Tax targeting G2 Jim Dandy; Divine Miss Grey to turf
by NYRA Press Office
- Not That Brady pointed to New York Derby with G1 Travers possible
- Stidham considering G1 Fourstardave for Synchrony
- Winter Sunset targeting G3 Lake George
- 2017 G2 Bowling Green-winner Hunter O'Riley looking for success in the 2019 edition
- Classy Sadie, Jen's Battle to target the Stillwater for New York-bred juvenile fillies
- Terranova looking for top level return performance with Broadway Run
- Future stars set for debut in Friday maiden
Tax has trained forwardly following his fourth-place finish in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
Trainer Danny Gargan said Tax, who breezed four furlongs in 48.20 seconds on July at Belmont Park, has settled in well at Saratoga and will point to the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy at nine furlongs on July 27.
"We're going to the Jim Dandy. He ran really good in the Belmont and came out of it better than he went in it," said Gargan.
The dark bay son of Arch, owned by R.A Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, won the Grade 3 Withers and finished second in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct ahead of placing 15th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
Claimed for $50,000 in October, Tax has now banked $426,300 with a record of 2-2-1 from seven starts.
Gargan said Tax will breeze again on Saturday at Saratoga and expects the gelding will appreciate racing at the Spa.
"He runs on every course, but this should suit him with his style," said Gargan.
Divine Miss Grey, a 5-year-old daughter of Divine Park, has won 12 times on the dirt but Gargan said the ultra-consistent chestnut could make her next start on the turf at Saratoga.
"She'll work at Belmont in the next couple days and I may try her on the turf here," said Gargan.
After winning 5-of-10 starts last year, including a victory in the Grade 2 Chilukki at Churchill Downs, Divine Miss Grey launched her 2019 campaign with a three-length score in the Heavenly Prize at Aqueduct before an off-the-board effort in the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill Downs.
John O'Hara's Avalina, a comfortable winner of the Parx Spring Oaks for Gargan in May, was off the board in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks after a wide, troubled trip on July 6.
"She came out of the race fine, she just didn't like the track," said Gargan. "She likes moisture in the track and it was a real hot, cuppy day and she just never got a hold of the racetrack."
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Not That Brady pointed to New York Derby with G1 Travers possible
Popular New York-bred Not That Brady, trained and co-owned by Rudy Rodriguez with Michael Imperio, Lianna Stables, and R. A. Hill Stable, won 2-of-5 starts as a juvenile including a three-length score in the Damon Runyon in December at Aqueduct.
The Big Brown chestnut, bred by KatieRich Farms, is still looking for his first sophomore score but has improved his Beyer Speed Figures this season earning a 95 for his runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Withers and a 94 last out when second in a loaded optional claimer at Belmont on June 27, won by the well-regarded Looking at Bikinis.
Rodriguez said Not That Brady will now point to the $150,000 New York Derby, second leg of the Big Apple Triple, slated for July 20 at Finger Lakes with the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 24 as a long-term target.
"He ran very good. He hesitated in the starting gate, but I was very pleased with how he ran," said Rodriguez of his most recent effort "We're going to take a look at the New York Derby and hopefully he'll give us a good indication that he wants to play with the big boys - and he looks like he wants to play. If he does, we could maybe take a chance in the Travers. If not, we have the Albany [August 23 at Saratoga]. We have lots of options with him, we just need to find the right race."
Frostie Anne, co-owned by Rodriguez with Michael Imperio, has won 15 of 40 career starts. The 6-year-old daughter of Frost Giant, bred in New York by Mr. and Mrs. Grant L. Whitmer became a multiple stakes winner last year with wins in the Sis City at Aqueduct and the Saratoga Dew.
After launching her 2019 campaign with a win in the Biogio's Rose at the Big A's winter meet, Frostie Anne has finished off-the-board in three stakes starts dating back to a sixth on May 27 in the Critical Eye.
