(Chester Thomas / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Allied Racing Stables’ Chester Thomas will celebrate his first starter at Saratoga Race Course when By My Standards bursts from the gate as one of five millionaires in Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney, a 1 1/8-mile test for 4-year-olds and upward.
Whitney Day will feature three Grade 1 events, led by the historic Whitney, with an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7 at Keeneland on the line. The card is bolstered by the Grade 1, $500,000 Personal Ensign presented by NYRA Bets, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November; and the Grade 1, $300,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy for 3-year-olds sprinting seven furlongs. The stakes-laden card also includes the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green for 4-year-olds and up on the turf and the $200,000 Caress, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares. The card will be broadcast on Saratoga Live beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern on FOX Sports and MSG Networks.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, the son of leading third-crop sire Goldencents has already given Thomas a couple of “firsts” in providing the Kentucky native with a first graded stakes win in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby last March at Fair Grounds, which propelled him to the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby – Thomas’ first starter in the ‘Run for the Roses’ – where he was elevated to 11th.
By My Standards arrives at the Whitney off a runner-up effort to Toms d’Etat, the Whitney’s 6-5 morning line favorite, in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster on June 27 at Churchill Downs where he tracked the pace but was unable to catch the leader, who set a tepid pace under Miguel Mena.
“Our horse came out of the race very well,” Thomas said. “He kept his weight up and we’re competitive and we like to win, but these races aren’t easy. Toms d’Etat ran a huge race at Churchill. I give Miguel Mena a lot of credit, he took control of the race right out of the gate. The fractions were fairly slow at the beginning, and you aren’t chasing a horse like that down with those kinds of fractions. Coming in second is not bad, so we’re looking forward to trying again.”
Following the Kentucky Derby, By My Standards received a freshening but returned with a six-length optional claiming victory at Fair Grounds which he followed up with Grade 2 scores in the New Orleans Classic and Oaklawn Handicap.
“He’s by far better than he was last year. He was coming into himself very well,” Thomas said. “The Louisiana Derby shocked everybody, and we thought he had a real shot in the race back then. The Derby was hard on him and we gave him all the time off he needed. He got his foot issues squared away and Bret has been meticulous with everything he’s done.”
By My Standards defeated eight graded stakes winners, including subsequent Grade 2 Suburban victor Tacitus in the Oaklawn Handicap, registering a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.
“The races haven’t gotten any easier, especially the Oaklawn Handicap. That was a stacked race,” said Thomas. “We’re excited to be a part of it and hopefully we can get our first Saratoga win.”
Thomas, who also owns multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Money and stakes winner Mr. Big News with Calhoun, said he hopes for another strong race on Saturday from By My Standards.
“Bret has done just a beautiful job. The horse has come back and is doing really well,” Thomas said. “No doubt this is a very tough race even with only five horses. They’re all very, very good horses. Code of Honor is clearly a super horse. Toms d’Etat is a super horse, so it’s going to take a super horse to win that race Saturday.”
Thomas could double up his Saratoga starters with Mr. Big News, who is a possibility for the $500,000 Saratoga Derby, part of the Turf Triple Series for 3-year-olds at 1 3/16-miles on August 15.
“His pedigree screams turf,” Thomas said of the sophomore son of Giant’s Causeway, who won the Oaklawn Stakes two starts back. “In the Blue Grass, he stumbled out of the gate and the track was speed-biased. It might be a good time to look at turf racing with him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corporation, Mr. Big News is out of the Galileo mare Unappeased, who is a half to multiple graded stakes winner on grass Sligo Bay.
Defending champion Come Dancing breezes Friday for Ballerina (G1) return
Blue Devil Racing Stable’s homebred millionaire mare Come Dancing, on an unprecedented three-racing losing streak, breezed a sharp five furlongs Friday morning over Saratoga’s main track in her final prep for the Grade 1, $300,000 Ballerina presented by NYRA Bets on August 8.
The seven-furlong Ballerina for fillies and mares 3 and up is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in November at Keeneland. Last year’s Ballerina was the third graded victory in four starts for Come Dancing, and first in Grade 1 company. She ran sixth in the Breeders’ Cup.
With Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano aboard, Come Dancing was timed in 1:00.82 over the main track in her second work since arriving in Saratoga. She went another five-eighths in 1:00.44 on July 21.
“I thought it was really good,” trainer Carlos Martin said. “Javier got her to relax this morning. She went in 23 and 4, a minute and two, just cruising. She cooled out and didn’t turn a hair, so we’re optimistic that we can defend our title on August 8.”
