Can Break Even Stay Undefeated? Stay Tuned for Today’s G2 Prioress Stakes at Saratoga

(Break Even at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Unbeaten in six starts, Klein Racing’s 3-year-old filly Break Even will look to keep her perfect record intact as the 1-2 morning line favorite in the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress.

The Country Day filly impressively won her debut over an off track by five lengths in January at Fair Grounds. She followed with an allowance victory before capturing the Purple Martin at Oaklawn Park and went on to win the Grade 2 Eight Belles in May at Churchill by five lengths and the Jersey Girl in June at Belmont Park.

Entering the Prioress off a one-length win in the Coronation Cup on July 14 on the turf, conditioner Brad Cox said she has trained forwardly heading into Saturday’s race, most recently breezing four furlongs in 49.66 seconds in her final work on the Saratoga main track last week Saturday after shipping in from Churchill Downs.

“She’s doing really well and has settled in fine,” said Cox. “She’s always been a talented filly. She’s certainly shown her ability, being able to win on both surfaces. Returning to the dirt, she has a lot of speed, so tactically, at least on paper it looks like we can take advantage of that, but we’ll just let do her thing as she hasn’t made any mistakes so far.”

Shaun Bridgmohan, who has piloted Break Even in five of her six starts, will guide Break Even from post 3.

LNJ Foxwoods multiple graded stakes winner Covfefe,who won the Grade 1 Longines Test on August 3 in her most recent start, has continued to flourish and will target the Dogwood on September 21 at Churchill.

The daughter of Into Mischief has three wins from four starts this year including an eye catching 8 ½ length win in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on May 17.

“She had a fantastic first work back last Friday,” said Cox. “We’ll continue to get her ready in pointing for the Dogwood.”

Lastly, Cox said 2018 Champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl continued to do well eyeing a return sometime soon after posting her second work at Churchill last Saturday completing four furlongs in 48.20 seconds.

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Preservationist looks to make amends in G1 Woodward

Centennial Farms’ Preservationist will look to regroup in Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward presented by NYRA Bets at nine furlongs on the Saratoga main.

The 6-year-old son of Arch posted a three-furlong blowout on Thursday morning over the Oklahoma training track which he completed in 36.66 seconds. In his previous work last Thursday, he went six furlongs in 1:13.30.

A five-time winner of nine starts, Preservationist won his stakes debut two starts back in the 10-furlong Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park over dual Grade 1-winner Catholic Boy, where he registered a 108 Beyer Speed Figure. Last out, Preservationist set the pace in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Whitney, before retreating to fourth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths to McKinzie.

“He pulled up [from the Whitney] well and it looks like he’s training well. We blew him out a little this morning and his work last week was good, so we’re taking another shot,” said trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who saddled Shaman Ghost to a Woodward victory in 2016.

Jerkens said he is pleased with post 5 for Preservationist in the Woodward, where he will he will again be piloted by Junior Alvarado.

“A mile and an eighth around two turns is different from a mile and a quarter around a turn and a half,” said Jerkens. “The key to those races is to have an easy rhythm. That’s not always going to work out, but he’s got a nice post. He can tuck in a little and save some ground and make a gradual run from there on. Hopefully he’s good enough.”

The Woodward field features two Grade 1 winners in Vino Rosso and last year’s Woodward victory Yoshida, but Jerkens said multiple New York-bred stakes winner Mr. Buff is a possible concern with speed from the inside post.

“Mr. Buff, from his post, he’s certainly the speed of the race. He’s dangerous if he can dictate,” Jerkens said. “He’s improved a lot since last year. He showed, even in the debacle last time, he got hung up in the gate, broke in a tangle and still won. He shows he’s got something more to him than previously thought.”

Jerkens said he isn’t concerned about bringing Preservationist back four weeks after his Whitney outing.

“A lot of people like to wait for the next one but a lot can happen to horses in seven weeks’ time, so as long as you think you’re doing well, you might as well take a shot,” Jerkens said.

Preservationist broke his maiden at third asking, two starts after emerging off of a 16-month layoff. After defeating winners for the first time last February, he did not return to action until 11 months later where he ran third. Since that effort, he has won three of his last four starts.

Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, Preservationist is out of the Dixieland Band broodmare Flying Dixie, who is a half-sister to dual turf graded stakes winner Hungry Island.

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Art of Almost joins third leg of Turf Tiara

Frederick Seitz, Jon Kelly, Danny Ward, and Theodore Folkerth’s multiple graded-stakes placed Art of Almost is among the 10 fillies invited to the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational, third and final leg of the newly-minted Turf Tiara.

Trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, Art of Almost arrives at the 1 3/8-mile inner turf test set for September 7 at Belmont Park from a strong third in the Grade 3 Pucker Up, when closing from last of 11 to finish a head back of runner-up Princesa Carolina, who is also among the Jockey Club Oaks invitees.

“She ran a good race in the Pucker Up. She didn’t get a very good start there, which probably hurt her, but it was a good race,” said Attfield.

Attfield said he is leaning towards the Jockey Club Oaks, but has also nominated Art of Almost to the $350,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks on September 8 at Kentucky Downs.

“This seems like a good spot for her. We’re not sure yet, but I think we’ll probably head to New York,” said Attfield. “If we come, Javier Castellano will ride her there.”

The dark bay daughter of Dansili, who boasts a record of 2-2-4 from 9 starts, broke through in her sixth start when routing 1 1/16-miles on May 24 on the Woodbine Tapeta. She followed up with a 4 1/2-length score in a nine-furlong allowance on June 15 at the Etobicoke, Ontario oval before stepping into stakes company for the first time when a good third in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at 10 furlongs on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Attfield said the lightly-built Art of Almost is in good order following her Pucker Up effort.

