Forest Danger One to Beat in Forego at Saratoga
Updated: Saturday, September 3, 2005 12:58 PM
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2005 5:30 PM
A week after Lost in the Fog remained unbeaten with an impressive score in the seven-furlong King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) over rival 3-year-olds at Saratoga, several top sprinters of the older generation will be asked to turn up it a notch in the $250,000 Forego Handicap (gr. I) at the same distance at the Spa. The Saturday feature drew a field of seven, led by 123-pound topweight Forest Danger, who is hoping to rebound after going down to defeat against 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper in the May 30 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Forest Danger, who was well beaten in the Met Mile, boasts two of the year's highest Beyer Speed Figures, a 118 and 115, at distances up to a mile. Winner of the seven-furlong Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct in April, Forest Danger is undefeated in five lifetime starts under a mile, but comes into the Forego off a minor injury.
"He had a torn muscle in his left-hind leg," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We did an internal blister on him and gave him some down time to get that straightened away. We were originally thinking about bringing him back in the (Alfred G.) Vanderbilt (gr. II, Aug. 13 at Saratoga), but we just ran out of time. He's worked well up to the Forego. We just hope he shows up and runs his 'A' race."
Pletcher believes Forest Danger is just as good at a mile as he is in shorter races and does not feel the Met Mile was a true indication of his ability.
"I wouldn't hold the Met Mile against him," he said. "Ghostzapper was in there, but Forest Danger didn't really run his race. He wanted to get out a bit down the backside and never really fired."
Second in the Forego weights is Battle Won, who carries 121 pounds. His sole win in four starts this year came in the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs in May, after which he ran second in the Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill and the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del mar, both of which were at six furlongs.
Trainer Charles Simon was thrilled with Battle Won's effort in the Bing Crosby, even though he was beaten 1 1/4 lengths. "He broke a step slow, contested a fast pace and was the only survivor of the pace battle," he said. "The horse that beat him came right up the rail. I thought he ran a winning race. Not many horses run well shipping east to west."
Trying dirt for the first time is Keep The Faith, a 5-year-old son of Sunday Silence who set a North American record for six furlongs on turf, winning in 1:06.82 over Belmont's Widener course July 24.
Keep The Faith won four races from five furlongs to a mile in Australia prior to his record-setting effort, which was also his U.S. debut. He fired a bullet work on the dirt Aug. 18, going five furlongs in :58 1/5, proving he does not mind the dirt.
Forego contestant Silver Wagon was the runner-up to Ghostzapper in the Met Mile, and like Forest Dancer, has not run since. The 4-year-old colt is undefeated at Saratoga in two starts, breaking his maiden and winning the Hopeful (gr. I) here two summers ago.
Mass Media, Swingforthefences, and Yankee Mon will also take a shot in the Forego.
Post Horse Trainer Jockey Weight
1 Silver Wagon Ralph Ziadie Cornelio Velasquez 117
2 Forest Danger Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 123
3 Battle Won Chuck Simon Ramon Dominguez 121
4 Yankee Mon Richard Dutrow Jr. Edgar Prado 117
5 Swingforthefences Richard Violette Jr. Eibar Coa 117
6 Keep The Faith Saeed bin Suroor Gary Stevens 117
7 Mass Media Bobby Frankel Javier Castellano 117
FREE! E-Newsletters from The Blood-Horse!...
Follow the top stories of major racing events, racing previews and results with FREE e-newsletters from bloodhorse.com. As news develops, we'll deliver updates to your inbox. Follow important events moment by moment, step by step!