Stay Thirsty, Uncle Mo Work For Pletcher
By New York Racing Association
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty led a parade of stakes-bound workers for trainer Todd Pletcher this morning, with Uncle Mo covering five furlongs in 59.95 as he prepared for the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop and Stay Thirsty going the same distance in 1:01.73 in his final serious breeze for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on Saturday.
With jockey John Velazquez aboard, Uncle Mo came onto the Saratoga main track at shortly after 6 a.m. Working in company with Curlin Stakes winner Turbo Compressor, last year’s juvenile champion was caught in fractions of 12.47, 24.31 and 36.01, pulling past his workmate at the wire and galloping out strongly.
Uncle Mo’s breeze was the third-fastest of 41 at the distance, while Turbo Compressor was clocked in 1:00.34.
“I thought it was another very good work,” said Pletcher. “I worked quite a few horses in the first set and the track is pretty consistent to the way it’s been playing, which is somewhat demanding and not real fast, but he seemed to handle it real well. He finished up good and galloped out strongly, so I think we are right on schedule. I don’t think he could be training any better.”
Uncle Mo has not raced since he finished third in the Grade 1 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial on April 9, after which he was scratched from the Kentucky Derby with a liver disorder. Today’s work was his sixth since returning to training last month with the seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop as a primary target.
“Based on the workmates he has been breezing with, all indications are he is a very fit horse,” said Pletcher of Uncle Mo, who like Stay Thirsty is owned by Mike Repole.
A few minutes after Uncle Mo breezed, Stay Thirsty, winner of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in his most recent start, worked in company with Super Espresso. With jockey Javier Castellano in the irons, Stay Thirsty was clocked in fractions of 12.87, 24.66 and 36.84 as he worked in company with Grade 1 Personal Ensign-bound Super Espresso, who broke off behind Stay Thirsty and was timed in 1:01.49.
“It was almost an identical work to what he did before the Jim Dandy,” said Pletcher of Stay Thirsty. “A good steady progressive 1:01 and change with a strong gallop out, moving really well. We were very happy.
“Based on the work this morning, I would say he is as good as he was [going into the Jim Dandy], if not better going into [the Travers],” added the trainer.
Among others working for Pletcher were Schuylerville winner Georgie’s Angel, who covered five furlongs in 1:01.72 as she continues preparations for the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 4; Her Smile, who went four furlongs in 52.43 with an eye on the Grade 3 Victory Ride on Travers Day; Hilda’s Passion, clocked in 1:00.24 for the Grade 1 Ballerina, also on Travers Day; Mission Impazible, four furlongs in 48.76 for the Grade 1 Woodward on September 4, Rule, who has also been mentioned as possible for the Woodward, four furlongs in 48.20; Aikenite, pointing for the Grade 1 Forego, four furlongs in 48.20, and Sidney’s Candy, five furlongs in 1:00.56.
Pletcher said the next start for Sidney’s Candy, winner of the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap on the grass last time out, was still undecided.
“The Forego [seven furlongs, September 4] is a possibility, as is the Woodward,” said Pletcher. “Most likely his next start will be on dirt.”
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On the day after Royal Delta’s victory in the Grade 1 TVG Alabama, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was aboard his pony, Paintball, to watch Raison d’Etat turn in his final workout in the lead up to Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes.
Mott reported that Palides Investments’ Royal Delta, who gave Mott his second Alabama victory, came out of the race in good shape.
“She ate up, she’s happy, she jogged good, her legs look good,” said Mott. “We’re pretty pleased right now with the way she’s come back. The main thing is she’s healthy and sound. She has a Grade 1 in front of her name.”
Mott, who initially considered running Royal Delta in today’s Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid on the turf, said he’s keeping all possibilities open for the filly’s next start.
“Where to next? We’ll just to wait and see,” said Mott. “Everything is an option, I suppose, at this point. If you stay on the dirt, you kind of get into the group of older fillies if you’re going to stay in New York. We’ll just play it by ear, I suppose.”
