The trainer of inductee Cigar could also find himself in the winner's circle at Saratoga Monday. He sends out Patrol in the $150,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf.
<b>Saratoga Notebook: Sky Mesa One to Watch; Buddha Returns to 'Serious' Training; Easyfromthegitgo Chooses Jim Dandy; Gygistar Pointed to King Bishop; Gold Mover Waits for Belmont</b>
John Oxley's 2-year-old Sky Mesa turned in an impressive performance in his maiden debut Saturday, winning the six-furlong third race by 7 3/4 lengths. Trainer Phil Johnson in Saratoga win cloumn for 42nd year.
Island Skipper, the Golden Age Stable's colt who shipped in from Florida for Sunday's Haskell Stakes (gr. I) was on his way out to the track to gallop Saturday morning when handlers noticed he had a problem with his left front foot.
Although the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park has already started up racing's second season for 3-year-olds, the winner, Came Home, apparently is heading toward shorter races and will not try the top-class colts in the big events. That leaves Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem as the horse to catch for championship honors.
A field of nine led by favorite Medaglia d'Oro is slated for the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga on Sunday.
Take Charge Lady drilled a half-mile in :47 4/5 on Saratoga's main track Friday morning. The grade I winner is being aimed for the Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Horses for Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap have finally showed up from points West, South, and North, and several were on the track Friday morning for light exercise.
Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap, which last week had only three prospective starters, drew a field of nine Thursday morning, with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem breaking from post 6.
Saratoga Notebook: Whitney Surprise; NYRA Betting on a Record; Make Out to Spinaway; 'Chasing's Spills; And the Rains Came
The surprise entry of Saint Verre changed the complexion of the Whitney, as the number of horses in the race Saturday expands the number of wagering options. Meanwhile, impressive winner Make Out is Spinaway bound, steeplechasing's spills continued, there was a deluge of rain Thursday, and Bailey was shut out.
Nine 3-year-old fillies whose connections have the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I) in their sights are entered Saturday in the 34th edition of the $150,000, San Clemente Handicap (gr. II) at one mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course at Del Mar.
Though it's still more than three weeks away, Del Mar's $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on August 25 appears to be a viable prospect for Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds' Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) champion Sky Jack, trainer Doug O'Neill said Thursday morning.
Generous Rosi and McMahon are expected to vie for favoritism at Arlington Park Saturday when they head a field six named to the $50,000 Buckpasser Handicap.
Ron L. Brandenburg's Tic N Tin, winner of the $84,400 White Oak Handicap at Arlington Park on June 22, has been handed top impost of 123 pounds for his expected return to Arlington in Sunday's $50,000 Zen Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Congaree, a 4-year-old son of Arazi owned by Stonerside Stable, will be trying to snap a three-year stranglehold by trainer Robert Frankel on the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on Sunday. At the same time he could give his trainer, Bob Baffert, his first victory in the event.
Friday's Honorable Miss (gr. III) also attracts Shine Again, Nasty Storm and Mandy's Gold among a field of seven.
The 7-year-old son of Relaunch is set to defend his title in the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. I) on August 10. Beau's Town, Mayakovsky are ready for stakes tries as well.
More than a handful of stakes hopefuls were spotted at Saratoga.
Pat Day gets Macho Uno mount for Whitney...Left Bank among the expected entrants...Street Cry and Unshaded have final preps.
Saratoga Notebook: Jim Dandy Taking Shape; Easyfromthegitgo's Plans Undetermined; Miller Thrown Again
The Jim Dandy on Sunday marks the return from a lengthy layoff for Iron Deputy. Also, trainer Mark Hennig said Gygistar will likely run in the Jim Dandy, but the connections of Easyfromthegitgo were still undecided between the Jim Dandy or the Haskell Invitational.
Rock of Gibraltar wins sixth group I in a row to tie record set by Mill Reef.
Attendance and handle were off last year's record numbers, but Bobby Frankel and Jerry Bailey were on top of their games.
Champion filly Xtra Heat will skip Friday's featured $100,000 Honorable Miss Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga in favor of the Aug. 10 Straight Deal Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park.
Although no stakes events are scheduled for Wednesday at Saratoga, the 10-race card will still feature top-quality racing. Headlining the Wednesday card is the eighth race, a third-level allowance at 1 1/16-miles on the Mellon (outer) Turf course. A field of six older horses is expected to contest the race.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Elusive City scored a three-length victory in the Gerrard Investment Management Richmond Stakes (Eng-II) at Goodwood. The victory was the first major stakes score for The Thoroughbred Corp. since the death of Prince Ahmed bin Salman on July 22.
Repent's enthusiastic breeze Sunday morning at Saratoga made trainer Kenny McPeek think he should consider running the colt in the $1 million Travers on Aug. 24, even though Repent hasn't raced since April 6.