The hard-trying dark bay breezed four furlongs on the Saratoga main on Wednesday in 51.12 seconds. Rodriguez said Frostie Anne may look to defend her Saratoga Dew victory, a nine-furlong test for New York-breds slated for August 8.
"She's coming along. We backed off a little bit and gave her almost a month off to try and freshen her up," said Rodriguez. "I've got a couple more works to give her and when she tells me she's ready, we'll see about a race. We'll take a look at the Saratoga Dew but we could also try Finger Lakes and give her a little more confidence."
Sterling Racing's Bull of Bayern, a 6 1/4-length winner at second asking on June 26 at Belmont, is under consideration for the inaugural $100,000 Rick Violette on July 17 but Rodriguez said the New York-bred son of Bayern is likely to wait for other options in the condition book.
"I think I'm going to back off with him and wait for the second book to come out," said Rodriguez. "He came out of the race good."
Zayat Stables' Majid was a perfect 4-for-4 under the tutelage of Rodriguez going into the Grade 3 Dwyer last out, a run that included a victory in the Easy Goer. The bay son of Shackleford was off-the-board in the Dwyer after setting the early pace.
In hindsight, Rodriguez said he may have brought the upwardly-mobile bay back a little too quick.
"I should have waited for the Curlin," said Rodriguez of the one-mile sophomore stakes slated for July 26 at Saratoga. "He ran such a good race at Belmont in the Easy Goer, but I think I brought him back a little too quick."
Rodriguez said he would consider a stakes at Parx - where the Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones is set for September 2 - if Majid continues to train well.
"He has some class," said Rodriguez. "I just have to regroup a little bit with him."
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Stidham considering G1 Fourstardave for Synchrony
Following a victory in Woodbine's Grade 2 King Edward on June 29, trainer Michael Stidham is thinking about bringing six-time graded stakes winner Synchrony back up against Grade 1 company in the $500,000 Fourstardave on August 10.
Owned by Pink Oak Stable, the 6-year-old son of Tapit rallied from last to first in his most recent effort, where he made a three wide move at the top of the stretch and got up in the final furlong to win by a length.
"We're certainly looking at it, we'll consider it," Stidham said of the Fourstardave - a one mile test over the turf. "That last win was sweet. He got up just in time and came out of it in great shape."
Synchrony - an earner of $893,251 in 23 career starts - has won a trio of graded stakes outings at Fair Grounds with back-to-back wins in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap as well as a triumph in last year's Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Handicap. Last year he also captured the Oceanport and Red Bank at Monmouth Park, both Grade 3 events.
Synchrony is out of the Forest Wildcat broodmare Brownie Points, a multiple stakes winner on dirt and turf, who also produced graded stakes winner Chocolate Kisses.
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Winter Sunset targeting G3 Lake George
Trainer Wayne Catalano reported that royally-bred stakes winner Winter Sunset is a possibility for the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George on Friday, July 19 - a race won by both her dam Winter Memories (2011) and grand dam Memories of Silver (1996).
The gray or roan daughter by Tapit has placed in all three of her starts against graded stakes company. Last out, she raced in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs, where she broke sharply from the rail and sat just off of the pace but was unable to run down the front-running Hard Legacy.
Prior to that, Winter Sunset finished third in a pair of Grade 3 events - the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs and the Edgewood at Churchill - won by Concrete Rose, who recently captured the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational.
Since her last start, Winter Sunset has recorded two breezes over the main track at Churchill Downs, most recently going five furlongs in 1:03.80.
"She's doing very well. We got to get her a graded stakes win so we're looking at the race," Catalano said of Winter Sunset, who is owned by Coffeepot Stables and Phillips Racing Partnership. "She's run some good races. Concrete Rose has turned out to be a very nice filly so we've been getting beat by legitimately nice horses."
Winter Sunset won her first two career starts both of which took place over the turf at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the latter of which took place in the Shantel Lanerie Memorial Overnight where she beat graded stakes winner Elsa.
