Sep 2, 2018
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Francesca Le Donne Photo

G1 Woodward hero Yoshida exits successful dirt debut in good order

by NYRA Press Office

  • G1 Woodward hero Yoshida exits successful dirt debut in good order
  • Brown ‘so proud of the horses’ that led to barn’s record Saratoga meet
  • Sippican Harbor resting for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after G1 Spinaway victory
  • Lady Montdore calm, cool, collected following G2 Glens Falls win

Yoshida came out of his win in Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward in good order, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said from his barn Sunday morning. Making his debut on dirt after his first 10 races came on turf, Yoshida rallied from 10th at the half-mile mark before gaining ground and surging in the stretch to defeat Gunnevera by two lengths.

“He looked pretty good this morning,” Mott said. “I wouldn’t say I was confident at [that point] but I thought he was travelling well and then, once he left the half-mile pole, you could see he was starting to go in the right direction. It was a good sign.”

In his 4-year-old campaign, Yoshida has already registered Grade 1 wins on both turf and dirt, posting a three-quarter length score in the Old Forester Turf Classic on May 5 at Churchill Downs. The Japanese-bred Heart’s Cry colt, who ran fifth in the Group 1 Queen Anne on June 19 at Royal Ascot before running fifth in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap at one mile on August 11 at the Spa, had been training at Saratoga since May with seven of his last nine breezes coming on the Oklahoma dirt training track near his stable. 

“We just trained him normally, we didn’t do anything special,” Mott said. “He trains on the dirt every day. Maybe some people might know [about switching surfaces], but [you have to] prove it. You have to see it in the afternoons under race conditions. That’s what really counts. You can always think that he’s handling it well with training, but race conditions are a different story.”

Mott said he did not have any definitive plans for Yoshida’s next start. The colt earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for besting the 14-horse Woodward field at 1 1/8 miles, marking the second time he’s recorded a triple-digit Beyer and his second-highest figure after his 106 in the Turf Classic.

Mott said the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Del Mar could be a possibility, but said Yoshida’s next stop has yet to be determined.

Yoshida is owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners and SF Racing. 

Mucho remains all systems go for the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful on Monday, Closing Day, Mott said. The Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider homebred has already won during the Saratoga meet, registering a maiden-breaking 9 ¾-length victory on August 4.

The 8-5 morning-line favorite drew post 7 in the eight-horse field with Jose Ortiz set to ride. 

“He’s good and he’s all set for tomorrow,” Mott said.

Elate is back in training after running second to Abel Tasman by a head in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on Travers Day, August 25, at Saratoga. Mott said he is undecided if the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly could be pointing towards in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on November 3 or instead challenge males in the Classic at 1 ¼ miles later that same day.

“She’s been back on the track and training,” Mott said. “We’d be ready for both. We wouldn’t change our training for either race.”

Entering Sunday, Mott’s 13 wins during the current meet tied him with fellow Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for third on the trainer’s standings, trailing only Todd Pletcher’s 18 wins and Chad Brown’s record-setting 43 victories.

“It means if I want to go to the races, I’ll have to go on the road,” said Mott with a laugh when asked about New York racing moving to Belmont for the start of the fall meet on Friday.

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Brown ‘so proud of the horses’ that led to barn’s record Saratoga meet

Two days after matching his 2016 record for wins by a trainer at Saratoga with 40, Chad Brown picked up three more victories on Saturday, highlighted by a win in the Grade 3 Saranac. The Mechanicville, New York native, with 43 victories heading into Sunday’s card, has firmly secured his second Saratoga training title in history-making fashion. 

“It’s been an outstanding meet,” said Brown. “We’re just thankful for all the good fortune we’ve had. Saratoga always holds a special place in my heart being from the area. Being so up close with all the fans, friends, and family, all meet on a daily basis, makes it extra special to win here. I’m just so proud of the horses that have shown up and ran so well for us. My staff, of course, they deserve all the credit. They’re in here working 24/7 and making sure everything’s checked and prepared, which makes it easy for me coming to the barn every day.”

Notching his sixth graded stakes victory of the summer when Raging Bull charged late to win the Saranac, Brown said he would most likely point the talented colt to the Grade 2, $500,000 Hill Prince on October 6 at Belmont Park. 

“The horse ran terrific,” said Brown of Raging Bull. “He’s an easy horse to fall in love with. He’s so consistent and gives it his all every time. He ran another great race with that strong terrific late kick and Joel [Rosario], in particular, gave him an outstanding ride. I was so impressed and relived with the trip he got as it was unfolding. The horse responded every time Joel wanted him to do something, and every time there was a decision to be made, Joel made the right one. For now, I think we’ll point him to the Hill Prince as that looks to be the next logical spot for him.”