“She’s just a little, slight filly that likes a route of ground,” said Attfield. “She’s doing very well right now. She’s not a great shipper, but we think she’ll be okay. I won’t probably work her at all. I’ll just gallop her along to the race. She’s a slight filly and doesn’t need a whole lot of work.”

Should Attfield ship the Kentucky-bred Art of Almost to Belmont, it will allow the veteran conditioner a crack at the track and world record for 1 3/8-miles on the inner turf of 2:10.26 set by his 1989 Canadian Horse of the Year With Approval in the 1990 Bowling Green. That course record eclipsed the mark of 2:11 2-5 set in the 1979 Bowling Green by fellow Canadian Horse of the Year Overskate.

“I watched that race again just the other day. It’s a world record and it’s still holding after nearly 30 years,” said Attfield. “It’s quite amazing really. He was a wonderful horse.”

Concrete Rose, who won the first two legs of the newly minted Turf Triple series – the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational and Saratoga Oaks – will miss the final leg due to a hairline fracture in her right foreleg.

Others invited for the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational include Desert Ride [Neil Howard], Dyna Passer [Tom Albertrani], Edisa [Alain de Royer-Dupre], Love So Deep [Jane Chapple-Hyam], Mercilla [Graham Motion], Princesa Carolina [Ken McPeek], Romantic Pursuit [Kiaran McClaughlin], Wildlife [Victoria Oliver] and Wonderment [Nicolas Clement].

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Mandatory payouts slated for Closing Day Monday at Saratoga

The historic Saratoga summer meet comes to a close on Monday with a card highlighted by the Grade 1, $350,000 Runhappy Hopeful and the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch.

The lucrative card will be an attractive one for bettors with mandatory payouts slated for the Early and Late Pick 5 as well as the Empire 6, which boasts a carryover of $415,299 heading into Thursday’s card.

The Empire 6 features a $0.20 bet minimum paired with a 20 percent takeout and has provided horseplayers with consistently large payouts since it was added to the wagering menu on August 7. On three of the 15 days the Empire 6 has paid out five figure totals including $37,064 on August 21; $25,145 on August 14 and $12,547 on August 18.

The Empire 6 requires the bettor to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card. It was added to the NYRA wagering menu on August 7 and will be offered on live race days at all NYRA tracks.

If one unique ticket exists, then 100% of the net pool, plus the jackpot carryover if applicable, will be paid to the winner. If there is no unique wager selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, then 75% of the day’s net pool will be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races. The remainder will be added into the jackpot and carried to the next day’s Empire 6.

Live racing will then shift to Belmont Park for the 37-day Belmont fall meet, including 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purse money – an increase of $1.45 million over 2018 – starting at Belmont Park from September 6 to October 6, and concluding at Aqueduct Racetrack, with Belmont at the Big A from October 11 through October 27.

Beginning on Friday, September 6, weekday live racing at Belmont Park will feature a first post time of 3 p.m., while Saturdays and Sundays will feature a first post of 1 p.m.

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Tenth annual Run For The Horses 5K to be held Saturday

The 10th annual 5K run/walk for the Horses and Kids’ Fun Run will be held Saturday morning at the Orenda Pavilion at Saratoga State Park.

The event, which will feature a dozen former race horses throughout the course, is designed to raise awareness about aftercare for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. There are hundreds of former racehorses in the Capital Region in the care of numerous aftercare organizations that includes the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, New Vocations, ReRun and Heading for Home.

The sanctioned 5K run/walk registration is $30 while the children’s race registration is $5. Check-in begins at 7 a.m. with the half-mile kids’ run starting at 8 a.m. followed by the 5K race at 8:30 a.m. Each 5K participant will receive a t-shirt.

Along with the races, leashed dogs and their handlers can compete in the canine division. Refreshments and prizes will be available in all race/walk and canine divisions. For more event information, to register or volunteer, please visit www.trfinc.org/event/run-for-the-horses-5k

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Opening Weekend Belmont Park stakes probables

Saturday, September 7
$1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational
Probable: A Thread of Blue (Kiaran McLaughlin); Current (Todd Pletcher); Henley’s Joy (Mike Maker); Pedro Cara (Mauricio Decker Sanchez); San Humberto (Fabrice Chappet); Social Paranoia (Pletcher); Spanish Mission (David Simcock); Tone Broke (Steve Asmussen)
Possible: Digital Age (Chad Brown); Value Engineering (Brown)

$1 million Jockey Club Oaks Invitational
Probable: Art of Almost (Roger Attfield); Desert Ride (Neil Howard); Dyna Passer (Tom Albertrani); Edisa (Alain de Royer-Dupre); Love So Deep (Jane Chapple-Hyam); Romantic Pursuit (McLaughlin); Wonderment (Nicolas Clement)

$300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational
Probable: Carlino (Mark Hennig); Highland Sky (Barclay Tagg); Marconi (Pletcher); Realm (Tagg); You’re to Blame (Pletcher)
Possible: Rocketry (Jimmy Jerkens)

Sunday, September 8
$100,000 Allied Forces
Probable: Achilles Warrior (Hennig); Carotari (Brian Lynch); No Bang No Boom (Wesley Ward); Pulsate (Bobby Ribaudo); Pyron ( Asmussen)
Possible: Elektronic (Linda Rice); Mucho (Bill Mott); Sayyaaf (Brown)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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