Raison d’Etat, who will attempt to give Mott his first Travers triumph, took to the Oklahoma training track around 9:30 a.m. with exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset aboard. Working in company with the mare Acronym, the 3-year-old son of Grade 1 winners A.P. Indy and Sightseek breezed five furlongs in 1:01.16, the fastest of 11 moves at the distance on the Oklahoma surface.
“It was very good,” said Mott. “He looked good. He was a minute and a tick, and he finished up very well. He went by his partner and galloped out all right.”
Raison d’Etat, who like his dam races for Juddmonte Farms, broke his maiden in his third start, a maiden event at Belmont Park in June, and finished second by 2 ¾ lengths in the Curlin on July 29 at the Spa.
“His works have been good and maybe slightly improved [after the Curlin], but no big transformation,” said Mott. “He’s just a steady, even-going sort of horse. He’s there, does his job, and he’s very steady. He’s somewhat predictable. We’re pleased with what he’s doing.”
Mott said the timing of the Travers suits Raison d’Etat, whom he described as a “late-developing sort of horse.”
“Early in the year, he just wasn’t far enough along to point to the Derby or Preakness,” the trainer added, “but we’re hoping he’s had enough bottom or experience to point him toward the Travers.”
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Travers candidate J W Blue worked four furlongs in company Saturday morning on the main track as a final serious prep for the “Mid-Summer Derby” on Saturday at the Spa.
Under exercise rider Ricky Legall, J W Blue ran on the inside of workmate Tech Fall, and the two went around virtually on even terms with J W Blue slightly ahead the entire time. They were close behind another horse working in front of them, and J W Blue reached that horse during his strong gallop-out.
Trainer Tony Dutrow said the Sky Mesa colt, second last out in the Barbaro Stakes on July 9, was working 4 ½ furlongs, although the NYRA clockers timed the effort as five furlongs in 1:00.20, eighth best of 40 at the distance. Tech Fall, fourth last out in the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont Park, received the same clocking.
“J W Blue has never been an impressive work horse,” Dutrow said afterward. “His workouts are workmanlike, and I saw a workmanlike workout today with a very good gallop out. I feel like our horse is well prepared to run Saturday.”
J W Blue, a powerfully built, almost blocky dark bay, has tantalized with his talent. He was on the Triple Crown trail in Arkansas this past winter, and then moved to Delaware where he finished second in the Floor Show as well as the Barbaro stakes, his most recent start.
“His last race was good,” Dutrow said. “He got a 4 on the Ragozin sheets. We always hoped he was capable. He’s always been an immature horse. These last six weeks he is not immature anymore. He just grew up.”
Dutrow was glowing about the performance of his 3-year-old filly Pinch Pie, who finished third in the Grade 1 Alabama at a shade under 19-1, the longest shot on the board.
The daughter of Victory Gallop, owned by Michael Dubb, had won two straight races going into the Alabama but was not considered in the same class as the rest of the field.
“I was so happy,” Dutrow said. “I can’t express it any better than that. We knew we were putting our necks out there. We were believing our filly would run good. She seems to have come back from the race excellent. She showed energy in the round pen today. Now that I’ve seen her take on better competition, I can look at around at other possibilities.”
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Bowman’s Causeway, exiting a strong runner-up finish in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, worked five furlongs in 1:00.05 on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course and appears to be on track for a start in the August 27 Travers.
“So far, he looks good,” said Chad Brown, who trains the Ontario-bred son of Giant’s Causeway for Martin Schwartz. “He worked well and he looks good so far. If he’s good up until entry day, I’ll enter him.”
Previously trained by Patrick Biancone, Bowman’s Causeway has made three starts for Brown, all in Canada. He finished second in the Plate Trial stakes over the Polytrack at Woodbine, then was fourth in the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate, at the same venue. Shipped to Fort Erie for the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown series, the Prince of Wales, run on dirt, he was defeated a nose by Pender Harbour.
“I was real pleased with his race at Fort Erie,” said Brown. “That was his first start on dirt for me, and I was happy with that race. His numbers are not out of line. Every start, he gets a little bit faster in numbers, just gradually improving. I’ve run him three times in a row and every time he’s had to ship to run somewhere long distance. Now, I get the chance to run him out of his own stall, and I’m thinking he’s probably coming with his best race doing it this way.”
