 2-Year-Old Echo Zulu in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Del Mar. She arrived from a runner-up finish in an optional claimer on June 18 at Churchill Downs and improved to secure the one-mile Wilton by three-quarters of a length over Goddess of Fire in a final time of 1:38.53.

DeVaux said she is pleased to start the Saratoga meet on a high note.

“So far, so good,” DeVaux said of how the bay filly came back from the effort. “Any win is special, so it being a stakes makes it extra special.”

Tarabi has shown steady improvement throughout her five lifetime outings, never finishing off-the-board and amassing over $370,000 in earnings. DeVaux said her race at Churchill helped set her up for stakes success.

“She was training really well. She came out of her race at Churchill in really good order and got what she needed out of that, which was some fitness and getting the rust off of her from the layoff,” said DeVaux. “She moved forward, and that’s what we were hoping for. She’s an improving horse and each start she takes a step forward. She’s been pretty consistent.”

The Wilton was Tarabi’s second time over the Saratoga main track, the first being a runner-up effort to Echo Zulu in the Grade 1 Spinaway last year.

DeVaux said the seven-furlong Grade 1, Longines Test will be next for Tarabi, where she will likely encounter the talented Grade 1 Acorn winner Matareya.

“We’re going to point her towards the Test,” DeVaux said. “She likes the track and she’s had two very nice races over it. Matareya is an accomplished filly and is one of the top horses in the division, so Tarabi has to be just as good or better to be running there. [The Wilton] gives us confidence.”

The Wilton was the second Saratoga stakes win for DeVaux, who captured last year’s Shine Again with Bayerness for owner Belladonna Racing. A 5-year-old daughter of Bayern, Bayerness was last seen finishing an even fifth behind Lady Rocket in the Grade 3 Chicago on June 25 at Churchill. She won the Roxelana on April 30 in her first start since her one-length Shine Again coup last August.

“She’s a filly that sometimes gets a bit muscle sore, so we stopped to let her heal herself and brought her back,” DeVaux said of the eight-month respite.

It is possible Baynerness could make a return appearance at Saratoga this summer, but DeVaux said she will need some time to figure out what’s next for her.

“I’m not sure. We ran her at Churchill and she was quite disappointing. There was no excuse for it, so we’ll have to weigh our options with her,” said DeVaux. “If she’s training really well, we could point her for something up here, but we’ll just take it week by week with her right now.”

Secret Oath breezes for G1 CCA Oaks

Briland Farm’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner Secret Oath worked five-eighths in 1:00.01 Friday morning over the Oklahoma dirt training track in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies on July 23 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Secret Oath, with Luis Saez up, entered the track at 5:30 a.m. on a cool, foggy morning and enjoyed a good run to the pole while being captured by NYRA Clockers through splits of 23.60 and 35.80 for the five-furlong breeze. She galloped out in 1:14.

“I was real pleased with her,” Lukas said. “It was an excellent work. Luis was real pleased with it, too. I couldn’t have asked for a prettier work. She got a tremendous run into it. I wanted her to get a good run at the pole, so she worked probably five and a half furlongs.”

The Arrogate chestnut enjoyed a three-race win streak over the winter at Oaklawn Park, taking an allowance in December, the Martha Washington in January and the Grade 3 Honeybee in February. Secret Oath took on the boys in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April at Oaklawn and finished a game third after a troubled trip.

Saez picked up the mount for the Kentucky Oaks and the filly dazzled with a two-length score over likely CCA Oaks-rival Nest. Last out, Secret Oath took on males again in the Grade 1 Preakness and finished a troubled fourth after a wide trip in which she checked sharply.

Secret Oath is out of the multiple graded-stakes placed Quiet American mare Absinthe Minded, who ran sixth in the 2010 CCA Oaks.

While Secret Oath’s breeze was picture-perfect, stablemate Ethereal Road had a more unorthodox effort Friday morning in preparation for the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, a nine-furlong test for sophomores on July 30.

The Quality Road bay, with Saez up, went to the Oklahoma dirt training track in company with unraced 2-year-old Major Blue. The two colts started their five-furlong breeze down the backstretch and disappeared into the fog through the turn with only Major Blue emerging down the straight, completing his work in 1:03.34.

Lukas said Ethereal Road saw something through the turn and bolted, causing Saez to pull the bay up.

“When he got to the fog, Luis said he went to the outside fence on him, so he pulled him up. He’s fine and jogged back good,” Lukas said. “He can pull that kind of stuff. He’s got a bit of an attitude. He got maybe three-eighths, so I’ll give him a few days and take him back over there. We’re still pointing for the Jim Dandy.”