With options limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, Come Dancing was sent to Arkansas for her season debut in April, finishing far back in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom. The 6-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon was second as the favorite in her most recent effort, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Victim of Love in the Grade 3 Vagrancy going 6 ½ furlongs on June 27 at Belmont Park.
Martin is pleased with the way his stable star is coming up to the Ballerina, with works very different from the two bullets Come Dancing fired ahead of the Vagrancy. He is also anxious to have her back in Saratoga where she is 2-for-3 lifetime.
“She had gone real fast before the Vagrancy, and it was kind of a funny race with the track. It kind of rained, stopped raining, and rained right before the race,” Martin said. “The filly that won the race, everybody thinks she drifted but I think [jockey Jose] Lezcano wanted to be out there. We wound up going to the inside. I didn’t think it was a bad effort. Of course, I’m disappointed that she got beat, but she loves Saratoga and she’s been thriving up here. We’ll see what we can do.”
If more aggressive heading into her previous start, Come Dancing has settled back into a more predictable training pattern ahead of the Ballerina, Martin said.
“She fooled us twice, she never did that before,” Martin said. “She’s a 6-year-old mare, she knows her job. We slowed her down with the regular boy the last two works. I told Javier [today], ‘Just trick her and get her off the inside and just keep her in the middle of the track and then bring her in a little bit,’ and that’s what he did. She looked good. She was just on cruise control. At this point, mentally and physically is the main thing with these older mares.”
Later Friday morning, Martin sent Jay Oringer, Jack Bick and Madaket Stables’ multiple stakes winner Piedi Bianchi out for a work over the Oklahoma training turf. The 5-year-old Overanalyze mare went four furlongs in 51.30 seconds.
“She looked good,” Martin said. “I don’t work too many on the grass, but she went in 51 and finished up pretty good. They got her in something like [:11 4/5] the last eighth, so it looked like she was moving pretty fluid over it.”
Winner of the six-furlong Correction on March 14 at Aqueduct, her second start with Martin off more than a year layoff, Piedi Bianchi was most recently third behind 2018 3-year-old filly champion Monomoy Girl in the Grade 3 Ruffian on July 11 at Belmont. After opening 2020 with back-to-back wins, she was sixth in the Harmony Lodge on June 5 following the coronavirus shutdown.
“She had a few little minor issues. They gave her some time at WinStar Farm and her first two races [back] she ran great. She ran a little flat at Belmont after the whole stuff that happened,” Martin said. “We took a shot in the Ruffian. It was a tough race with Monomoy Girl. She made a big run around the turn and flattened out a little bit at the end. She would have probably been beaten five instead of nine but she lost a shoe at the eighth pole. She worked good the other day on the dirt and today she worked good on the grass.”
Martin is targeting the $100,000 Perfect Sting for older females going 1 1/16 miles on turf August 14 at Saratoga for Piedi Bianchi’s next start. She has one previous race on the grass, running sixth in the 7 ½-furlong South Beach in January 2019 at Gulfstream Park for previous trainer Todd Pletcher.
Outadore, a 2-year-old half-brother to Piedi Bianchi out of the mare Adore You, was an easy debut winner of a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint on July 26 at Saratoga for trainer Wesley Ward.
“I’m going to probably take a shot and look at the Perfect Sting with her,” Martin said. “I think the Perfect Sting makes sense, to give her another chance. She ran once for Todd on the grass, she got beat four, five lengths against a tough field and then she had the break after that. I’m optimistic. The dam looks like she gets some horses that do turf, so let’s give it a shot.”
Connections ‘seriously thinking’ Travers (G1) for recent acquisition South Bend
Having recently been purchased and moved to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, stakes-winning sophomore South Bend is being pointed to the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers August 8 at Saratoga as the debut for his new connections.
Campaigned by Sagamore Farm through his first 11 starts, including a victory in the Street Sense last fall at Churchill Downs and Grade 3 placings on both turf and dirt, South Bend was acquired by a partnership group that includes Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel, Peter Deutsch and Leonard Schleifer of Pantofel Stable.
“I think that’s one of the reasons they bought him,” Mott said. “He looks good on both surfaces.”
Mott said the focus for now is on dirt, namely the 1 ¼-mile Mid-Summer Derby, the centerpiece of the Saratoga meet being contested for the 151st time but first as a point qualifier for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby September 5.
“We’re leaning toward the Travers. The partnership group wants to have a good look at that,” Mott said. “We’re seriously thinking of the Travers right now. He’ll work probably the first part of the week.”
