<b>Saratoga Notebook: Pletcher's Harlan's Holiday, Invisible Ink Near Returns; Clement Takes His Time; Lukas Breezes Holiday Runner</b>
Harlan's Holiday, off since running fourth in the Preakness May 18, had an easy five-furlong breeze Saturday morning on the Oklahoma Training Track.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he caught the Florida Derby and Blue Grass winner in 1:05 2/5, going the last quarter-mile in just over 25 seconds under exercise rider Judy Elias.
It was the third work for Harlan's Holiday since being transferred from Ken McPeek's barn to Pletcher by owner Jack Wolf June 5.
"It was a nice, steady breeze," Pletcher said. "He's heading in the right direction. We'll start picking up his training a little bit now. We've got three works into him, just getting his fitness back. Now we can kind of pick up the pace a little bit."
While his former stablemate, Repent, is working toward a return to racing in the $1 million Travers here August 24, Harlan's Holiday is being pointed in a different direction.
Pletcher said the "most likely possibilities" are the Pennsylvania Derby September 2 at Philadelphia Park and the Jerome Handicap Sept. 14 at Belmont Park.
"It's going to be a matter of if the 12 days is going to be a big difference," Pletcher said. "I would rather go in the Pennsylvania Derby because it gives us some more options in terms of spacing his races out after that. If he were to go in the Breeders' Cup Classic, he'd kind of be on a month program between each race, which I'd like."
After making the switch, Wolf had hoped to run Harlan's Holiday in races like the Haskell and the Travers, but Pletcher has been patient with the colt. He said the break has been beneficial.
"I think he's doing real well, condition-wise," Pletcher said. "He's put on some weight. I think the freshening has served its purpose."Invisible Ink Eyes Comeback
Invisible Ink, who worked five furlongs Friday in 1:03 on the main track, is being considered next for either the Saratoga Breeders' Cup August 17 or the Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park the following day.
Pletcher had entered Invisible Ink in a $58,000 allowance here July 29, but was forced to scratch him the day of the race with a bruised foot.
"He's doing fine," he said. "We got that healed up, but we did miss a little bit of time. We're kind of monitoring it from day to day to see if he's ready for the type of performance you need to win one of those types of races."Clement Shies from Alabama for Mariensky
Though his filly is nominated for both the Alabama (gr. I) on dirt August 17 and the Lake Placid (gr. II) on the turf August 18, trainer Christophe Clement said Saturday he is taking the conservative approach with Mariensky.
In her first start for Clement since coming over from Europe, Mariensky was third in the Lake George (gr. III) July 29, finishing third by a neck and a head to Nunatall and Guana despite having to be steadied late.
Clement said she is being pointed toward the Garden City Breeders' Cup at Belmont on September 8.
"She's all right," Clement said. "She's run very well, but she's run very hard. I wouldn't mind to give her a bit of time. She's a very good filly."
Celtic Sky, who won the West Point for New York-breds on Friday, was doing well the morning after his victory.
"He came out of it in good order. We're fine," Clement said. "He is a nice horse. He is very competitive. He always tries."
Celtic Sky came from behind to run down pacesetter Reluctant Groom and win the West Point by a nose. Clement said his next likely start could come in the Mohawk Handicap October 19 at Belmont.
"We'll see how he comes out of it and then decide," he said. "He is a fun horse to train because he gives you a run for your money." Lukas Breezes Adirondack-Bound FillyUndefeated filly Holiday Runner is coming into Monday's Adirondack (gr. II) in good order, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.
She breezed five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 this week at Oklahoma, working toward her first start since winning the Flash Stakes by a head June 6 at Belmont Park, her second straight stakes victory.
"She's been fine," Lukas said. "She's been training real sharp."
Lukas opted to keep Holiday Runner out of the Schuylerville on opening day, July 24, in favor of the Adirondack, run at 6 1/2 furlongs. Her performance will dictate whether she comes back in the Spinaway (gr. I) on August 30.
"We shipped up here a little late, and I didn't think we had enough time to get her ready for that race, so we skipped the first one," Lukas said. "She's doing fine now."
The Spinaway remains "a possibility," Lukas said, "but we have to see how we come out of this one first. It's a long fall, and I don't want to wear her out now."
Odds & EndsTake Charge Lady went four furlongs in 48 seconds for McPeek Saturday on the main track. "She's doing good," he said. "We're kind of easing her into things." ... Repent is on the work tab Sunday morning ... Trainer Mark Hennig put several of his stars through their paces Saturday: Gygistar (1:00 4/5), Raging Fever (1:02, handily) and Summer Colony (1:00 4/5) all went five-eighths on the main track ... Affirmed Success will have his first work since arriving in Saratoga late last month in the next week to 10 days, trainer Rich Schosberg said Saturday. The multiple stakes-winning millionaire will be nominated to the Forego (gr. I) September 1, as well as the Atto Mile at Woodbine.
Copyright © 2013 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.