(Edited press release)
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Da’ Tara fired a bullet work Aug. 15, and along with Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Macho Again, head the likely field for the Aug. 23 Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Also expected for the 10-furlong “Mid-Summer Derby” are Acai, Colonel John, Harlem Rocker, Mambo in Seattle, Pyro, Tale of Ekati, Tres Borrachos and You and I Forever. Tiz Now Tiz Then and Cool Coal Man are considered questionable.
Da’ Tara went a half-mile in :47.88, handily, on the fast Oklahoma training track. The move was the fastest of 49 at the distance.
“Da’ Tara worked beautiful today,” trainer Nick Zito said. “Hopefully he’ll have a good week."
Zito added that Cool Coal Man, who, like Da’ Tara is owned by Robert V. LaPenta, is another candidate for the Travers. Cool Coal Man, third to Big Brown in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, worked Aug. 14 going four furlongs in :48.42 over the muddy track.
“They’re both doing well. I’m happy about that,” Zito said. “I like the way (Cool Coal Man) came out of the race (Haskell). He came out of the race real, real good and had a tremendous work yesterday. He’s a very good horse.”
Macho Again galloped Aug. 15 on the Oklahoma training track after trainer Dallas Stewart scrapped a planned five-furlong move.
“He had a little gassy stomach this morning, so he’ll just gallop a little bit,” Stewart said. “I don’t know if he’ll breeze tomorrow, the weather has a lot to do with it.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Harlem Rocker, winner of Belmont Park’s Withers Stakes (gr. III) and the Prince of Wales Stakes, remained on target for the Travers and is scheduled to breeze five-eighths Aug. 17.
“We’ve been lucky with his schedule, we haven’t missed any breezes with him,” said Pletcher of Harlem Rocker, who is 4-for-5. “He’s a good-looking horse. I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of him yet. The Travers will be interesting.”
Also on the Travers Day card is the $250,000 NetJets King’s Bishop (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. Expected to go are Desert Key, Golden Spikes, J Be K, Kodiak Kowboy, Nautical Storm, Salute the Sarge and Visionaire.