Saratoga Notebook: Make Out Still Out; Hopeful Taking Shape; Weather Dampens Numbers; Trainer, Jockey Races to the Wire

Saratoga Notebook: Make Out Still Out; Hopeful Taking Shape; Weather Dampens Numbers; Trainer, Jockey Races to the Wire
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Saratoga Special winner Zavata, tops Hopeful field.
By Phil Janack
Unbeaten filly Make Out remains at a Pennsylvania clinic recovering from a staph infection that knocked her out of Friday's Spinaway (gr. I) and has put her career on hold.

Trainer Linda Rice said Tuesday morning that Make Out was rushed to the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Kennett Square, Pa.

She didn't know how long the filly would be sidelined, but was "cautiously optimistic" about her eventual return.

"They come on so quickly and I know that there's been many nice horses that have sacrificed their careers due to these kinds of situations," Rice said. "As soon as I recognized that it could be that kind of a situation, I get them out of there and get them to where they can get the proper care as quickly as possible. I like to send them out of there trying to save their careers, not their lives."

Rice said Make Out has been at the center for two weeks since the infection was discovered in her right front leg, not knowing how it came about.

"She didn't have any nick or cut. Frankly, I think she probably just rapped herself coming off the racetrack. She was fresh and foolish," Rice said.

"Right now she's stable. Her temperature has been normal and her blood count is finding its way back to normal levels, but we're still holding our breath that everything is going to turn out the right way. It's under control at this point, so we're hoping to have her back."

The case is similar to one Rice faced in 1987 with the colt Talk's Cheap during his 3-year-old season.

"It was in the middle of a very successful campaign as a 3-year-old," she said. "He had just won the Federico Tesio and was the favorite for the Sir Barton and, two days before the race, showed up very lame in a hind leg and spent the next three months recovering. Fortunately, he did come back and earned just shy of $600,000 after the fact."

A daughter of Out of Place, Make Out won her race debut at Belmont Park July 10 by 2 1/2 lengths before romping in a Saratoga allowance July 31 by four. At that point, Rice chose to skip the Adirondack (gr. II) and point directly to the Spinaway.

"We were very excited," Rice said. "It's terribly disappointing because she was right on course. Frankly, I've been having a good meet, but that was a pretty big blow for us."

Rice said she learned something new about 2-year-old filly Edge Sweep, who ran second to Air Marshall in Monday's sixth race.

"I think she resented the stick a little bit," Rice said. Edge Sweep was in the clear by several lengths at midstretch under Jose Santos, but was caught near the wire by Air Marshall and was beaten a neck.

"Jose hit her, and she kind of backed off a little bit," Rice said. "I thought we had that one. There's lots of ways to get beat."

It was just the second career race for Edge Sweep. who was a well-beaten fifth in her debut Aug. 18 after being bumped at the start.

"She didn't get a real chance to run last time, that's why I brought her right back," Rice said. "She still ran very well."


Stellar on Go for Spinaway
Stellar, green but impressive in her race debut here July 28, is on course for the Friday's Spinaway.

Trainer Patrick Biancone wanted to see how the filly worked in company Tuesday morning, and came away happy with the results.

"She did very good this morning," Biancone said. "She switch her lead perfectly, which is what I wanted to see, and she went perfect. I am very pleased. We are ready for Friday."

Her inexperience showed in winning first time out, when Stellar failed to change leads in the stretch but won by a length as the 6-5 second choice.

"The race of last time help us," Biancone said. "It give us a lot of indication of what we need to do and what we need to fix. I think she run perfectly this time."

Also expected in the Spinaway are Appleby Gardens, Adirondack winner Awesome Humor, Forever Partners, Hope For Love, Just Call Me Angel, Midnight Cry, Schuylerville (gr. II) runner-up Miss Mary Apples and Vasquez.

Mike's Wildcat Out Rest of Year
While Sky Mesa has recovered well enough to challenge Zavata in Saturday's Hopeful (gr. I), promising filly Mike's Wildcat will miss the rest of the year.

Trainer John Ward said Mike's Wildcat, beaten favorite in the Schuylerville on opening day, was still showing signs of the lung infection which affected her performance.

She is to leave for Kentucky later this week, where she would have a chip surgically removed from her knee. Ward said they knew about the chip when John Oxley purchased the filly privately just before the Saratoga meet began.

"We're going to take care of all that and bring her back next year," Ward said. "We really just decided that the lung infection put us so far behind the curve for this year that the best thing to do is get ready for next. We know she's got the quality, so we don't worry about it."

Sky Mesa, meanwhile, has done very well since getting over a virus that affected all nine of Ward's 2-year-olds this summer. An impressive debut winner here Aug. 3, he galloped on the main track Tuesday morning and was to stand in the gate Wednesday and likely school in the paddock on Thursday.

"We are intending to go in the Hopeful, and I don't think that since he missed a week it will bother him that much," Ward said. "He's training very well and feeling very, very good. He looks extremely good. He's doing everything well."

Other likely Hopeful starters are Rights Reserved, Roaring Fever, Storm Cadet and Zavata. Pretty Wild and Run Production remain possibles.

Also on the improve is the filly Perfect Story, a half-sister to Point Given who was scratched with a fever the same day Sky Mesa ran.

"She's great. She's over everything now and she's about ready to work..." Ward said. "She'll run either at Belmont or Keeneland. Keeneland only starts three weeks from now, so we might wait on her. Being by Point Given, you always want to be on the conservative side."

Pisces Going South
Pisces, taken out of consideration for the Fourstardave on Travers day, may make his next start in the Miami Mile at Calder on Sept. 2.

Trainer Ken McPeek said whether he ships the colt south depends on how Pisces comes out of his gallop today.

"He's supposed to fly out on Thursday," McPeek said. "At this point, we're planning on sending him."

McPeek said a lack of steady work kept Pisces out of the Fourstardave, which wound up being rained off the turf and run on a sloppy main track.

"I'd only worked him once in five weeks, and he probably needed the work," he said. "He's kind of a big, heavy-hitting horse and he came out of his last race with his shoulder bothering him a little bit. I wanted to give him some time off."

Pisces then spent two weeks on the farm and three more galloping before his next workout. He was back to the track for a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 Monday morning.

The final weekend of the Spa meet promises to be a busy one for McPeek. He will saddle Midnight Cry in the Spinaway here and send one-time Hopeful candidate Risky Cat to the listed Cradle Stakes at River Downs in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Continued...

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