South Bend has already had one breeze for Mott, a half-mile move in 49.12 seconds on July 27 over the Oklahoma training track, fifth-fastest of 31 horses at the distance. Third in the Grade 3 Palm Beach in February at Gulfstream Park in his second try on turf, the bay Algorithms colt exits a rallying runner-up finish in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby on June 27 at Thistledown in his return to dirt, posting a career-high 94 Beyer Speed Figure.
“We breezed him the one time. We like the horse, he’s doing well,” Mott said. “He’s a nice horse to train. He moves well and he worked well for us. I’m happy with him.”
On Saturday, Mott will send out multiple Grade 1 winner Channel Maker for Barber, Wachtel, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and R. A. Hill Stable in the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green. The gelded 6-year-old son of grass champion English Channel drew post 5 of seven in the 1 3/8-mile event for 4-year-olds and up on the inner turf course.
With Mott since the spring of 2017, Channel Maker owns a 5-5-3 career record with nearly $2.2 million in purse earnings from 33 starts. He earned his first graded victory in a dead-heat triumph with Glorious Empire in the 2018 Bowling Green, winning the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic that fall and the Grade 1 Man o’ War the following spring, each at Belmont Park.
Channel Maker has gone winless since the Man o’ War, a stretch of nine races, all but one in Grade 1 or Grade 2 company. Three of those losses have come by a length or less, the most recent coming last out when he finished fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan on July 4 at Belmont.
“Sometimes he’s been a little overmatched, but when he finds the right group he’s competitive,” Mott said. “He seems to be doing well. He’s run over this course OK. He’s competitive when he fires his best shot and gets the right trip. We’re happy with him and we’re optimistic.”
Got Stormy tunes up for Fourstardave (G1) with bullet turf breeze Friday
Gary Barber’s multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Got Stormy, still seeking her first win of the season, fired a bullet work over the Oklahoma training turf course Friday morning ahead of her expected title defense in the Grade 1, $400,000 Fourstardave August 22.
The 5-year-old Get Stormy mare went out just before 10 a.m. and was clocked in 1:00.50 over the firm going, fastest of nine horses at the distance. It was her second work since arriving in Saratoga and first on the grass; she breezed a half-mile in 48.32 seconds on the main track July 22.
“I’m happy with the work,” Jamie Begg, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said. “Some races she’s been getting a little bit aggressive up front, so we started her off slow and let her come home with a good kick, and she did it well. We’re very pleased.”
Got Stormy capped 2019 with a popular victory in the Matriarch last December at Del Mar, her second career Grade 1 triumph. The first came last summer over males in the one-mile Fourstardave, a “Win and You’re In” race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile in November at Keeneland.
“I think track condition could maybe play a role in whether or not we go that route,” Begg said, “but that’s where we’re initially pointing at this point.”
Second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, Got Stormy has eight wins, four seconds, three thirds and more than $1.5 million in purse earnings from 22 lifetime starts. She is undefeated at Saratoga, capturing the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose – her only ungraded race in the last 11 – prior to her 2 ½-length triumph in last year’s Fourstardave.
Got Stormy opened this year running fourth in the Grade 3 Endeavour at Tampa Bay Downs, then shipped cross country and finished second in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile March 7 at Santa Anita. Given a brief freshening, she was fourth in the Grade 3 Beaugay June 3 and Grade 3 Poker July 4, both at Belmont Park.
The connections are hoping a return to one of her favorite surfaces, plus a spate of good weather, will prove the right combination to get Got Stormy back on the winning track. Prior to her current stretch, she had never lost more than two consecutive races.
“She clearly really likes this turf course,” Begg said. “It was a little wet earlier in the meet but there’s been a little less rain recently. I think it’s starting to dry out because speed’s been holding a little better on it. We’ll see. Hopefully it keeps going that way and we’ll get a good race out of her.”
Mystic Guide possible for Runhappy Travers (G1)
Godolphin homebred Mystic Guide, a closing third last out in the Grade 3 Peter Pan on Opening Day at the Spa, is under consideration for the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers, trainer Mike Stidham said.
Mystic Guide will have his first breeze back Saturday at Stidham’s base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland and will work with blinkers on.
“The Travers is a possibility. He’ll work tomorrow and we’ll know more after he works,” said Stidham. “Ultimately, he has to put himself in a better position early. You can’t win those types of races with that much to do late in the race. Our goal was to try blinkers on him and see what type of response he gives, so we can try to be a little bit closer.”
