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Saratoga Race Course Notes - August 16

By NYRA Press Office | 08/16/2013 03:48 PM ET
Centre Court
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

  • Transparent breezes for G1 Travers
  • Guillot claims two-time G1 winner Teaks North for $100k; Moreno, Salutos Amigos to breeze on Saturday
  • "Win Machine" Saginaw back on worktab;  Hudson on Oct. 19 a long-range target
  • Centre Court works for G2 Ketel One Ballston Spa
  • Asmussen has high hopes for maiden winner Aarons Orient
  • G2 Bowling Green, G1 Joe Hirsch under consideration for Slumber

Transparent, who will carry the Godolphin Racing silks in the 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers, had his final serious move for next Saturday's "Mid-Summer Derby" this morning, breezing four furlongs in 49.92 seconds on Saratoga Race Course's main track.

"He worked well," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin of Transparent, who finished first but was disqualified to fifth in the Curlin on July 26, his first race since April 4. "Being that he had 112 days off before his last race, we're happy to get a couple of works into him. It was a true prep, the Curlin. We're happy with his work. We're heading to the Travers."

McLaughlin, who trained co-winner Alpha in last year's Travers, has saddled Transparent to two victories in four starts this year, including a maiden win on January 26 at Aqueduct Racetrack and the 10 ¾-length win over older horses in April, both for Darley Stable.

One minor issue after another kept Transparent out of the races, but McLaughlin is pleased with how well the colt has been doing since crossing the finish line two lengths ahead of Romansh in the Curlin.

"He's been great," said McLaughlin. "He hasn't missed a day, that's what's nice. He had a lot of gaps in his works before he ran, so now that we've gotten a race and two works, we're happy. We're not happy with the competition, but we're happy with him."

Also on the worktab for McLaughlin was Alpha, who went a half-mile in 50.88 on the main track.

Despite Teaks North's disappointing performance on Thursday, trainer Eric Guillot still has lofty plans for gelding, whom he claimed for $100,000 on behalf of Michael Moreno's Southern Equine Stable.

A two-time Grade 1 winner, Teaks North finished last of six in the 1 3/16-mile allowance/optional claiming race on Thursday. Guillot won a three-way shake against trainers David Jacobson and Michael Maker for Teaks North.

"I'm going back [to California at the end of the Saratoga meet] and I'm not going to leave him behind [in New York], so I'll bring him [to California] and run him in a stakes and see where we're at with him," said Guillot. "I claimed him to swing for the fences in the Breeders' Cup [Turf]. His numbers are good enough to compete in it. He's a speed horse, and speed horses do good on Santa Anita's turf course."

Teaks North won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and Grade 1 United Nations in 2011 and this year has added victories in the Sunshine Millions Turf for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park and the Good Reward overnight stakes at Belmont Park. After finishing second in the 2013 United Nations on July 6, he came up empty on the far turn on Thursday in his final start for trainer Michelle Nevin and owner Sanford Robbins.

"He shipped in from Belmont [on race day], got a little hot, and he went a lot of time without a breeze," said Guillot. "He got beat 7 ½ lengths; it's not like he got beat a million miles. If you look at his form, every third race he throws in a clunker and comes back with a big race."

Guillot has Moreno aiming for the Grade 1 Travers and Salutos Amigos on target for the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop on August 24, and both 3-year-olds are scheduled to breeze tomorrow on the main track. Salutos Amigos will breeze at 5:45 a.m. and Moreno will go out at 8:45 a.m., Guillot said.

Multiple stakes winner Saginaw breezed three furlongs in 39.99 seconds on Saratoga's main track Friday morning, his first work since extending his win streak to five in the John Morrissey here on August 1.

"He worked great, really well," said trainer David Jacobson, who co-owns the 7-year-old New York-bred gelding with Drawing Away Stable. "That's what he always does. Two weeks after the race, we get a little three-eighths and then have another three-eighths and start thinking about where we're going to run him."

Jacobson said the long-range goal for Saginaw is the $150,000 Hudson on New York Showcase Day on October 19 at Belmont Park.

"Right now, we don't have any definite plans," he said. "The only thing that is a definite is the Hudson. We hope to find something for him at Belmont in September, but there's nothing at the moment."