Bred in Kentucky by co-owners Phillips Racing Partnership, Winter Sunset is out of two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire Winter Memories who was a three-time winner at The Spa. Her grand dam Memories of Silver also was a two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire, she won all four of her starts over the Saratoga turf.
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2017 G2 Bowling Green-winner Hunter O'Riley looking for success in the 2019 edition
Hunter O'Riley made an impression in the 2017 edition of the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green, capturing the 1 3/8-mile turf route as the longest shot on the board at 16-1. On Thursday, trainer Jimmy Toner said the 6-year-old bay gelded son of Tiz Wonderful remains on target for the race's 2019 edition, set for Saturday, July 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Sean Shay and Michael Ryan, Hunter O'Riley shipped in well to Saratoga from his base at Belmont Park and looks to be in fine form following a victory by a neck in the Grade 1 United Nations on June 22 at Monmouth Park over turf labeled good.
"He's here and everything is good. He came out of the race good and we're planning on running him in the Bowling Green," Toner said.
In besting an eight-horse United Nations Field at the Bowling Green distance, Hunter O'Riley earned his highest Beyer Speed Figure since 2017 with a 99, marking the highest since earning a 103 for a fourth-place finish in the 2017 Grade 1 Sword Dancer following his Bowling Green win, where he registered a career-best 104 Beyer.
The United Nations victory broke a streak of six off-the-board efforts against graded stakes company. Hunter O'Riley will now return to the Spa, where he ran third in his career debut in August 2015 and his first graded stakes win in the Bowling Green.
Multiple stakes-winner Hawkish is also at Saratoga, where Toner said he is hopeful to run towards the end of the meet, with the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on Closing Day, September 2, remaining a possibility.
Owned by Robert LaPenta, AJ Suited Racing and Madaket Stables, Hawkish underwent throat surgery after his win in the Cliff Hanger on May 4 at Monmouth Park. The operation prevented the 4-year-old Artie Schiller gelding from running in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont, but the 2018 Grade 2 Penn Mile-winner could be ready to make his Saratoga debut after winning at Monmouth, Penn National, Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct Racetrack.
"He's here and looking good," Toner said.
Shay's Mominou remains on target for the $200,000 Caress on Saturday, July 20 at Saratoga, Toner said. The 4-year-old filly, a daughter of Congrats, ran third in the Politely on May 18 at Monmouth, building off her first win of the current campaign when she posted a one-length score against allowance company on April 20 at Keeneland.
"She's doing well and is coming off a good effort at Monmouth and had a good race at Keeneland before that," Toner said.
The Caress, for older fillies and mares going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf, will mark Mominou's first start at Saratoga since a sixth-place finish in the Coronation Cup last July.
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Classy Sadie, Jen's Battle to target the Stillwater for New York-bred juvenile fillies
Classy Sadie, off a maiden-breaking effort at second asking on June 20 at Belmont, could make her stakes debut in the $100,000 Stillwater for New York-bred juvenile fillies on July 18 at Saratoga, trainer Gary Contessa said Thursday.
Owned by Pines Stables, John Irwin, Paul Daley and Debra Ann Acri, Classy Sadie is one of two possible Contessa-trained entries targeting the Stillwater, which was run previously as the Lynbrook. Leonard Green's Jen's Battle, who ran third in her first start on June 23 at Belmont, is also expected to make the step up.
Classy Sadie, third in her first start on May 2 on the Belmont turf, posted a 3 ¾-length score in a four-horse field to win a five-furlong sprint taken off the turf on June 20 at Belmont. Following that effort, Contessa said he will keep the Emcee filly on the main track for her stakes bow.
"I'm thinking I might put both of them in that race," Contessa said. "She won her last race pretty handily and came back good. She's a good front-running option."
Jen's Battle, a daughter of Declaration of War, breezed Sunday on Saratoga's Oklahoma training track, working four furlongs in 49.29 seconds.
"I ran her the first time and I expected her to win, but she broke bad and then started getting green from the dirt in her face," Contessa said. "Then, she finally figured it out and came running going five-eighths. So, I really believe in her and think she's a nice filly. I think the fact this race is six furlongs will help. She's a little more seasoned and has that race under her belt. She's a great come-from-behind option."