Santa Monica and Onthemoonagain exited their respective second- and fourth-place finishes in the Grade 2 Glens Falls in good order, as did as Woodward runner Kurilov, who finished 11th.

“I’m not sure yet where we’ll go next for each of them,” said Brown. “I’m going to see how they train, before we start making any decisions.”

Looking to close the Saratoga meet with a final stakes victory in Monday’s Grade 2 Bernard Baruch with graded stakes winner Projected, Brown is hoping to see the 6-year-old gelding improve off his second-place finish in the Fasig-Tipton Lure on August 11. 

“This horse is training particularly well as of late,” said Brown. “I’m excited to run him in this race. He’s been a real consistent horse and his last work impressed me. We know Voodoo Song is an outstanding horse and in great form, so he’ll be tough to beat, but I like our chances.”

With the Belmont Park Fall Championship meet on the horizon, Brown is hoping to take the good momentum downstate when the meet begins Friday.

“We’re just going to keep training each horse in our barn and place them in the best race where we can develop our young horses and develop our older horses,” said Brown. “Our first option is to always run in New York. Following this meet, Belmont is our focus and if there’s a race that fits our program, we’re going to enter. I’m really excited for the fall meet. There’s a fantastic schedule of races NYRA has on tap for Belmont, and it looks good.”

* * *

Sippican Harbor resting for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after G1 Spinaway victory

Lee Pokoik's Sippican Harbor is in good shape following her impressive last-to-first, two-length win in Saturday's Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga, trainer Gary Contessa said Sunday morning.

The 2-year-old filly by Orb won her second straight start after breaking her maiden by 17 lengths on August 12 at Saratoga. The victory came after placing fifth in her debut on grass on July 22 at the Spa.

"She’s good. I'd say a little tired," Contessa said. "We're not going back to the turf anytime soon, but I do believe she's just as good on the grass as she is on the dirt.  So, the time may come where she does double duty.” 

Sippican Harbor will head to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 4 at Churchill Downs and will train right up to the race.

"We're just going to work, I'm not going to run her again [until Churchill],” said Contessa. "She deserves a break. I ran her 20 days apart to get her ready. Two months to get her to the Breeders' Cup? Piece of cake.

"I'm definitely excited. I was crushed when she lost on the turf, I didn't think she could possibly lose, that's how much I loved her,” he added. “I thought she was phenomenal. Everything she’s ever done, she's done like a super horse. There's a little bit of a stigma attached to Orb that he's throwing grass horses, so I just went with it, and thought ‘oh we got a turf horse here,’ but her dirt works and her turf works were sensational. It's thrilling to be in this position. It makes getting up in the morning a lot easier.”

The performance by Sippican Harbor was exactly what Contessa said he was hoping to see from his young filly. Now, with two impressive victories from three starts, the questions about her talent have been answered. 

"We went to the champagne room and it [race replay] just kept playing and playing and playing. I love the call where he [race-caller Larry Collmus] said ‘and she's the real deal!' I love that because that's exactly what I was thinking at that point. She's the real deal because going in, I wasn't positive. You could take a really good boxer and he beats up a chump and he looks really good doing it, but when you throw him in with Mike Tyson and he's knocked out in the first round. We had to see this to believe it.”

*         *         *

Lady Montdore calm, cool, collected following G2 Glens Falls win

Godolphin Stable’s Lady Montdore exited her 2 ¼-length win in Saturday’s Grade 2 Glens Falls in fine fettle and will join Tom Albertrani’s Belmont string next week, said the trainer Sunday morning.

The 4-year-old Medaglio d’Oro filly is now undefeated in two starts on American grass, both at 1 3/8 miles on the Saratoga inner turf course. Albertrani reported that Lady Montdore cooled out well following the race, showing no signs of the heat exhaustion that afflicted her following her 4 ½-length score in a turf allowance on August 6.

“She came out of the race fine. We had no issues at all yesterday thanks to the cooler weather. The circumstances were much better,” he said.

Lady Montdore made her first five starts in France, including a third-place finish in the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville under the care of Andre Fabre, before moving to Albertrani’s barn in May. 

She is scheduled to ship to Belmont late next week, where she’ll train for a possible start in the October 7 Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl at 1 ¼ miles on the turf, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Filly & Mare Turf November 3 at Churchill Downs.

“She was very impressive [in the Glens Falls],” said Albertrani. “I’ll let her get over this race and then ship her down. Obviously, depending on how she’s looking ahead of that race, the Flower Bowl will probably be her most likely spot.”

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