Ethereal Road finished a close second to Un Ojo in the Grade 2 Rebel in February at Oaklawn ahead of two starts at Keeneland, finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Blue Grass on April 9 and fourth in the Grade 3 Lexington one week later.

He became a part of Kentucky Derby lore as the horse that scratched from the “Run for the Roses” that allowed 80-1 upset winner Rich Strike to make the field. Ethereal Road rallied to an emphatic 4 3/4-length score in the Sir Barton on May 21 at Pimlico and came back one month later to finish a non-threatening sixth in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.

BC Stables’ Summer Promise, an impressive maiden winner on June 25 at Churchill Downs, finished a prominent second in Opening Day’s Grade 3 Schuylerville. The dark bay filly exited the outermost post 7 under Saez and tracked the speed of Musicmansandy before battling down the lane with the victorious Just Cindy, who prevailed by 2 1/4-lengths.

“I underestimated how deep the track was,” said Lukas. “We’ve been running on that Churchill surface and its quick and glib. When I sat there through the first eight races yesterday, I thought we’re in trouble here. I was worried I didn’t have her tight enough and I was right. She ran a really nice 5 1/2-furlongs, but the six was more than she was ready for.”

The dark bay daughter of Uncle Mo was purchased for $500,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Out of Grade 1-winning millionaire Dream of Summer, Summer Promise is a half-sister to Grade 1-winners Creative Cause and Vexatious.

Lukas said he expects a stronger performance next out, which could come in the Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway on September 4.

“She’ll be tighter the next time. I want a rematch,” Lukas said.

Golden Pal breezes for G3 Troy

Speedy turf sprinter Golden Pal was back to serious business on Friday morning at Saratoga Race Course, breezing five-eighths in 59.72 seconds over the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for the Grade 3, $300,000 Troy, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older horses on August 5.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Golden Pal breezed in company with stakes-winner Overbore, and recorded his first move since racing last-of-16 in the Group 1 Kings Stand on June 14 at Royal Ascot.

A stakes winner the past two summers at Saratoga, Golden Pal broke his maiden in the 2020 Skidmore by 3 1/2 lengths as a 2-year-old en route to a score in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Last year, he made a triumphant sophomore debut with a three-length win in the Grade 3 Quick Call, three starts before capturing the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar.

The son of Uncle Mo logged a career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure in his triumphant 2022 debut in the Grade 2 Shakertown on April 9 at Keeneland.

“Very nice,” Ward said of the work. “It was his first work since Ascot so we’re excited. We’ll have two more and then we’re in the Troy.”

Golden Pal, owned by the Coolmore conglomerate of Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Westerberg, is out of the 11-time stakes-winning turf sprinter Lady Shipman, who captured Saratoga’s Coronation Cup and Smart N Fancy in 2015.

Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was aboard Golden Pal for the work as well as his past three starts, will retain the mount for the Troy.

Rebecca Hillen’s Asymmetric will look to give Ward a second straight Quick Call conquest on Sunday following a runner-up effort as the pacesetter in the Paradise Creek on May 29 at Belmont Park. The Showcasing colt sported blinkers for his North American debut, opening up a six-length lead before settling for runner-up honors to returning rival Big Invasion.

A Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed as a juvenile when racing for Alan King in Europe, Ward called the effort “uncharacteristic” and will remove the blinkers for Sunday’s engagement, where he will be piloted by veteran Irish jockey Jamie Spencer.

“He had been breezing from behind horses at Keeneland and Churchill on the grass. We were looking to do similar to that last time, but when the gates opened, it didn’t work out that way,” Ward said. “He’s going to come from a little behind. We’re trying to get his running style similar to what he was over in Europe. That’s why he’s got the addition of Jamie Spencer. He’s going to sit back and come with a run.”

Ward also reported that Qatar Racing Limited, Marc Detampel and Bottle Rocket Stable’s Nakatomi is under consideration for the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam on July 31 at Saratoga. Third in last year’s Grade 3 Saratoga Special, the son of Firing Line captured the Bowman Mill in October at Keeneland before winning off an eight-month layoff in a June 26 allowance optional claimer going 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs.

“It was a big run,” Ward said. “Kind of hopped at the start, spotted them a couple and then he sat back, had to go wide and still won.”

Ward got his 2022 Saratoga meet started off right when saddling CJ Thoroughbreds’ Half a Chance to victory in the first maiden special weight for 2-year-olds at the meet.