Contessa said he will likely skip the $100,000 Rick Violette on July 17 with both Theitalianamerican and Justintimeforwine.
Owned by Monty Foss and John Moiranco, TheItalianamerican ran second in each of his first two starts, including last out when he was the runner-up to Fore Left in the Tremont on June 7 at Belmont.
"Theitalianamerican has a little bit of a problem with his blood, so I think I'm going to wind up passing on that stake altogether," Contessa said. "I don't think any of the horses I'm running are going to make that stake."
Contessa said he is unsure when Justintimeforwine, seventh in his debut on June 23 at Belmont, will run next.
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Terranova looking for top level return performance with Broadway Run
In two starts this year, Curragh Stables' 4-year-old filly Broadway Run has lost two stakes races by less than one length in the License Fee and Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont Park, but will look to finally return to the winner's circle targeting next Saturday's $200,000 Caress.
In the care of conditioner John Terranova, the daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Prospective won her debut in May of last year at Belmont Park before finishing second in an allowance race on May 31.
Winning the Coronation Cup at Saratoga in her next start, she went on to finish second in the Christiecat at Belmont and third in the Lighting City at Tampa Bay Downs. Following another second-place finish in the City of Ocala Florida Sire at Tampa in December she took a break before returning in the License Fee. Arriving to Saratoga, Tonja Terranova, wife and assistant to John, is hoping for a top level return over a course she's previously won on.
"She's doing great," said Tonja Terranova, wife and assistant to John. "She's as honest they come. She fires every time and she's had a couple of unlucky breaks, but she's doing great. She won up her last year and we know she likes the course so it's pretty straightforward. She's the type you just put the bridle on and she runs so we're thankful to have her."
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Future stars set for debut in Friday maiden
The prestigious Saratoga meet is known for well-bred and highly regarded 2-year-olds making their career debuts. On Friday, a field of eight juveniles will seek their first career victory in the first open company maiden event for 2-year-olds this season over the Saratoga main track going the 5 1/2-furlong distance.
Breaking from the rail for trainer Todd Pletcher is A One A Racing's Apurate, who will be piloted by Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez. The daughter of freshman sire Summer Front is out of the Discreet Cat broodmare Frolicking Gal who is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Azar, who also was trained by Pletcher.
Apurate, a homebred, has recorded a series of works at Saratoga, most recently a four-furlong move in 49.60 seconds.
Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas will saddle $250,000 purchase Drop a Hint, who will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. The Mathis Stable-owned Into Mischief filly is out of the Orientate broodmare Allude, who has produced three stakes winners including six-time stakes winner Imply who has scored at such caliber over dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces.
Bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm, Drop a Hint was sold at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by his breeders.
Terranova will be debuting a $150,000 purchase from last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale in Pure Wow. The bay daughter of The Factor is the second progeny out of stakes placed Mineshaft broodmare Crespano, who also produced graded stakes winner Once On Whiskey.
Pure Wow will be ridden by jockey Dylan Davis.
"We bought her as a yearling and the Mayberrys broke her in Ocala. She came to us and has been very, very straightforward," Tonja said. "Dylan has worked her a few times and she just does everything right."
Pure Wow is owned by Gastas Stables and John Gaspar.
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart will saddle Good Shabbos, a chestnut Munnings filly whose only start was a close second over the main track at Monmouth Park. Owned by Gold Square, Good Shabbos is out of the stakes winning Trippi broodmare Island Time and is a half-sister to stakes winner and graded stakes placed Aveenu Malcainu. She was purchased for $190,000 from last year's Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale, where she was consigned by Warrendale Sales.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will debut a well-bred filly owned by the prestigious Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschnieder in Vast. The bay daughter of freshman sire Lea is out of the Seeking the Gold broodmare Enth and comes from the same family as Eclipse Award-winner and prominent sire Blame.