Given the colt’s steady improvement, as well as the seemingly wide-open 3-year-old division, Brown said he felt it was prudent to take a chance in the Travers and revealed that Ramon Dominguez would pick up the mount from the Woodbine-based Eurico Rosa daSilva.
“There are a lot of factors going in where it probably makes sense to take a shot,” he explained. “There’s definitely some solid horses in here, but they don’t seem to be as consistent as in years past. That gives me a little bit of optimism, I guess. If everyone takes a turn, maybe it’s my turn now. Dominguez will ride; daSilva rode him great the three times he rode him [in Canada], but this is Saratoga and Ramon is one of the best.”
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Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had nothing but pride in his 3-year-old filly It’s Tricky the day after she finished second as the favorite to Royal Delta in the Grade 1 TVG Alabama.
When It’s Tricky, owned by Godolphin Stable, moved to the outside of leader Plum Pretty, it almost looked like a replay of the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks. In that race, It’s Tricky wore down her rival in a sensational stretch duel, while Royal Delta finished a distant third.
This time, however, Royal Delta raced much closer to the lead and blew by It’s Tricky on the outside with a stunning burst of power to win the 1 ¼-mile race going away.
“When you watch the rerun, Royal Delta had a great trip, and she was right next to us,” McLaughlin said. “She dropped back when we engaged [Plum Pretty]. We were three wide on the first turn, and she was right next to us. She ran a huge race, and she was always there. We didn’t go too fast. Even at a mile and an eighth, the winner was probably the winner.
“We were second best yesterday at that distance, and we never have to run a mile and a quarter again,” he added.
It’s Tricky will be pointed to the Grade 2, $750,000 Cotillion on October 1 at Parx Racing in Philadelphia as a tune-up for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic.
McLaughlin said that Mill House’s Rattlesnake Bridge is on course to compete in the Travers on August 27 and will gallop up to the race.
Asked if he worried about distance limitations in the colt, whose broodmare sire is sprint-oriented Cherokee Run, McLaughlin said no.
“It’s just his style,” he said. “It indicates we’ll get a mile and a quarter because he comes from well back. If you worried about the pedigree, you would worry about [his victory in] the Long Branch. All the figures show he fits with these horses, and we have Johnny V [leading rider John Velazquez.].”
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Trainer Wesley Ward issued an upbeat bulletin following Flashpoint’s 1:00.03 five-furlong breeze on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack, where the colt gearing up for a start in Saturday’s Grade 1, seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop.
“It was smooth as silk, and everything went seamlessly,” said Ward, who trains the son of Pomeroy for Peachtree Stable. “He’s ready.”
The Foxwoods King’s Bishop will be the first start in a Grade 1 sprint for the multiple graded-stakes winner, who is unbeaten in three starts at seven furlongs or less. The race is expected to attract a contentious field that includes 2010 Champion Two-Year-Old Male Uncle Mo, Grade 2 Amsterdam winner Caleb’s Posse, and possibly The Factor, who worked six furlongs in 1:10, handily, at Del Mar yesterday.
“We’re not worried,” said Ward of the competition. “I’ve been training horses for 20 years, and the only thing I can control is my horse, and he’s ready.”
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Stonewall Farm’s homebred B Shanny will be pointed toward the Grade 1, $300,000 Champagne on October 9 at Belmont Park off his powerful front-running score in a maiden special weight race Saturday at the Spa, trainer Michael Hushion said.
Under jockey Ramon Dominguez in a field of 12, the 2-year-old son of Street Cry rated well through a half-mile in 46.21 and went on to win the seven-furlong race by three-quarters of a length over favored El Padrino in 1:24.03.
“Probably the Champagne,” Hushion said. “As long as he’s healthy, that’s where we’ll be going.”
Hushion had owner-breeder Barry K. Schwartz, the former CEO of NYRA, and his wife, Sheryl, out at the barn Sunday morning.
“I think that’s the best horse I’ve bred in 30 years,” Schwartz said. “He’s by Street Cry out of Nothing But Fun, who won the Victory Ride and the Cotillion.”