Indian Blessing, the champion female sprinter of 2008, is set to breeze Aug. 8 as she points towards a return to the races in the $300,000 Ballerina (gr. I) on Aug. 29.
The 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie has started just twice this year, finishing second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on March 28 and fourth on June 14 in the Desert Stormer Handicap at Hollywood Park, the first time she had been worse than second in 14 starts.
“She’s been here a couple of weeks, and she’s doing great,” said John Terranova, whose wife, Tonja, supervises trainer Bob Baffert’s horses in New York. “She loves it up here.”
Indian Blessing, owned by Hal Earnhardt, is 2-for-2 at the Spa, having broken her maiden at first asking on Aug. 20, 2007, by 5 1/4 lengths en route to her first Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. She returned last year to run off with a seven-length score in the grade I Test Stakes.
This week Baffert shipped in a pair of 2-year-olds, including maiden winner Tiny Woods. The son of Roman Ruler will be pointed toward the $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) on Aug. 18, said Terranova.
Baffert himself is set to arrive Aug. 10. Later in the week, he will be inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame.
In other news, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird took his first tour of Saratoga’s main track Aug. 7, jogging an easy mile under exercise rider Liandro Atempa. Trainer Tim Ice said the son of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone would gallop 1 1/2 miles Aug. 8 as he prepares for his next start in the $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I).
“The rider said he looked around a little bit and that he was feeling good,” said Ice. “He was on his toes, and feeling high-spirited. We wanted him to get loosened up and get a feel for the track. Tomorrow, when he gallops, he’ll have blinkers on.”
Summer Bird, who will be making his seventh career start in the Travers, finished second to Rachel Alexandra in his most recent race, the Haskell Invitational (gr. I).
“I think his performance in the Haskell validated he’s a grade one horse,” said Ice. “I didn’t think his Belmont win was a fluke. He’s bred to go a mile and a half, but he can go a mile and an eighth as well.”
Along with Summer Bird, Ice has brought with him a pair of unraced 2-year-olds, Explosive War and Catlettsburg, and 4-year-old Independence War, all belonging to Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman.