Ever-improving Vigilantes Way dives into deeper water for G1 Diana
by NYRA Press Office
- Ever-improving Vigilantes Way dives into deeper water for G1 Diana
- Hard-trying La Signare hoping to have her day in G1 Diana
- Tobys Heart beating along as she preps for G3 Lake George; Gift List to skip Saratoga Oaks Invitational
- Carmouche to cook for Principessa Elena Society
Phipps Stable homebred Vigilantes Way has already triumphed against graded stakes company in her 4-year-old campaign, and will seek to sustain that improvement in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Diana at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the daughter of multiple champion-producing sire Medaglia d’Oro has finished in the money in three of her four starts this season, following a productive sophomore campaign where she went 7-4-1-1.
After running fifth in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River on January 23 at Gulfstream Park, Vigilantes Way stepped her game up off three month’s rest with a third in the Dahlia at Pimlico. She returned to the Maryland oval with vigor, despite a slow start, when finishing a late-closing second to Mean Mary in the Grade 3 Gallorette on May 15.
Vigilantes Way had a much improved trip in her next start, making the grade in the Grade 3 Eatontown on June 20 at Monmouth Park, where she was in the clear, tracking moderate fractions from the three path, and took command in upper stretch to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
“A horse broke in front of her and that’s why we were further back in the Gallorette,” McGaughey said. “We would have been right behind Mean Mary if that hadn’t happened, but I thought she ran a really good race. Mean Mary is a nice horse. Our horse came back really well, trained really well and when we went back to Monmouth, ran really well in winning a graded stake.”
McGaughey, who last captured the Diana with Duty Dance in 1986, said the 1 1/8-mile test will be a tall ask for his filly
“We’re in the deep water right now,” McGaughey said. “She’s trained excellent since her last race, and she got up here in good shape. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way she’s doing. It’s a big step up, but I think she deserves it.”
Vigilantes Way is out of the dual graded stakes placed Unbridled mare Salute, who also produced Grade 1-winner Mr. Speaker and Grade 1 steeplechase winner Snap Decision. Her second dam is undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign.
Two races prior to the Diana, McGaughey will saddle graded stakes placed Ten for Ten in his 2021 debut. The gray or roan son of second crop sire Frosted was a narrow second to Brooklyn Strong last out in the Grade 2 Remsen on December 5 at Aqueduct after another runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 8 at the Big A. He broke his maiden by eight lengths in October over a sloppy and sealed main track at Belmont Park.
Owned by Donald and Donna Adam’s Courtlandt Farms, Ten for Ten is out of the Eskendereya mare Summer Vacation, a half-sister to prolific Grade 1-winner and producer Dream of Summer.
In Saturday’s task, a seven-furlong allowance sprint, Ten for Ten will face a salty field which includes dual graded stakes-placed Crowded Trade, as well as impressive maiden winners Witsel, Mahaamel and Beau Liam.
“He’s trained excellent,” McGaughey said. “He could need one. It’s a very, very difficult race. You’d never think an a-other-than would be what this race is. I want to get him started and I think he’s got a good future ahead of him.”
McGaughey enjoyed a prosperous tail end of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, scoring off-the-turf allowance optional claiming wins with Star Command and Dreams of Tomorrow.
The conditioner said Star Command, a winner of her last two starts, will likely run through her next condition, while stakes-placed Dreams of Tomorrow targets the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure on August 8.
Hard-trying La Signare hoping to have her day in G1 Diana
Madaket Stables, Tim Cambron, Anna Cambron and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ La Signare has made four of her last six starts in Grade 1 company, completing the trifecta in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April and the exacta last out in the Gamely in May at Santa Anita. On Saturday, the Brendan Walsh trainee will look to go one better in Saturday’s Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga.
Walsh said the 6-year-old French-bred daughter of Siyouni has proven herself against top-flight company ahead of Saturday's nine-furlong inner turf test for older fillies and mares.
"She's been in against the best of them and she hasn't let us down," said Walsh. "If the race sets up right for her then hopefully she'll be there or thereabouts on Saturday. The more pace in front of her, the better."
