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Saratoga Race Course Notes - August 7

By NYRA Press Office | 08/07/2013 03:34 PM ET
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

  • Kentucky Derby winner Orb to arrive Sunday for G1 Travers; Boisterous "doing very well" for G1 Sword Dancer; McGaughey thrilled for Hall of Fame inductee Lure
  • With two winners Monday, Pletcher enters third full week of racing with meet-leading 16 victories; Palace Malice, Verrazano to breeze Sunday for G1 Travers
  • G2 Jim Dandy runner-up Moreno to work six furlongs on Saturday for G1 Travers
  • McLaughlin, seen sporting "Invasor" cap, considering G1 Alabama for Carnival Court, G1 Ballerina for Villanesca
  • Fillies and mares square off in Thursday's Mrs. Ogden Phipps steeplechase

Kentucky Derby winner Orb is scheduled to arrive at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday to finish his preparations for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on August 24, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Wednesday morning.

Orb will have one more breeze at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland on Saturday and ship the following day to McGaughey's barn next to the Oklahoma training track.

Since arriving at Fair Hill shortly after running third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, his most recent start, Orb has worked five times including five furlongs in 1:00.00 on August 3.

"We kind of put our heads together and said, 'Let's get our last major work done there and then move him up here,'" McGaughey said. "I'm very relaxed with this. He'll have two weeks here. He'll have his major work, then have a week to get adapted here and we'll blow him out on Monday [August 19]. He'll have plenty of time to settle in."

Another horse McGaughey had at Fair Hill, multiple graded stakes winner Boisterous, is being pointed to the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on August 17. The 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor won the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont Park, and on Sunday had his first Saratoga breeze since returning from Maryland, going a half-mile in 46.55 seconds on the Oklahoma training turf course.

"He's doing very well," McGaughey said. "He had a great work here the other day and came out of it really well. I thought his Man o' War as a very, very good race, and I'm looking forward to running him here."

McGaughey also took time to reflect on Lure, who will join his trainer in the Hall of Fame during Friday's 10:30 a.m. induction ceremony at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. Lure joins fellow thoroughbreds Housebuster, Invasor, McDynamo and Tuscalee; jockey Calvin Borel, and August Belmont II and Paul Mellon in the Class of 2013.

Lure won three Grade 1 races and nine graded stakes in his career, including the Grade 3 Daryl's Joy in 1993 and Grade 2 Bernard Baruch in 1994 at Saratoga. A track record holder at five furlongs and one mile, he won the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1992 and 1993 and retired with 14 victories and more than $2.5 million in earnings from 25 starts.

"He was a very, very, very talented and fast horse," McGaughey said. "We had him on the dirt and I brought him up here as a 3-year-old and started training him on the turf here, and every day he just got better and better and better.

"I think he's a very deserving member of the Hall of Fame. I was disappointed a couple times when he didn't make it, but I was very excited now that he is going to be inducted. I'm going to be there, and I'm going to be excited for Lure."



Trainer Todd Pletcher, who entered the third full week of racing at the Spa with a meet-leading 16 winners, picked up two of them on Monday with impressive firster King Cyrus and Shine Again victress Holiday Soiree.

Owned by WinStar Farm, King Cyrus was an 11-length winner of the seven-furlong maiden event in 1:24.68.

"We felt like he was a horse who would appreciate the seven-furlong distance," said Pletcher of the Bellamy Road colt, who is out of the Empire Maker mare Queen of Empire. "He's certainly bred like, and ran like, he wants to go further. We're pleased that he did everything right. We did not anticipate he was going to blow the field away like that. I would think a stake would be in order; I don't know for sure if it would be the [Grade 1] Hopeful [September 2], but it might be."

The trainer said Holiday Soiree, who was making her first start for Pletcher, returned from her 3 ¾-length victory in the Shine Again in good order and that the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 23 was on the radar.

"We'll keep an eye on the Ballerina, but I'm not sure if we'll have enough time; if not, then we'll look at the [Grade 2] Gallant Bloom [Handicap, September 21] at Belmont," said Pletcher of Holiday Soiree, a 4-year-old daughter of Harlan's Holiday. "I'm very pleased with the way she ran; she got herself in good position and finished up well. We're just trying to get to know her a little bit. Once we breezed her, she told us she was ready."

Pletcher added that Grade 2 Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice and Grade 1 Haskell winner Verrazano would have their first breezes since their victories on Sunday morning in preparation for the Grade 1 Travers on August 24.

Trainer Eric Guillot said he would drill rising 3-year-old Morenosix furlongs on the main track Saturday, his penultimate work before a run in the Grade 1 Travers.

