Zagora to Defend Diana Title at Saratoga

Trainer Chad Brown confirms start for his French-bred mare after Saratoga breeze.

Trainer Chad Brown confirmed Martin Schwartz’s Zagora for a title defense in the Diana Stakes (gr. IT), a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course July 28, after the 5-year-old mare breezed four furlongs on the Oklahoma training track in 49.93 July 22.

The 2011 Diana marked the first grade I win for both the French-bred Zagora and Mechanicville. N.Y., native Brown. Zagora has three grade III wins in four 2012 starts, taking the Gallorette (gr. IIIT) May 19 at Pimlico Race Course in her most recent effort. Her lone loss was a fifth in the Jenny Wiley (gr. IT) in April at Keeneland.

"She came out of the Gallorette with a popped splint, and we freshened her for a couple of weeks to fix that," said Brown. "She caught a slow pace (in the Jenny Wiley), and she’s 0-for-3 at Keeneland. It’s not her course. Otherwise, she’s been perfect this year."

Exercise rider Walter Malasquez was aboard Zagora for the workout, which was the seventh swiftest of 26 at the distance. Zagora, a daughter of Green Tune, is an eight-time winner from 18 starts with earnings of $958,589.

Schwartz’s Dealbata, who was nominated to the Diana after winning the Mohegan Sky overnight stakes June 16 at Belmont Park in her North American debut, will await the restricted $100,000 De La Rose Aug. 4, Brown said.

Banimpire, fifth in the New York Stakes (gr. IIT) in her first start since being purchased by Schwartz for approximately $3.1 million at auction in Ireland last autumn, has gone to the sidelines with a throat abscess, Brown said.

"She’s at (Dr.) Scott Palmer’s clinic in New Jersey getting evaluated," said Brown. "She has some sort of abscess in her throat that won’t pop. We’re treating it aggressively with antibiotics. I think it was developing going into the race and she didn’t have her air."