Saratoga Notebook: Sky Mesa Update; Surgery for Heckle; Plans Uncertain for Hennig Pair; Shine Again May Go Long

Saratoga Notebook: Sky Mesa Update; Surgery for Heckle; Plans Uncertain for Hennig Pair; Shine Again May Go Long
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Shine Again, being stretched out by Jerkens.
By Mike Kane and
Phil Janack

Sky Mesa may not miss a day of training while recovering from a bruised hoof, an injury he suffered while finishing last in the Travers (gr. I) Stakes on Saturday.

The injury was discovered Sunday afternoon when some heat was detected in the inside quarter of the Pulpit colt's left front foot.

Ward said the injury had not worsened overnight Monday.

"He walked under tack today," Ward said Tuesday morning. "It was a little bit tender in the left front and we're going to see how he is. We might jog him a little bit in the morning. We'll see how he is tomorrow, but we would like to get him back to the racetrack, if possible. We'll just have to see how he comes along day by day. That's all you can do."

Unless Sky Mesa is still too sore to jog, Ward said he will go out to the Oklahoma training track Wednesday morning on schedule, the fourth day following a race.

Sky Mesa was unbeaten in three starts as a 2-year-old. An ankle injury forced him to skip the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and he missed the Triple Crown series with a heel injury. Sky Mesa ran third in the Dwyer (gr. II) on July 6 in his first start of 2003. He was second to Peace Rules in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 3.

At the conclusion of his 3-year-old season, Sky Mesa will be retired to stud at Three Chimneys Farm.

Future Uncertain for Hennig Pair
As a result of their recent efforts, the future for multiple stakes-winning fillies Raging Fever and Summer Colony is up in the air.

Trainer Mark Hennig said that he and owner Edward Evans would examine what to do with the pair, both 5-year-olds coming off disappointing losses.

"I think both of them have run as though they've lost a step," Hennig said. "We're going to evaluate it. We don't want to overrun them through the end of the year. They'll obviously both be bred. We may give both of them another opportunity to get back on track and, if that doesn't work out, we'll probably go ahead and let them freshen up before they are bred. They're both grade I winners and they've both made over a million dollars. It's just a matter of whether it's just been circumstances or whether they've kind of turned the biological clock forward and they're ready to go off to their next occupation."

Hennig said he was not displeased with the way Gold Mover ran while finishing third in the Ballerina (gr. I) on Sunday.

"I thought she did her typical gutsy performance," he said. "She always gives a hundred percent, and that's all you can ask."

Raging Fever, who has won just one of her last 10 races, was third as the 6-5 favorite in a six-furlong allowance Aug. 18, unable to run down the leaders under topweight of 123 pounds. It was the first time she competed outside of stakes company since breaking her maiden in her debut on May 25, 2000.

"Maybe I ran her back a little quick off that last race. It's not really what we normally do with her," Hennig said. "I wouldn't hesitate to run her in another allowance race if it was the right condition so that she has an opportunity to run through those filly and mare sprint stakes through the fall at Aqueduct.

Summer Colony was fourth of five, beaten nearly nine lengths as the second betting choice in the Aug. 22 Personal Ensign (gr. I), a race she won last year. She has won just once in her six starts since her 2002 Personal Ensign triumph.

"Maybe we'll test her a little more just to see if we need to move forward if she's going to go on to the Breeders' Cup," Hennig said. "If she doesn't run in the Breeders' Cup, there's really not much reason to keep going forward with her, if she's not going to be able to compete at that level. They don't have to prove anything."

In the Ballerina, Gold Mover finished two lengths behind winner Harmony Lodge and Shine Again, who were a nose apart at the wire.

Harmony Lodge beat Gold Mover in the Shirley Jones (gr. III) in February at Gulfstream, but Gold Mover won their last meeting in the Princess Rooney (gr. II) at Calder in July under an aggressive ride by Edgar Prado.

"I would have liked to have seen her just go on," Hennig said. "In Florida, the first time we ran against Harmony Lodge, we were a little bit short but she was the lone speed in the race and ended up beating us that way. The next time we were in, Prado was on her, and he came to the paddock and said, 'I'm going to take the race to her. I think we're on a better horse. If no one else puts the pressure on, then I will.' He did, and we were actually in front of her (Harmony Lodge) that day."

Eibar Coa, who hadn't ridden the filly since last March, got the Ballerina mount with both Prado and Jerry Bailey at Del Mar for the Pacific Classic (gr. I). Coa kept Gold Mover in the middle of the pack before making a late run.

Heckle Has Minor Surgery
Heckle, who ran last in the July 24 Sanford Stakes (gr. II), had minor surgery last week to remove a small chip from his right front ankle and is done for the year, said trainer Todd Pletcher.

The 2-year-old colt owned by Dogwood Stable came down with a sore shin following a recent workout and was examined on Aug. 18 at Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington. The chip was discovered during a nuclear bone scan and subsequent radiology.

"I'd say he'd be back and ready to run at the beginning of Gulfstream," Pletcher said.

Heckle, a son of Hennessy, was purchased for $90,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland July sale. He broke his maiden by 12 lengths at Keeneland on April 18, finished fourth in the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes on May 3 and won the Tremont (gr. III) at Belmont Park on June 28.

Shine Again May Go Long
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens said that he may try stretching out Shine Again in the 1 1/16th miles Ruffian (gr. I) on Sept. 13. Shine Again failed to win the Ballerina (gr. I) for a third straight year Sunday when she finished second by a nose to Harmony Lodge.

"She doesn't have that burning desire of going to the lead. So, I know she can rate kindly," Jerkens said. "I think a mile would be better for her, but we'll try her at a mile and a sixteenth."

Jerkens is also considering Passing Shot for the Ruffian. Passing Shot upset Wild Spirit by a nose in the Personal Ensign on Aug. 22.

Among the races Jerkens is looking at for Puzzlement, winner of the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) are the Woodward (gr. I) and the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II).

AROUND THE SPA
Todd Pletcher's juvenile fillies, Schuylerville (gr. II) winner Ashado and Daydreaming will both run in the Spinaway (gr. I) on Friday... United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) winner Balto Star worked a half-mile in :48 3/5 Monday morning. Pletcher said the 5-year-old will run next in either the Man o' War (gr. IT) or the Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) on Sept 13. at Turfway Park... Trainer Ken McPeek said Deb's Charm, a maiden winner on Aug. 9, will miss the Spinaway after spiking a temperature on Saturday. McPeek said the fever was detected after Deb's Charm breezed five furlongs in 1:04, the slowest of six works at the Oklahoma training track. "She didn't work that well, and she scoped bad," McPeek said. "She's had some respiratory problems.... Trainer Dennis Manning said that Valid Video came out of his victory in the King's Bishop (gr. I) in great shape and will be trained up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Oct. 25... Horses considered definite starters Sunday's Forego (gr. I) are Aldebaran, Gygistar, Highway Prospector, Mike's Classic, My Cousin Matt, Najran and Proud Citizen. The are four possibles -- Aggadan, Sing Me Back Home, Voodoo and Whywhywhy.

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