“It’s always good to get a good start and then you can carry the momentum,” Ward said.

Ward said he was unsure as to where Half a Chance, a daughter of Flatter, would race next.

“She got a 79 Beyer so that was a nice figure, we’ll see how the rest of the numbers come back,” Ward said. “We’ll talk it over with [owner] Corey Johnsen and his team. We had talked about it going into this race, but we might want to give her a little more time being as she’s had two starts now. I don’t like to over race 2-year-olds too much so we’ll see where we’re at. She came back great and we’re happy to have a winner on Opening Day at Saratoga.”

The winning effort from Half a Chance followed a pacesetting second to Kerry in a turf maiden at Belmont.

“I think she just got beat on the square,” Ward said of Half a Chance’s debut. “She broke good with Johnny [Velazquez], zipped out to the front and a better horse beat us that day, but it set us up nice for here. Johnny was upset he got beat at Belmont and I told him, ‘We’ll win at Saratoga.’”

Spirit And Glory works for G3 Lake George; Kept Waiting to target G3 Caress

Spirit And Glory, trained and co-owned by Robert Falcone, Jr. with Michael Nentwig, John Rochfort and Beast Mode Racing, breezed over the Oklahoma training turf Friday in preparation for the Grade 3, $175,000 Lake George, a one-mile turf test for sophomore fillies on July 22.

With Dylan Davis up, the Irish-bred daughter of Cotai Glory worked five-eighths in 1:02.10 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.79. It was the second work back for Spirit And Glory following her visually-impressive last-to-first rush to win her stateside debut in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claimer on June 16 at Belmont.

“Everything went good. Dylan said she was doing it easily,” Falcone, Jr. said. “She’s a nice filly. She has a good presence for a 3-year-old filly and she really loves to train. She loves to run, really. We always liked her and she won well her first time, which was big. She came out of the race good and worked well here, so we’ll take a shot at the Lake George.”

Spirit and Glory shied away after exiting the outermost post 8 under Davis at Belmont when two horses to her inside broke outward. Although she spotted the field several lengths, Spirit And Glory closed into soft splits with a flourish to post a half-length score over the Christophe Clement-conditioned Canisy, who exited that effort to wire an optional-claimer on Opening Day at Saratoga in impressive fashion.

“I didn’t expect her to break the way she did and then for them to walk around the track and her to come widest of everybody and still run them all down was impressive,” Falcone, Jr. said. “Christophe’s filly seems to be nice and won well yesterday and that flatters her form a bit, too.”

Spirit And Glory launched her career in Ireland for conditioner Mick Mulvany, breaking her maiden in January over the Dundalk synthetic. Falcone, Jr. said he’s been impressed with how the filly has adapted to life in New York.

“We’ve always liked her and she loves to train,” Falcone, Jr. said. “When I asked Dylan this morning if she was tired, he said, ‘Definitely not. If I didn’t pull her up, she’d go around again.'”

Falcone, Jr. could also be represented in stakes action next weekend by graded-stakes placed Kept Waiting in the Grade 3, $200,000 Caress, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares on July 23.

The 5-year-old New York-bred daughter of Broken Vow won three straight races over the winter at the Big A, culminating in a win in the six-furlong Broadway which was contested over a sloppy and sealed main track.

Owned by Sanford J. Goldfarb, Irwin Goldfarb and Nice Guys Stables, the versatile bay, a three-time winner on turf, was second in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap in April to the Charlie Baker-trained Glass Ceiling. She was last seen finishing third in the six-furlong Dancin Renee on June 26 at Belmont.

“She had such good form in the winter at Aqueduct, but I think she’s better on grass,” Falcone, Jr. said. “It can be tough on this track running 5 1/2-furlongs. They can really fly early and sometimes they just don’t back up. She likes to sit right off, so we’ll see what happens.”

Falcone, Jr. said John Grossi’s Racing Corp.’s Empty Tomb is back with his barn following his off-the-board effort in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January at Gulfstream Park.

The 6-year-old Speightstown chestnut had a strong winter campaign at the Big A, posting a 98 Beyer for an optional-claiming score in November ahead of a runner-up effort one month later in the Queens County.

“He just came back in a couple days ago, but he won’t be running at this meet,” Falcone, Jr. said.

Falcone, Jr. is in the midst of his ninth meet at Saratoga. The multiple graded-stakes winning conditioner has won at least one race per meet in each of those years, with the exception of 2017 when he had one second and three thirds from 11 starters.

