Saratoga Race Course Notes - August 10
By NYRA Press Office | 08/10/2013 03:01 PM ET
Princess of Sylmar
Orb breezes at Fair Hill for G1 Travers, set to arrive at Saratoga on Sunday
Palace Malice, Verrazano to breeze Sunday for G1 Travers, Princess of Sylmar for G1 Alabama; Silsita heading to G2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid
Carnival Court breezes at Greentree for Alabama; Villanesca, Transparent to try Grade 1 competition
Romansh on target for G1 Travers; G2 winner Freedom Child retired
McPeek pleased with Flashy American's Alada victory; War Dancer and Java's War to breeze Sunday for Travers
Classic Point to try G1 Ballerina
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey issued an upbeat bulletin on Saturday after Kentucky Derby winner and Grade 1, $1 million Travers contender Orb breezed five furlongs in 59 1/5 seconds at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
"Everything was great this morning," said McGaughey, who trains the 3-year-old Malibu Moon colt for Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable. "I don't know how he could have done any better. The track had a little bit of water in it, which I think he probably appreciated. It was harrowed and everything. He worked great, came back great, and ate right up. We'll put him in the [hyperbaric] chamber tomorrow morning and the cold-water spa and ship him.
"They had him outside grazing and they had to bring him in," McGaughey added. "When they brought him in, they had a chain over his lip, so he was feeling some kind of good."
Orb has made two starts since his Kentucky Derby victory, finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Preakness in May and third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 8. The 1 ¼-mile Travers will be held at Saratoga Race Course on August 24.
McGaughey said Orb and stablemate Imagining will depart Fair Hill Sunday morning and arrive at Saratoga at approximately 3 p.m.
"He'll probably walk under tack Monday, then gallop, and blow out next Monday," McGaughey said.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has a trio of Grade 1 contenders scheduled to breeze Sunday morning, with Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and Grade 2 Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice and Grade 1 Haskell winner Verrazano going out at 8:45 a.m. on the main track in preparation for the Travers on August 24 and Princess of Sylmar set for a 6 a.m. work, also on the main track, for Saturday's Alabama.
"At this stage of these horses' season, having in Palace Malice's case just run a mile and a half and a mile and an eighth, with a lot of training between the Belmont and the Jim Dandy, I think we're at a point where we're just trying to keep them in peak condition," said Pletcher. "While these breezes are important, I think we have, with each of them, very fit horses. It's just a matter of trying to keep them going.
"In Verrazano's case, he ran a mile and an eighth on a very deep racetrack and handled it well," he added. "He showed he's very fit as well. So, it's just a matter of not under-doing it. They've got not only great foundations but some recency as well. Hopefully, we can just keep them as good as they are at the moment."
Princess of Sylmar, who validated her Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks win with a victory in the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks earlier in the meet, will have a maintenance half-mile work, said Pletcher.
"She's already had a run at the meet and has already had a good half-mile breeze," he said. "In her case, we're just trying to do the same thing, keep her as good as she is at the moment. Hopefully, she'll get some conditioning out of it and still leave something in the tank."
The trainer said Silsita, who was scratched from today's Auntie Mame, likely will resurface in the Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid on August 18.
"We felt the Lake Placid was coming up a reasonably good spot considering its Grade 2 status," he said. "It sounds like the Ramsey filly that won the Lake George [Kitten's Dumplings] is now going to Del Mar, and this gives us an extra eight days off her last win [July 20]. We just felt like there were more pros all the way around."
Kiaran McLaughlin knows his horses are going to be long shots in upcoming Grade 1 stakes, but that won't deter the trainer from taking shots in the Alabama with Darley Stable's/Godolphin Racing's Carnival Court, the Ballerina with Villanesca, and the Travers with Transparent.
On Saturday, Carnival Court, a neck winner of an optional claimer on July 7 at Belmont Park, breezed four furlongs over the Tapeta surface at the Greentree Training Center, her final major work before the $600,000 Alabama on August 17.
"She worked real fast last week on the main track (five furlongs in 1:00.12), so we slowed her down on purpose," said McLaughlin. "She worked in 50 3/5, which is just what we wanted. It's a tough race, but we're trying to get a piece of it. We would have worked her [on the main track] and slowed her down, but the track was muddy so we worked her back there [at Greentree]. We usually like to stay on the dirt because we're racing on it."
Carnival Court, a 3-year-old half-sister to champion Royal Delta, will be making her fourth career start in the Alabama as she attempts to emulate Questing, who won the 2012 Alabama for McLaughlin and Godolphin.
Villanesca, who earned her first black-type win in the Magnolia Jackson overnight stakes on July 5 at Belmont, will attempt to earn a Grade 1 victory or placing when she competes in the $500,000 Ballerina on August 23.
