With the surprising retirement of Benny the Bull and the disappointing effort by Midnight Lute last weekend, all of a sudden the sprint division has become wide open. Should he claim victory in the $250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 30 at Saratoga, Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island could catapult himself into the upper echelon of those ranks.
Three years after winning the Whitney Handicap (gr. I), Tracy Farmer's Commentator returns to Saratoga's richest race for handicap horses as the most accomplished of the 11 entered in the July 26 fixture.
Lucky Island showed his greed for speed in the $161,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II), grabbing the lead after bursting out of the starting gate from the one hole and rolling to a 4 1/4 length victory, without a serious challenge, July 4 at Belmont Park in New York.
Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island, an Argentine-bred colt that has won three straight, including the May 10 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III), will face the stiffest competition of his short career July 4 in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
Tasteyville, who easily won the Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) Oct. 27, will not run in the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 24 because of a minor leg injury.
Mike Pegram's Midnight Lute, winner of the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), is expected for the Nov. 24 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I), which highlights Aqueduct's HolidayFest.
Fox Ridge Farm homebred Tasteyville led all the way while winning the $142,500 Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) by 9 1/4 lengths over a small field assembled at a sloppy Aqueduct Oct. 27.
Saturday, Sept. 22 was a holiday of sorts for trainer Todd Pletcher. He was all prepared to celebrate the end of a two-month slump that has seen his normally lofty winning percentage of around 25% drop to 11%.
There were some anxious moments for Any Given Saturday in the $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 22 at Belmont Park. But the 1-5 favorite eventually took over at the sixteenth pole and then pulled away for a 2 1/2-length victory in his final prep before the Oct. 27 $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
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