By Ghostzapper, the royally-bred colt is out of five-time Grade 1-winner Music Note who was runner-up in the 2008 Grade 1 Alabama and victorious in the 2009 Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga.
Mystic Guide made his first two starts at Fair Grounds including a debut third in a six-furlong sprint in February ahead of a five-length maiden score when travelling 1 1/16-miles on March 21 that earned an 84 Beyer.
The colt was expected to make his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs on May 23, but altered course to avoid a showdown with fellow Godolphin runner Maxfield, who won the event in fine fashion for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Mystic Guide was re-routed to Belmont for a 1 1/16-mile June 4 allowance tilt where he rallied to finish second behind Tap It to Win with eventual Peter Pan victor and likely Runhappy Travers rival Country Grammer 1 1/2-lengths back in third.
With Jose Ortiz aboard for the first time in the Peter Pan, Mystic Guide settled in eighth position in the nine-furlong event before tipping into the four-path for the stretch run and rallying to finish third, 3 1/2-lengths back of the victorious Country Grammer, who was a neck better than Caracaro.
The probable field for the Runhappy Travers includes Caracaro (Gustavo Delgado), Country Grammer (Chad Brown), Max Player (Linda Rice), Shivaree (Ralph Nicks), Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg), Uncle Chuck (Bob Baffert). South Bend (Mott) is listed as possible.
Godolphin homebred Alms, a sophomore daughter of City Zip, was undefeated in her first four starts, including scores in the Grade 3 Matron in October at Belmont and the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante in November at Del Mar, which kicked off a run of four straight turf stakes contest at one mile.
Following a win in the Shantel Lanerie in February at Fair Grounds to kick off her campaign, Alms was fifth in the Tepin in May at Churchill ahead of a prominent third, defeated just a head, in the Grade 2 Appalachian on July 11 at Keeneland.
Stidham said Alms is under consideration for the Grade 3, $100,000 Lake George at one mile on the Saratoga turf for sophomore fillies on August 28.
“I think anything up to a mile is where she wants to be. I don’t think she wants to go past that,” said Stidham. “She ran hard in the Appalachian and still had a shot to win it inside the sixteenth pole but just came up a little short. She’s an athletic, agile filly and I think she’ll like the turns up on the turf up there [at Saratoga].”
Woodward (G1) among options for Funny Guy
Trainer John Terranova reported that Thursday’s John Morrissey victor Funny Guy emerged from his fourth stakes triumph in good order.
Owned by Gatsas Thoroughbreds, R. A. Hill Stable and Swick Stable, the 4-year-old Big Brown colt has won both of his starts this year in taking the Commentator going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park en route to a seven-furlong victory in the Morrissey.
A stakes winner at distances ranging from 6 ½ furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, Funny Guy will likely have another opportunity to showcase his distance versatility in his next outing, which could take place against open company in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward on September 5 at Saratoga. His only previous effort against graded stakes company was in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby on September 29 at Remington Park, where he finished sixth.
“He looked great this morning,” Terranova said. “We’ll just see how he goes the next few weeks and figure it out. We have several options heading into the fall. He’s pretty fresh with just a couple of races. We’ll figure it out as he goes.”
Terranova was full of praise for the ultra-consistent Funny Guy, who pushed his lifetime earnings over the half-million mark to $505,145.
“He’s a really nice colt. Getting better and better and very versatile,” said Terranova. “He’s just a very happy horse to be around, very smart. He puts you where you need to be, he just knows.”
Bred in New York by Hibiscus Stables, Funny Guy is out of the Distorted Humor broodmare Heavenly Humor.
Shoplifted aims for first G1 win in H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy
Shoplifted will look to breakthrough at the top flight when he makes his fifth attempt at the Grade 1 level Saturday’s $300,000 H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the bay son of Into Mischief was third to fellow Allen Jerkens aspirant No Parole in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens last out, where he registered a career-best 90 Beyer. As a 2-year-old, he earned Grade 1 black type in his second start with a runner-up finish to stable mate Basin in the Grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful.
Shoplifted will be in search of a third career win and his first since taking the Springboard Mile on December 15 at Remington Park.
“One turn appears to be what he’s best at,” said Everett Dobson of Cheyenne Stables, who owns Shoplifted in partnership with Grandview Stables and L N J Foxwoods. “He ran well on debut up there and ran well in the Hopeful. My guess is that he’s up to a one-turn mile type of horse. In this race, he’ll need some racing luck, but he’s capable and he’s very talented. We think a lot of him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Craig Brogden and Carrie Brogden, Shoplifted was an $800,000 purchase from the Fasig-Tipton March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. He is out of the Yes It’s True broodmare Shopit.