"She's already a stakes winner, so if we want to improve her value we have to get her graded stakes placed," said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin added that Transparent, who was disqualified from first and placed fifth in the $100,000 Curlin on July 26, remains on track for the Grade 1 Travers on August 24.
"We think he'll like a mile and a quarter, but Palace Malice, Orb, and Verrazano will make the Travers very, very tough," said McLaughlin.
Pleased with the progress of Romansh since his win via disqualification in the Curlin Stakes on July 26, trainer Tom Albertrani is targeting the Grade 1 Travers on August 24 for his next start.
The 3-year-old Bernardini colt finished second by two lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin to Transparent but was elevated to victory when the other half of the favored Darley Stable-owned entry was taken down for interference near the quarter pole.
Romansh breezed five furlongs in 1:02.99 on Wednesday, his first work since the Curlin. He is scheduled to breeze again on the main track next week.
"He's doing well," Albertrani said. "He had a nice work over the track here, and we're looking toward the Travers. It looks like he really made a step forward, training-wise. He looks great, he had a good work - all good signs coming out of the race. Just looking at the horse in general, I think you have to go take your chances."
The Curlin was Romansh's first race since breaking his maiden in his third start on May 25 at Belmont Park. He did not make his race debut until March 30 at Gulfstream Park.
"He had a two-month break between races, so I would expect him to make a step forward off of the race," Albertrani said. "He's only run four times. There's a lot of positive factors going into the Travers with a horse like him.
"It's a step up for him, but with his pattern and looking at his races, he's improving after every race like his father, who only ran four times before [winning] the  Preakness," he added. "He might have that same quality in him where he's peaking after his fourth or fifth race. I'm hoping to see that peak at the end of the month."
The Albertrani-trained Freedom Child, most recently last of nine in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July 27, has been retired to stud, Terry Finley, founder and president of owner West Point Thoroughbreds, confirmed Saturday. Stud plans are pending.
A 3-year-old son of Malibu Moon, Freedom Child left Albertrani's barn on Friday, the trainer said. Freedom Child had a record of 2-1-1 and purse earnings of $170,072 from eight starts, winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan by 13 ¼ lengths on May 11.
Prior to the Jim Dandy, Freedom Child ran 13th of 14 in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 8.
"He came out of the [Jim Dandy] fine," Albertrani said. "The Belmont is hard to gauge what went wrong, whether it was the distance or whatever, but his last race was really disappointing. We thought he'd run better. His Peter Pan was a very impressive race.
Trainer Ken McPeek was thrilled Saturday morning, the day after his filly Flashy American ran from last to first to win the $100,000 Alada overnight stakes under jockey Joel Rosario.
Owned by Preston Stables, the daughter of Flashy Bull ran 1 1/8 miles in the slop in 1:50.18, more than two seconds faster than Notacatbutallama ran in winning the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at the same distance one race earlier.
"It was a great race; she's as steady as she goes," McPeek said. "Solid filly, getting better."
Flashy American has won three of her past four starts, including a 5 ½-length score in the Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows with a second to Authenticity in the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap on July 20 at Saratoga. In seven lifetime two-turn races, she has five wins and a second.
"Every time I run her long, two turns on the dirt, she does everything you could ask her to do," McPeek said. "Whenever I ran her on the turf or Poly or sprinting, she didn't do anything. That's my fault."
McPeek said he would work his "war horses" - War Dancer and Java's War - at 9:30 a.m., Sunday on the Oklahoma training track in preparation for the Grade 1 Travers on August 24.
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens said Saturday he is targeting the Grade 1 Ballerina for Classic Point, who was second by a neck in her stakes debut, the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap on July 29.
The seven-furlong Ballerina for older female sprinters will be run on August 23.
"She's going to the Ballerina," Jerkens said. "We wouldn't want to find anything easy."
In the Honorable Miss, the 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Flatter led the field through a quarter-mile in 22.11 seconds, a half in 44.98 and five furlongs in 57.08, but was caught at the wire by Dance to Bristol.
"I was tickled that she was running that well," Jerkens said. "I didn't think she would make the lead like she did, because there were some pretty quick horses in there compared to what she had been running with. We thought she was good right from the start, but then she ran so badly we couldn't figure it out. Whatever it is, she's doing better now, that's for sure."
The Honorable Miss was the 17th career start and 10th this year for Classic Point, who has not had a timed workout since the race.
"We just work her fast quarters and then she kind of gallops out. She seems to stay fresher that way," Jerkens said. "We might do a little more with her being that it's a seven-furlong race. We'll see what happens. She's doing fine."