Walsh said La Signare, who boasts a career ledger of 18-3-3-4 and purse earnings of $405,576, always has her game face on.
"She's a hard-trying filly and she puts in her ‘A’ effort every time," said Walsh. "Hopefully, she'll do that again on Saturday. We're hoping that one of these days soon will be her day, it would be nice if it would be Saturday."
La Signare made the grade with a front-running score in the 2018 Grade 3 Wonder Again traveling nine furlongs on the Belmont turf and will be looking for her first win since a three-quarter length score in the Sand Springs in March 2020 at Gulfstream.
La Signare will exit the inside post under Ricardo Santana, Jr.
Mueller Thoroughbred Stable’s Candy Landing will make his stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on the main track.
A Kentucky homebred, the bay son of Twirling Candy dueled with Woodline through the early running of his June 11 debut at Churchill Downs, drawing off at the furlong grounds en route to a 4 1/2-length score in the 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight under James Graham. Candy Landing stopped the clock in 1:03.61 over the fast main track and garnered a 70 Beyer.
Candy Landing outran his 17-1 odds and Walsh said he was pleased with the performance.
"I thought he was a nice horse, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the way he ran and the way he won," said Walsh. "He was very professional. It seemed like he got it all together on the day that mattered.
"He ran well but I think there's plenty of improvement in the horse," Walsh added. "He's got up here to Saratoga and settled in well, so we're hopeful of a good run on Saturday."
Graham retains the mount from post 2 in a loaded field of 12 juveniles.
Walsh will also send out a pair of maidens on Saturday's undercard with Never Say Know in Race 6, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for 2-year-olds; and Crump in a seven-furlong main track spring for 3-year-olds and up in Race 11.
Marc Detample and American Equistock's Never Say Know, an Irish-bred son of No Nay Never, adds blinkers after a distant second as the mutuel favorite last out in a 7 1/2-furlong maiden special weight turf tilt on June 24 at Indiana Grand.
The chestnut will exit post 5 under Graham.
Crump, a 3-year-old Godolphin homebred, drew the inside post with Graham aboard in Saturday's nightcap. By Into Mischief, Crump is out of the multiple graded-stakes winning A.P. Indy mare Flashing.
Crump debuted in September at Churchill, finishing last-of-10 after a troubled trip when bumped at the start.
Walsh said Crump has been working well at his Churchill Downs base toward his return before posting a three-eighths blowout from the gate in 36.02 on July 10 on the Spa main track.
"We did like the horse last year, but I like him a lot more this year," said Walsh. "He's been working nice. We've got a tough post on Saturday coming off the layoff, but I do like the horse so we'll run and see what happens. We're definitely capable of winning a maiden at the meet. If not Saturday, then we'll look forward from there."
Walsh said the inside post may be a hindrance.
"He's fast enough but not super speedy. That's why I think the post might be challenging for him," said Walsh.
Walsh said multiple graded stakes winner Maxfield will breeze this weekend as he continues preparations for the nine-furlong Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on August 7 at the Spa, which offers a "Win and You're In" berth to the Breeders' Cup Classic.
"He's doing great," said Walsh. "He got up here and seems to be enjoying Saratoga life. The Whitney is the goal."
A winner of seven-of-eight career starts with purse earnings in excess of $1.2 million, the 4-year-old Street Sense colt captured the 2019 Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.
He suffered his only career defeat in March when third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. In his last two starts, Maxfield has taken a big step forward, garnering triple-digit Beyers, winning the Grade 2 Alysheba  and Grade 2 Stephen Foster  both at Churchill.
Walsh said Maxfield’s improvement has stemmed from maturity.
"He always threatened to do that. It was just the frame of the horse as a 2-year-old and even as a 3-year-old, he wasn't fully furnished," said Walsh. "But he's grown into himself now and I think he can still get better and there's more improvement in him."
Tobys Heart beating along as she preps for G3 Lake George; Gift List to skip Saratoga Oaks Invitational
The throngs of fans rushing to secure their preferred spots when the gates opened at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday morning was a welcome sight for trainer Brian Lynch.