The gelded son of Ghostzapper needed 10 starts to break his maiden but then turned around and won the Grade 2 Dwyer on July 6 at Belmont Park in eye-opening fashion, pulling away by seven lengths. In his most recent start, Moreno made the pace in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy before being overhauled by eventual winner Palace Malice and holding on gamely for third.

"He's good. He's better than he was before," Guillot said of Moreno. "He's going to have to be, right?"

Moreno went the first quarter-mile of the Jim Dandy in 24.06 seconds and the half-mile in 47.48. Guillot hopes the horse can get a softer pace in the 1 ¼-mile Travers.

"I think they're going to go 48 and change versus a 23-second second quarter; we're going to get 24 and change so we're going to have a little something left in the tank," he said. "A mile and a quarter versus a mile and an eighth. Inner fractions make the race, as we all know if we know anything about horse racing. Every horse has a spleen. Every horse has X amount of hemoglobin and oxygen. It's like anything else. If you had a pellet gun as a kid with a CO2 cartridge, or a tire with so much air - anything that pertains to running out of oxygen or fuel - it's the same thing."

Guillot also plans to work Salutos Amigos on Saturday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwood's King's Bishop at seven furlongs on Travers Day.

In the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 28, Salutos Amigos dropped back on the turn, and then charged up the rail in the stretch to finish third at 21-1 behind winner Forty Tales. The colt had been off the board in three previous stakes starts.

"I've got a shot with Salutos Amigos in the King's Bishop; it's loaded with speed," Guillot said. "I got his feet right, and he's going in the right direction. He galloped out past Forty Tales the other day and got beat a jump and a half. The kid [jockey Jose Ortiz] kind of shoved him in there then realized they were going real fast and took back out and came on again. And he needed a race, too."

Rarely seen on the backstretch in the morning without a baseball cap, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin broke out a special one for this week.

The dark blue cap he wore on Wednesday had "Invasor" stitched in white across the front, honoring one of the members of the Class of 2013 to be enshrined into the Racing Hall of Fame Friday morning.

"We were very pleased and happy," McLaughlin said of Invasor's induction. "It was great to have the privilege of training such a great horse, probably the best horse I'll ever train. I hope there's another one, but it's going to be difficult to duplicate his career."

Bred in Argentina, Invasor won 11 of 12 starts and more than $7.8 million, and was voted Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male in 2006 after victories in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Pimlico Special, Suburban and Whitney handicaps, the latter at Saratoga.

"He didn't jump off the plane or the van with 'wow' written on him," McLaughlin said. "It took us a little while. He worked well with a lot of nice horses and then we went to Dubai, and that was the only race he lost. When we came back and ran him in the Pimlico Special, that's when we said 'wow.' We started to realize we had a serious horse. He was just such a neat horse. He was a fabulous horse for our family and our people."

Coming up, McLaughlin is targeting the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on August 17 with lightly-raced Carnival Court, who would be making her stakes debut in Saratoga's premiere event for 3-year-old fillies.

"Carnival Court for the Alabama is likely," McLaughlin said. "We hate to say we're running for third, but we would be tickled to death to be third. She's had three races and won her last two. The distance we know she would like, a mile and a quarter. She's doing very well."

Sixth in her career debut at Gulfstream Park on April 5, Carnival Court broke her maiden on May 31 and beat winners in an allowance optional claimer on July 7, both at Belmont Park. A daughter of Street Sense out of the A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess, she schooled at the starting gate on Wednesday.

McLaughlin also said that Villanesca, winner of the Magnolia Jackson stakes at Belmont on June 5 in her most recent start, is possible for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina on August 23.

Thursday's 2 1/16-mile Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes has attracted a well-matched field of 10 mares, including the top finishers from the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley Stakes for female jumpers at Nashville's Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11.

Well Fashioned, the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, returned to her best form in the Henley and surged late to a nose victory. Trained by Doug Fout, the Virginia-bred Cozzene mare had won the Crown Royal Stakes at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia for the second straight year last November.

Just missing in the Henley was Clarke Ohrstrom's Kisser N Run, who is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line as she goes in search of her first 2013 victory. In her first start of the year, the 5-year-old Pleasant Tap mare had finished second in the Atlanta Steeplechase's Georgia Cup on April 13. After winning her maiden victory last fall, Kisser N Run was acquired by Ohrstrom and won the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J. Trainer Richard Valentine named Robbie Walsh to ride.

The Henley's third finisher, Octoraro Stables' Euro Power, will be handled for the first time by Paddy Young. Beaten six lengths in the Henley, Euro Power is trained by Blythe Miller Davies and is 10-1 on the morning line.

Rounding out the field is the entry of Take Her Tothe Top and Opera Heroine, along with Casablanca Lily, Lillehammer, Hunter Forward, Cubist, and The Grey Express.