Saratoga Race Course Notes - July 26
By NYRA Press Office | 07/26/2013 03:08 PM ET
Successful Dan works toward possible start in G1 Whitney; Turallure bound for G2 Bernard Baruch
Lukas taking his time with 2-year-olds
Flying Bird supplemented to Sunday's Sir Cat
Central Banker exits Smirnoff Sorbet Quick Call in good order
Following his second straight bullet work at Saratoga Race Course, Successful Dan could make his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 3.
The 7-year-old Successful Appeal gelding breezed five furlongs in 1:00.16 over the main track on Friday morning, much to the delight of trainer Charles LoPresti.
"He worked really good and galloped out real strong," LoPresti said of Successful Dan, whose time was the fastest of 28 horses at the distance. "We're real happy with him. He did everything I wanted him to do and more. I was real happy with what I saw.
"If we decide to run in the Whitney, that'll be his last work. I am very much leaning in that direction. It's going to be a day-by-day thing. I want to see how he acts all week, but I'm leaning in that direction."
LoPresti had targeted the Whitney last summer for Successful Dan, a Morton Fink homebred who missed the race - and the rest of the year - with a minor injury. He worked five-eighths in 1:00.61 on July 20.
"He strained a ligament, so we had to stop on him," LoPresti said. "He didn't tear it; it was a strain. We probably could have run in the race, but I might have risked it [being worse]."
A winner of eight of 13 career starts and $773,154, Successful Dan made a triumphant return to the races in April at Keeneland, going gate-to-wire to take the Grade 3 Ben Ali by a length over Boisterous.
Most recently, Successful Dan was fourth, beaten 15 lengths after encountering some traffic trouble in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster one June 15 at Churchill Downs.
"His first race back was super," LoPresti said. "He ran against Boisterous and Boisterous has come back and won two graded stakes, so that makes me feel good. I just draw a line through the Stephen Foster. If he runs like that again, he's an older horse and maybe he's lost a step, but I still don't see that yet."
Also probable for the Whitney are Alpha, Cross Traffic, Mucho Macho Man, and defending champion Fort Larned.
LoPresti will breeze Wise Dan on the Oklahoma training track turf Saturday morning at 9:45, as the 2012 Horse of the Year continues to work toward his next scheduled start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on August 10.
"He'll be the only horse over there on the turf," LoPresti said. "They're letting him work by himself. There's so many horses over there, and I don't want to risk it if a horse gets loose or something. I don't want anything to go wrong. They were really nice about letting me work over there.
"He's coming off three races and I don't want to kill him, but he's a fast work horse anyway, so he's going to work good," he added. "I know he will. That's why I don't work him often. The horse is dead fit."
LoPresti also said that Turallure, second by a head to Seal Cove in a one-mile optional claiming allowance at Saratoga on Wednesday, likely will come back in the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on August 31.
The 6-year-old Turallure won the Bernard Baruch in 2011 for LoPresti and owner Donna Arnold.
"He had to run that kind of race to redeem himself," LoPresti said of Wednesday's effort. "That was an allowance race, but it was really [like] a stakes race. I was tickled with him. He earned a trip to the Bernard Baruch. That's my plan with him. As long as he's good, and I think he is, he'll run back in there."
On Saturday, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will unveil Vigorish, a 2-year-old maiden with strong Saratoga connections.
The Calumet Farm-owned son of English Channel is out of the mare Golden Attraction, who as a 2-year-old in 1995 won the Grade 2 Schuylerville and the Grade 1 Spinaway at the Spa, along with the Grade 1 Matron and Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park on her way to being named champion in her division.
Golden Attraction was out of another Lukas star, Seaside Attraction, who upset Go for Wand in the 1990 Kentucky Oaks.
"She was a good one for me, beautiful pedigree," Lukas said Friday morning, recalling Golden Attraction. "I think [Vigorish] is going to need a race, but he might be all right. Most of mine are getting killed in their first race. I don't have them as tight as I thought I did, I guess."
Golden Attraction has produced two graded-stakes-placed runners from nine foals.
In recent years, Lukas' 2-year-olds have developed slower than previously as the type of horses his clients purchase has changed.
"Todd [Pletcher] took a page out of my book. If you've got 70 or 80 of them, you pick 10 or 12 that are really quick and are precocious and want to get into it and then you work with the others," Lukas said. "We have only got 10 or 12, period. We haven't bought any of those kinds of horses; we haven't bought any of those little scooters that get into that five furlongs and take off like that. Our horses are all going to probably look better when they go two turns in the fall. But they're getting experience; they're getting sand in their faces."
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has supplemented Marylou Whitney's Flying Bird to the $100,000 Sir Cat, a one-mile overnight turf stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday, hoping to get the once-promising son of Street Boss back on the right track.
After three starts on dirt as a 2-year-old, Flying Bird switched to turf and broke his maiden, then scored by two lengths in a 10-horse allowance race, showing a good finishing kick.
Zito put Flying Bird into the Kitten's Joy Stakes in January at Gulfstream Park and the 3-year-old wound up eighth behind Charming Kitten, who later finished third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, second in the inaugural Penn Mile and second in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby.
Freshened, Flying Bird returned in an allowance at Delaware Park and finished 11th, leaving Zito puzzled.
"Hopefully, he'll rebound over here at Saratoga," Zito said. "He's doing extremely well. So, hopefully, he can have his good closing kick and get back on track. We took him to the gate a little while ago, and he was good. He had a breathing problem that we corrected. I took him to Delaware, and I don't know what happened down there. You never know first time back, but, hopefully, he'll run good."
The Sir Cat drew a strong field, including Joha, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity last year at Keeneland, and Winning Cause, who took the Grade 3 Lexington this past spring at Keeneland.
Trainer Al Stall reported that 3-year-old colt Central Banker exited his 3 ¾-length score Thursday in the $100,000 Smirnoff Sorbet Quick Call, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint, in fine fettle.
Central Banker, who had not run since November 17 last year, chased a solid pace in fifth place and then angled out sharply on the turn and blew away the field after bumping slightly with Strike the Note.
The Quick Call was Central Banker's second win in two starts on the Saratoga turf; the son of Speightstown broke his maiden there last August.
"He had a good little vacation and then popped a splint at the Fair Grounds, and we had to give him a little more time," Stall said, explaining Central Banker's extended layoff. "Then there wasn't the right type of race for him at Churchill, so he's been ready to run for a month, and that's how they run good races. We had a month to sweeten him up, and he was kind of ready. You never expect that [kind of big effort], but the race set up for him."
Central Banker also has a dirt sprint victory on his resume, and Stall is considering a return to that surface. The colt is nominated to the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds on September 21 at Parx Racing, but Stall didn't rule out another run at Saratoga.
"We'll just play it by ear," he said. "A horse that runs that big off an 8 ½-month layoff probably needs a little bit of time to get himself caught up. We've got options."