Shadwell Stable's Mus-If, a winner of four straight before running second in the grade III New Hampshire Sweepstakes in his last, tops the Sussex Handicap to be run at Delaware Park this Saturday.
<b>Saratoga Notebook: Sunday Backstretch Buzz All About You; Medaglia Update; Gygistar Sizzles; Blazing Fury is Back</b>
Sunday morning, Saratoga's backstretch was buzzing about the dramatic stretch run of the Test on Saturday. Meanwhile, trainer Bobby Frankel said Medaglia d'Oro will likely run in the Jim Dandy, with Jerry Bailey aboard.
Sylelistick is the 122-pound top weight for Monday's $100,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga, heading an evenly matched field of 11 competitors.
Saratoga Notebook: Weight-y Matter; Medaglia's Plans Undecided; Shah is Haskell Bound; Volponi's Plans
Unhappy with the weights assigned for the Honorable Miss on Aug. 2, Gold Mover's trainer Mark Hennig said Saturday that his filly and champion Xtra Heat will not face each other in the race.
Trainer Bob Baffert informed Monmouth Park officials Saturday that War Emblem will definitely run in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap on Aug. 4.
Trainer Paco Gonzalez told the Monmouth Park publicity department Friday morning that he is now undecided whether to run Came Home in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap on Aug. 4.
Saratoga Notebook: Easyfromthegitgo May Be Jim Dandy; Lido Palace Shows Speed; Godolphin Juvenile Update; Whywhywhy?
The way trainer Steve Asmussen describes it, Iowa Derby winner Easyfromthegitgo is looking more and more like a Jim Dandy
A strong field of seven fillies and mares will line up for Sunday's 49th running of the $250,000 Go for Wand (gr. I) over nine furlongs at Saratoga.
Trainer Marty Wolfson has won the $75,000 Aspidistra Handicap four times before and has entered a team of four fillies and mares in a bid for a fifth victory in the one mile turf course test Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Edmund Gann's You figures to be tough in the Test Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs. In the Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, trainer Bobby Frankel will saddle Beefeater Baby and Tates Creek.
Saratoga Notebook: Medaglia d'Oro Works; Mike's Wildcat Update; Zito Pair to Jim Dandy; Wild Steeplechase
Preparing for the Jim Dandy on Aug. 4, Belmont stakes runner-up Medaglia d'Oro worked six furlongs in 1:13.85 handily Thursday morning over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.
California invader Kappa King will share starting highweight of 117 pounds with the Canadian-based Strut the Stage and the locally campaigned Mystery Giver in the $225,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Arlington Park.
Classic Contenders' Puck, winner of the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) in his last start, had his final serious drill for the Aug. 4 Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Thursday morning at Monmouth Park when he worked six furlongs in 1:13 with Juan Arias aboard.
Like many straightaway races in England, the race for the $1 million Travers Stakes has divided into two small groups – one opting for the big bucks and grade I status of the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park and the other preferring to have a race over the track in the grade II, $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes. Both races will be run on Aug. 4.
TVG will offer exclusive live network coverage of Saturday's $400,000 John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap (gr. IT) and the $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. On Sunday, TVG will have exclusive coverage of the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT).
Puzzlement stepped back into 3-year-old stakes picture Wednesday with an allowance victory and is now likely headed directly to the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes.
Two-year-old Freedom's Daughter won the first stakes at Saratoga this season with a length victory in Wednesday's Schuylerville Stakes.
Trainer Mark Hennig said Gygistar has a slim chance of making the Jim Dandy on Aug. 4; trainer John Kimmel got off to a good start, winning the first and third races; and trainer John Ward said that multiple stakes winner Booklet may return to the races for the first time since the Preakness later in the meet.
The two biggest days of racing at Arlington Park are getting closer, and the track's horse population is changing accordingly.
Forbidden Apple is the highweight for the race, but Bill Mott, who won the last two runnings of the race, has a strong contender in Del Mar Show.
Bobby Frankel is entering the Saratoga season enthusiastic, optimistic and realistic...Stronach buys majority interest in Carson Hollow...Holiday Runner works...Puzzlement returns.
Todd Pletcher, fresh off earning his second Belmont Park training title, seeks to keep the ball rolling as the New York racing season shifts from Belmont to Saratoga. Pletcher will be looking for his first stakes win of the meet on Thursday when he sends out Hussar in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II), going six furlongs.
On the sales block just a year ago, New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. is shedding its fire-sale image and moving ahead with plans to bring back bettors and forge new ties with racetracks, its new president said.
Multiple stakes winner Forest Secrets had the final tuneup for her start in the Go for Wand, NYRA held a successful open house, and the John T. Ward and Bobby Frankel stables ready for the 134th Saratoga meet.
As it has for the past 13 years, the Oceanside Stakes that is the traditional opening day feature at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has been split into two divisions due to the large number of horses drawn to the 1-mile turf test that is a prep for the Del Mar Derby.
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