Trainer John Ward is hoping the 2003 version of the Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga is better for Forest Secrets than it was last year. Last year, the Debby Oxley-owned mare injured her left front ankle in the 1 1/8-mile race, which sent her to the sidelines for the remainder of the year.
"We considered breeding her, but we brought her back and she's doing fine," Ward said Tuesday during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference. "She's just been behind the eight-ball as far as racing is concerned this year. We've had a tough time getting races to fill for her."
Forest Secrets enters the Go For Wand off a third-place finish, behind A New Twist and Flaxen Flyer, in the April 9 Madison Stakes at Keeneland.
The opening weekend of Saratoga will be a busy one for Ward as he also saddles Snow Dance in Saturday's Diana Handicap (gr. IT). Snow Dance, who races for John Oxley, enters the 1 1/8-mile turf race off an impressive length victory in the July 4 New York Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont.
"From three-to-four she really didn't develop and didn't have the strength of a 4-year-old mare, but she has filled out and looks great," the trainer said.
While on the conference, Ward said a decision has yet to be made about the future of Sky Mesa. The Kentucky-based trainer said he was leaning toward the Aug. 3 Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park where he could meet Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, both grade I, winner Funny Cide.