Tax targeting Keeneland return
Trainer Danny Gargan reported that dual graded stakes winner Tax is moving another step closer to a return to action and will likely make his comeback start in the Grade 2 Fayette in October at Keeneland.
Owned by R A Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, the gelded son of Arch has not raced since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on May 2.
Tax logged his first work since his last start when breezing three furlongs in 36.55 seconds over the Saratoga main track on July 26.
“He’ll work here again in a couple of days, I’ll take him to Keeneland in the fall, for the Fayette most likely, that’s what we’re pointing towards,” Gargan said. “He was in training for a long time, so we gave him a little over two months off.”
Tax, bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, won the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct and Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga last season, which was his last trip to the winner’s circle. He was claimed by Gargan after winning his second start for a $50,000 tag going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs.
Saturday Rookie Report: Catalano debuts half-brother to graded stakes winners Carpe Diem, Farrell; Ward hopeful in King of Miami on grass
Whitney Day’s 12-race program at Saratoga Race Course will kick off when a field of nine juveniles go into line for a six-furlong maiden special weight event over the main track.
Trainer Wayne Catalano will saddle a well-bred first time starter in Regular Guy.
Owned and bred by Bob Cummings and Annette Bacola’s Coffeepot Stables, the dark bay son of Bernardini is out of the Unbridled’s Song broodmare Rebridled Dreams, making him a half-brother to Grade 1-winner Carpe Diem as well as five-time graded stakes-winning millionaire Farrell, the latter of which also was trained by Catalano.
“Farrell was a little more headstrong, but this horse is pretty cool and laid back,” Catalano said. “They both have talent, but he’s got to go out there and prove it. She’s done it all. Obviously, it’s a very beautiful family.”
Another prominent members of the family is grand dam Key Cents, who was a two-time stakes winner on the NYRA circuit. Regular Guy is also a direct descendant of Hall of Famer Twilight Tear, who was the first filly to be named Horse of the Year in 1944.
Regular Guy has recorded two breezes over the Saratoga main track, the latter of which was a five-furlong drill in 1:00.40 on Wednesday morning.
“He’s training well. We’re happy with him. It’s a short meet so we’re trying to get a race into him to see how good he is,” Catalano said. “They [Bob Cummings and Annette Bacola] are such wonderful people. They’re like family. They give me their horses and we’ve had some wonderful success.”
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione will ride Regular Guy from post 5.
Trainer Christophe Clement will send out first-time starter Venerable for Jump Sucker Stable, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.
The bay son of Tiznow is the third progeny out of dual turf stakes-winning Giant’s Causeway mare Coarsegold and was purchased for $410,000 from the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Woodford Stable.
Venerable comes from the same family as multiple-champion producing sire Unbridled’s Song. His fifth dam was graded stakes winner Lucky Spell – the grand dam of Unbridled’s Song.
“He’s a good-looking colt and an exciting prospect as of now,” Clement said. “It’s an amazingly tough race on paper, but we’ll go out there and do our best.”
Jockey Joel Rosario will pilot Venerable from post 7.
The ownership group of Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables and L N J Foxwoods will be represented by two first-time starters in Saturday’s first race with Olympiad [post 4, Junior Alvarado] and Outlier [post 6, Ricardo Santana, Jr.].
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Olympiad is by Speightstown out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Tokyo Time, who is a half-sister to multiple turf graded stakes winner Hungry Island, dirt graded stakes winner Soaring Empire as well as Flying Dixie, who produced last year’s Grade 1 Woodward winner Preservationist.
Olympiad was purchased for $700,000 from the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and was consigned by Gainesway.
“He’s been training great,” said Cheyenne Stables’ Everett Dobson. “He’s supposed to be a two turn horse so that’s our long term goal with him. Mott is particularly high on the horse and we think he’s one that has a bright future ahead of him.”
Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen will saddle Outlier, a son of highly regarded freshman sire Not This Time out of Good and Tough broodmare Tough Issie.
Purchased for $375,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Outlier’s second dam Lady Ethel is a half-sister to Sweet and Careless – the dam of Careless Jewel, who won the 2009 Grade 1 Alabama at the Spa.
“He’s really quick and I think he’s going to be fast first out. On paper the race came up pretty tough,” Dobson said.