“When I first came up here, I had three horses and now I have 30,” Falcone, Jr. said. “Hopefully, we have a good meet. The barn has grown and the more you run the more people see your name. Hopefully, it continues to bring better horses to the stable.”


Valenzan Day preps for G3 Sanford; Apple Picker may target G1 Spinaway

Celeritas Racing and trainer Rudy Rodriguez’s Valenzan Day breezed three-eighths in 38.45 seconds Thursday morning over the Saratoga Race Course main track in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Sanford, a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds.

Following a debut win at Belmont Park in a maiden special weight on May 12, Valenzan Day went on to finish a respectable third in the listed Tremont at Belmont Park on June 9. Both the winner and runner-up from that race will not be in the starting gate on Saturday for the Sanford.

“We’re just trying to keep the horse happy and have him moving along,” said Rodriguez.

The son of Khozan, listed at 6-1 on the morning line, will break from the outermost post 12 on Saturday with pilot Joel Rosario aboard.

Michael Dubb’s Apple Picker breezed a half-mile over Saratoga’s main track on Thursday, posting a time of 48.88 as she prepares for a summer with bigger expectations after an impressive debut victory.  

The daughter of Connect took a field of seven juvenile fillies wire-to-wire on July 2 at Belmont under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Rodriguez hasn’t decided on a next start, but said the seven-furlong Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway on September 4 at The Spa is under consideration.

“Not sure yet. There are some races coming up so I’m going to take a look and see what we look like, but we could point her for the Spinaway,” Rodriguez said.

Michael Imperio, Medallion Racing, Sofia Soares, Vincent Scuderi and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Grade 1-winner Bella Sofia is scheduled to breeze over the Saratoga main track on Saturday in preparation for a possible start in the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap on July 27. The 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Patriot went 2-for-2 at Belmont to start her 2022 season, notching victories in the Grade 3 Vagrancy and the Grade 2 Bed o’ Roses.

Michael Dubb and Michael J Caruso’s Hot Peppers arrived at Saratoga on Thursday from Belmont. The daughter of Khozan enters Saratoga off back-to-back stakes wins at Belmont in the Jersey Girl and Grade 3 Victory Ride, where she scored the first graded victory of her career.

King Fury preps for Alydar; Envoutante trains up to Summer Colony; Tiz the Bomb and Classic Causeway possible for G1 Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational

Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s King Fury breezed a half-mile solo in 50.23 seconds under jockey Julien Leparoux over the Oklahoma dirt training track on Friday. NYRA clockers caught King Fury through splits of 12.60, 25.20, and out in 1:00.80.

The 4-year-old Curlin colt’s lone start this year came with a distant eighth in the Kentucky Cup Classic on April 2 at Turfway Park. King Fury, fifth in last year’s Grade 1 Runhappy Travers, has been training at Saratoga all month in preparation for a rebound start in the $135,000 Alydar, a restricted race for older horses to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Saratoga’s main track August 4.

“It was nice maintenance work to bring him together as we head towards the Alydar,” said McPeek.

McPeek added that he is unsure if the Alydar will be used as a stepping stone to something else later in the Saratoga meeting.

Also on the Friday work tab for McPeek was Walking L Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Envoutante, who breezed three-eighths in 37 flat under jockey Dylan Davis over the Oklahoma dirt training track. NYRA clockers caught her through an opening fraction of 13.40 and out in 49.60. 

The 5-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo has made one outing at Saratoga, posting a fourth-place effort in the 2020 Grade 1 Alabama that was won by stablemate and eventual Grade 1 Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver.

McPeek said Envoutante is likely to target the restricted nine-furlong $135,000 Summer Colony on August 19.

“She’s a little bit further behind. I’ll probably look towards the Summer Colony since it’s not until mid-August,” McPeek said.

Envoutatne’s lone start of the 2022 season came in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile in March where she finished last-of-4 behind the victorious multiple graded stakes winner As Time Goes By. She won the Grade 2 Falls City last year by six lengths, besting multiple graded stakes-winners Bonny South and Army Wife.

Kentucky West Racing and Clarke M. Cooper’s Classic Causeway continues to gallop after pulling off a huge upset at odds of 26-1 in the Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby at Belmont Park July 9. The 3-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway will look to continue his Caesars Turf Triple success in the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 6.

“He’s doing super. We just have him galloping for now,” McPeek said.