Since being claimed by Jacobson for Drawing Away in March 2012, Saginaw has won 14 of 17 starts, including 10 stakes, and purses of $713,100. He also is 3-for-5 lifetime at Saratoga, having won the 6 ½-furlong John Morrissey in 2012.

In his career, Saginaw has won 21 wins and $974,690 in purses from 40 starts.

"He's a neat horse," Jacobson said. "I'm very fortunate to have him and fortunate to keep him going as long as he's going."

Trainer George "Rusty" Arnold was all smiles walking back to his barn after watching Centre Court breeze on the Oklahoma training track turf course on Friday.

Under exercise rider Simon Harris, the 4-year-old Smart Strike filly was clocked in 48.13 seconds for a half-mile in her second work since finishing last of five as the favorite in the Grade 1 Diana on July 27.

"She just came off the grass, and she went very nice," Arnold said. "That will be her last work. If she comes out of this work good, I'm going to be very happy."

Arnold is targeting the Grade 2, $250,000 Ketel One Ballston Spa on the Travers undercard August 24 for Centre Court, a winner of five career graded stakes including the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April.

"I'm very pleased with the way she's doing," Arnold said. "I have no problems right now. She's doing very well, I think. I'm happy."

Fourth behind subsequent Grade 2 Saratoga Special winner Corfu in his debut on July 25, Aarons Orient returned to break his maiden at Saratoga on Thursday for trainer Steve Asmussen.

A juvenile son of sprint champion Orientate, Aarons Orient came from just off the pace under jockey Joel Rosario to win in 57.69 seconds for five furlongs, .58 faster than Corfu's time in the previous race.

"He's a very fast horse," said Asmussen. Aarons Orient is owned by A and M Racing, Inc., which purchased the horse out of Ocala's April 2-year-old in training sale for $75,000.

"Kim Valerio bought him out of OBS off of Bobby Dodd, and he's been a lovely horse since he came in. Honestly, we were surprised he got beat the first time, but he obviously got beat by a nice horse."

Asmussen is now 5-for-10 with 2-year-olds at the meet, including a dead-heat victory with Brazen Persuasion in the Grade 2 Schuylerville on opening day, July 19.

"We'll let [Aarons Orient] go back to the track before we do something," Asmussen said. "I think he's a stakes-caliber horse, and we'll find one for him."

Juddmonte Farms' Slumber appears on his way back to major stakes racing following his authoritative score Thursday in a $100,000 optional claimer at 1 3/16 miles on the Mellon turf course.

Slumber, a 5-year-old British-born son of Cacique trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, hadn't been out since winning an allowance last August because of nagging carpal tunnel issues in a foreleg. Before that, he hadn't run since finishing fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November 2011.

On Thursday, Slumber settled easily into fourth behind pacesetter Roadhog, and jockey Junior Alvarado tracked on the inside, saving ground on the backstretch through a half-mile in 50.18 seconds.

When the field reached the far turn, Alvarado remained inside while others bid for the lead. Turning for home, Slumber shot through an opening down the middle of the track and pulled away to win by 3 ¾ lengths in a time of 1:56.12.

"He was impressive," Mott said. "He was impressive here last year, too. We would have liked to have made plans for him last year, but we were unable to.

"He was with me most of the time, but he went back to Juddmonte [in Lexington] for about three months this spring. I thought we were going to make it back, but in January we had to stop on him again."

Now that the horse is healthy, Mott has optimistic plans for Slumber. He mentioned the Grade 2, $200,000 Bowling Green Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on the grass September 7 at Belmont Park, but is leaning toward the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at 1 ½ miles on September 28, also at Belmont.

"It seems like the Bowling Green comes up a little quick, and you can't run both the Bowling Green and the Turf Classic, I don't think," Mott said. "So, I think my choice is to go to Canada or run in the Turf Classic, if I can get an invitation."

Slumber broke his maiden at Epsom in 2011 in his second start. He finished third, beaten just three lengths to future Group 1 winner Treasure Beach in the Chester Vas and then placed in two more graded stakes.

He ran in the Hollywood Derby for trainer Charles Hills and then was transferred to Mott