In Race 7, juveniles will go two turns over the Mellon Turf Course for a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight.
Trainer Wesley Ward will send out King of Miami who makes his debut on grass after finishing second on debut over an off track at Belmont Park.
The bay son of 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah is owned and bred by Ward, and is out of the Afleet Alex mare Bombo Genesis who is a half-sister to multiple turf stakes winner Bound for Nowhere, who also is owned and trained by Ward.
“He’s coming back on short rest,” Ward said. “Turf is his game. I made the decision to run from the outside post at Belmont when the race came off the turf. I wish I would have scratched. He is going to be a nice colt and with the American Pharaoh influence he should appreciate the added distance.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz will be aboard King of Miami from post 7.
Hall of Famer Bill Mott will debut a well-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro for Don Alberto Stable in Sol Del Sur.
Sol Del Sur is out of the War Front broodmare Snow Fall, who is a half-sister to Upperline – a multiple graded stakes winner on turf and synthetic.
“He has always been a very well-balanced colt,” said Don Alberto Stable executive director Fabricio Buffolo. “Physically, he’s developed a lot in the past couple of months and has shown some improvement with time. He’s a horse that has been working well, Bill has worked him on the turf and thought he would be better on turf. Hopefully, he shows some improvement from the race.”
Sol Del Sur will be piloted by Junior Alvarado from post 5.
Trainer Jorge Abreu will saddle Lawrence Goichman’s Kentucky homebred Shawdyshawdyshawdy, a son of second-crop stallion Summer Front.
The bay colt is out of the Street Sense broodmare Shea Darby, who is a half to three-time graded stakes-placed Swear By It. Both are out of the Lear Fan broodmare Jesse’s Justice, who was a stakes winner over the Saratoga turf. The horse is also related to Willard Straight, who won the Troy at the Spa in 2004.
“The horse is training really well,” Abreu said. “He’s showing some ability in the morning. I breezed him on the turf and it wasn’t a fast work, but he handled it pretty well. He’s been pretty forward.”
Abreu is hopeful that Shawdyshawdyshawdy can follow in his family’s footsteps in showing affinity for the Saratoga turf.
“He’s a big horse, you never know. He can have a clean break, get tucked in and come with a run,” Abreu said.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione will pilot Shawdyshawdyshawdy from post 6.
A trio of Pick 5s and Pick 4s lined up for Saturday’s Whitney (G1) Day card
Saturday’s lucrative Whitney Day program at Saratoga will offer three Pick 5s, three Pick 4s and an enticing jackpot in the Empire 6.
The 12-race card begins at 1:10 p.m. with a field of nine maiden 2-year-olds sprinting six furlongs on the main track to kick off the first of three Pick 5 offerings. The opening Pick 5 sequence, which offers a carryover provision, will conclude in Race 5 where reigning Champion Older Dirt Female Midnight Bisou looms a possible single as the 2-5 morning-line favorite in the Personal Ensign presented by NYRA Bets.
The middle Pick 5, which offers a mandatory payout, begins in Race 6 [4:02 p.m.] with a competitive seven-furlong allowance sprint featuring last year’s Grade 1 Preakness runner-up Everfast for trainer Jack Sisterson and impressive maiden winner Mister Winston, who is conditioned by four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. The challenging middle Pick 5 sequence includes a pair of maiden allowance turf events with 2-year-olds traveling 1 1/16-miles in Race 7 and 3-year-olds and up going 11 furlongs on the inner turf in Race 8. The sequence concludes with the Grade 1 Whitney in Race 9 led by 6-5 morning-line favorite Tom’s d’Etat and a full field of 11 sophomore sprinters in the H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy in Race 10.
The Late Pick 5 sequence, which has a carryover provision, kicks off in Race 8 [5:10 p.m.] and will run through the end of the card to include the Grade 2 Bowling Green, an 11-furlong stamina test for older grass horses, in Race 11 and the contentious $200,000 Caress in Race 12, which features a field of 10 older filly and mare turf sprinters battling it out at 5 1/2-furlongs on the Mellon turf course.
Pick 4 wagering will be offered beginning in Races 2 [1:43 p.m.], 4 [2:51 p.m.], and 9 [5:42 p.m.].
The Empire 6, which boasts a jackpot of $735,632 heading into Friday’s live racing action at the Spa, kicks off Saturday in Race 7 [4:36 p.m.] The Empire 6 requires the bettor to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card. On non-mandatory payout days, if one unique ticket exists, then 100 percent 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 percent 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.