After holding the 2020 meet without spectators, the 2021 40-day summer meet held its usual buzz on Opening Day. It also means the promise of exciting racing for Lynch, who ran just one starter in last year’s meet at the Spa but will have a full complement of contenders this year.
“I’m glad to be back up here. It’s always fun to be part of and coming off last year, it’s going to be a wide-open meet,” Lynch said. “The energy here has been great. Just this morning, when they opened the gates, to see the rush of people; it’s great to have all that back. It’s top-class racing and it’s just great to be a part of it.”
Among Lynch’s contingent is Tobys Heart, who is on target for the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the inner turf on July 23.
The Jack Milton filly won the 5 1/2-furlong Limestone Turf Sprint in April at Keeneland over a course labeled good. Stretched out to seven furlongs, Tobys Heart ran fifth in the Grade 3 Soaring Softly in May at Belmont but responded by running second, a half-length back to Navratilova, in the Tepin contested at the Lake George distance on June 26 at Churchill Downs over firm going.
“She’s doing as good as a horse can and we’re looking forward to the Lake George with her,” Lynch said. I really don’t think distance will be a limitation for her. She just had some bad luck and some traffic in her last race but it was a gallant effort.”
Lynch said Tobys Heart will appreciate returning to the track where she won her first stakes race when capturing the Bolton Landing last year.
“She liked the track, so for sure, it’s good to have that in your back pocket,” Lynch said.
Tobys Heart, owned by Lynch, Terry Hamilton and Gary Barber, was bred in Kentucky by Trackside Farms. He is 3-1-0 in six career starts with earnings of $185,350.
Amerman Racing’s Gift List was initially targeting the Grade 3, $700,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational on August 8 but will have to skip the second leg of the Turf Triple series as she recovers from contracting pneumonia and combating colic.
Gift List ran third last out in the Grade 3 Wonder Again as she was working towards a start in the first leg of the Turf Triple with the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks on Saturday, July 10. She has been shelved since that race but is gradually working her way back to racing action at Saratoga, where Lynch said she hopefully can get a race in before targeting the final leg of the series with the $700,000 Jockey Club Oaks going 1 3/8 miles on September 18 at Belmont.
“She got a little sick on us after the prep for the Belmont Oaks and we haven’t been able to get her completely back on track,” Lynch said. “She’s here and she’s starting to pick it back up in her training, but I don’t think we’ll make the Saratoga Oaks with her. It just knocked her out, but she’s starting to get some wind back in her sails now and perk up.
“I’d like to get her back for the [Jockey Club] Oaks but get her a race before that at the end of the meet,” he added. “I’m looking forward to seeing her turn the corner – which she is – and get her back soon.”
Lynch will have a starter on Opening Day, with Raroma Stable’s Skyro set to compete in the third race; a $103,000 allowance contest for 3-year-olds going one mile on the inner turf.
Listed at 15-1 on the morning line, Skyro broke his maiden at third asking in May on the Churchill Downs main track and will make both his turf debut and first race at Saratoga overall, breaking from post 4 with Manny Franco set to ride.
“We’re looking forward to running him on the grass; we haven’t had him there before, and we might be punching a little out of his weight class, but we’ve never been frightened of that before,” Lynch said with a laugh.
Some talented 2-year-olds could look to make their mark for Lynch later in the meet. Among those looking to set to debut for Lynch will be Silverton Hill’s Red Danger, who is entered in Saturday’s fifth race – a $100,000 5 1/2-furlong sprint.
The Orb colt, who posted his last two breezes on the Saratoga main track, drew post 3 in the nine-horse field and will have Luis Saez aboard.
“He’s been a cool horse to work with and has shown nothing but talent,” Lynch said.
Carmouche to Cook for Principessa Elena Society
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche is planning to cook his increasingly famous gumbo at the Principessa Elena Society at 13 Oak Street on Monday, July 19 for members and their guests to benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
Carmouche is looking resume riding at Saratoga after suffering a broken right ankle after Kentucky Pharoah unseated him coming out of the gate in the last race on Belmont Stakes Day.
The cost is $25 per person with a 150-person limit and the event will run from 6-9 p.m. For more information, contact Fran LaBelle at (518) 506-0705.