In its 44-year history, only two horses, Majesty's Prince and Solar Splendor, have won back-to-back runnings of the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War (gr. IT). Seven-year-old gray gelding With Anticipation will try to become the third in Saturdays' turf feature.With Anticipation already repeated in Saratoga's Sword Dancer (gr. IT). He won last year's Man o' War by better than two lengths.Unhappy with the gelding's seventh-place finish in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard is trying a couple different moves hoping for a better outcome in this year's Breeders' Cup."Last year, we went from the Man o' War to the Breeders' Cup and I think seven weeks was too much time between races," Sheppard said. "Training becomes very important when a horse does not run for seven weeks and things can go awry, like weather. Running him in the Turf Classic will eliminate the guess work about having him tight enough."The $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at 1 1/2 mile will be run on Sept. 29. At the conclusion of the 2001 Saratoga meet, Sheppard shipped With Anticipation back to his Pennsylvania farm. This year, the gray will train at Saratoga until the Turf Classic."What's amazing about him is that he maintains his enthusiasm at his age," Sheppard said. "When he shipped for the Japan Cup last year, he handled it better than I did. It took me about a week to get over the trip."With Anticipation has locked heads with Denon in his last two starts, prevailing by narrow margins over that rival both times. Denon will not participate in the Man o' War, but his trainer, Bobby Frankel, has sent two horses from California that will.Edmund Gann's Lord Flasheart was a narrowly beaten third in the Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) and likes to make one late run. Since being shipped to Bobby Frankel's barn, the 5-year-old has competed solely in California.Lord Flasheart was sent to Frankel after finishing second in the French Derby during the summer of 2000, but did not start again until December 2001."I had a lot of trouble getting him to the races," Frankel said. "I'm hoping for a little cut in the ground because he likes it soft."Skipping has run in stakes twice this year for Frankel and owner Juddmonte Farms. He won a minor restricted stakes race in May, then was third beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Charlie Whittingham (gr. I) June 15."Skipping hasn't run since the Whittingham because he had a cold and stuff like that," Frankel said.If you discount his race in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I), Anstu Stable's Balto Star would be a perfect 2-for-2 on the turf. Away since the middle of January, the Glitterman gelding returned successfully to take a conditioned allowance at Saratoga Aug. 11."He hasn't backed me up on it, but I've always felt like at a mile and three-eighths he can gallop along and keep doing it," trainer Todd Pletcher said.Ronald Nicholson's Blazing Fury showed signs of potential late last year with fourth-place efforts in the Turf Classic and Breeders' Cup Turf and a third in the Hollywood Turf Cup. The 4-year-old has not fared well in stakes this year, but is coming into the Man o' War off a confidence building win against a second-level allowance field.Godolphin's Tobougg has also been somewhat of a disappointment in stakes this year. The 4-year-old Barathea colt finished out 2001 strong with runner-up finishes in the Group 1 Champion Stakes and Hong Kong Cup. His most recent effort came against listed company in which he failed as the even-money favorite. The Man o' War will be Tobougg's first start in America.
$500,000 MAN o'WAR (gr. IT, 1 3/8-mile, Inner turf, 3 & Up)
PP Horse (Jockey)
1 Man From Wicklow (L) (Castellano, Javier)
2 Lord Flasheart (L) (Prado, Edgar)
3 With Anticipation (L) (Day, Pat)
4 Blazing Fury(L) (Santos, Jose)
5 Tobougg (IRE) (L1) (Velazquez, John R)
6 Regal Dynasty (L) (Samyn, Jean-Luc)
7 Balto Star(L) (Migliore, Richard)
8 Skipping (GB) (L) (Desormeaux, Kent)All carry 126 pounds.