Classic Causeway took the field of 12 wire-to-wire to capture Grade 1 glory and is now 2-1-0-1 since being transferred to McPeek’s barn following an 11th-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. He finished third in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown just two weeks before his Belmont Derby score.

Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb, who finished ninth behind Classic Causway in the Belmont Derby, could make his next outing in either the Saratoga Derby or the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on August 5.

Tiz the Bomb has proven to be a competitive horse on turf. As a 2-year-old, he finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he made a terrific stretch run but could not pass the Godolphin-owned and Charlie Appleby-trained Modern Games.


Delacour leaning towards G3 Lake George with Koala Princess

Stakes winner Koala Princess is under strong consideration to make her 3-year-old debut in the Grade 3, $175,000 Lake George on July 22 at Saratoga Race Course.

Owned by Runnymeade Farm, Peter Callahan, Chris Zinkhan, and John C. Oxley, Koala Princess has not raced since finishing seventh as the lukewarm favorite in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Del Mar. She previously broke her maiden on debut at Monmouth before defeating stakes winners Mystic Eyes and Poppy Flower (both entered in Friday’s Coronation Cup) in the 6 1/2-furlong Ainsworth in September at Kentucky Downs.

While encouraged by the Breeders’ Cup effort, trainer Arnaud Delacour said he was hoping for a closer trip.

“I thought that she was going to be a little more forwardly placed. The trip didn’t really pan out the way we wanted,” Delacour said. “In the meantime, we were next to the winner [Pizza Bianca] around the quarter pole turning for home. The winner had a great trip on the inside, we had to go a little wide. We got beat only a few lengths. It wasn’t a bad effort, it’s just that I thought she could have been a little bit closer and used her tactical speed a bit more.”

Delacour added that Recinto Rompere, a seven-length winner on debut at Monmouth Park, could ship to Saratoga for the $150,000 Bolton Landing on August 21.

“She ran big and she tried really hard,” Delacour said. “I don’t want to run her right away. There is a stakes at Monmouth coming back in two weeks, but I thought she deserved a little bit more time. The Bolton Landing could be good timing for her.”

Owned by Michael Lewis, Recinto Rompere is by Karakontie and out of the More Than Ready mare Starlight Tiara. She was bought for $95,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.  


Stunning Princess targets Fasig-Tipton De La Rose; Tax victorious after 532-day layoff

Trainer Danny Gargan has seen Stunning Princess run into some serious contenders in her last two outings, finishing third behind undefeated Grade 1-winner Bleecker Street in the Grade 3 Endeavour on February 5 at Tampa Bay Downs and Grade 2-winner Crystal Cliffs last-out in the Sand Springs on April 2 at Gulfstream Park.

Gargan said he is hoping a start in the restricted $135,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose on August 7 will allow the daughter of Cairo Prince to visit winner’s circle for the first time since December.

“I think the De La Rose is a good spot. She’s doing really well and getting a stakes win for her would be really nice,” Gargan said. “We’re looking forward to getting a race into her. I freshen all my horses for Saratoga and we don’t push hard at Belmont. You have to come up here and be ready.”

Stunning Princess, who is owned by R.A. Hill Stable and Brereton Jones, was admirable in defeat two starts back to the Chad Brown-trained Bleecker Street, who has proven to be the top contender in her division with a victory in the Grade 1 New York on June 10 at Belmont.

“Some good horses beat her in her last couple of races,” said Gargan. “When we went to Tampa, that filly of Chad’s impressed me and showed she’s a freak.”

A $95,000 purchase at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Stunning Princess finished second to graded stakes-winner Plum Ali on debut in July 2020 at the Spa before subsequently graduating a fifth asking over firm Gulfstream turf last March. She earned her first stakes placing when defeated just a half-length in the Tropical Park Oaks in December at Gulfstream.

It was a long road to a comeback for 2019 Grade 2 Jim Dandy-winner Tax, but Gargan’s patience was rewarded when the 6-year-old fan favorite returned after 532 days away from the races to post a two-length score in the Battery Park on July 9 at Delaware Park.

A dark bay Arch gelding, Tax had not raced since a distant 10th in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January 2021. He had been working steadily at Saratoga throughout the spring after recovering from a surgery on his sesamoid.

Gargan said he was proud of Tax’s return front-running victory, which garnered a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He’s the barn favorite and he’s our baby. It took a lot of patience. To run a 98 Beyer after 532 days is impressive,” said Gargan. “We’ll try to figure out where to run him next. I’ve always wanted to run him on the grass, so there’s a big chance for that. I’ll start looking for something here in a week or so.” 

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