Lucky Island will try to continue his 2008 win streak in the Forego Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Lucky Island will try to continue his 2008 win streak in the Forego Stakes.
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Lucky Island One to Beat in Forego

Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island is well-poised for a grade I win in the Forego Stakes.

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.

To make that happen, the Argentine-bred will have to dispose of nine rivals in the seven-furlong dirt contest, including Tasteyville and Premium Wine, who finished second and third, respectively, when they met Lucky Island in the July 4 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II). The field also includes graded stakes winner First Defence and a host of others trying to move forward in the division.

Post time is set for 5:13 p.m. EDT. The Forego immediately precedes the $500,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I).

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Lucky Island has been flawless in 2008, winning all four of his starts, and doing so convincingly. The 4-year-old son of Lucky Roberto won two allowance starts to begin his season, then conquered the May 10 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. II) by 2 1/4 lengths. In the seven-furlong Tom Fool, he broke from the inside and went wire-to-wire under Alan Garcia to win by more than four lengths in the mud.

“His break-out race was when he won the Bold Ruler at Belmont,” McLaughlin said. “He had won two in a row going into that race, but that was a big step going from a `two other than’ into a graded stakes. The Tom Fool just showed that he is a very versatile horse and he has continued to train as well up here as he has trained all year.

“We didn’t want a lot of horses in the Forego because of traffic issues, but Lucky Island is the horse to beat. We’ve been targeting this race since the Fourth of July. He’s always been a nice horse and he is training great up here.”

Overall, Lucky Island has won five of six starts and has earned $224,942. Carrying a 121-pound impost, he will give four pounds to eight of his rivals, and give two pounds to First Defence. He is out of the Equalize mare Ebrolize.

Fox Ridge Farm’s Tasteyville chased Lucky Island the whole way around the Belmont track in the Tom Fool, but could never close ground. Since that time the 5-year-old With Approval gelding tried to stretch out to nine furlongs, but was unsuccessful. He finished 10th in the July 26 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga after being pinched at the start.

Tasteyville, who will get the services of Mike Luzzi, scored his biggest win last October in the Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

Zayat Stables’ Premium Wine has been beaten by some tough customers this year, including Divine Park in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) and Bustin Stones twice. The Prime Timber colt prepped for the Forego by winning in allowance company Aug. 13 at Saratoga.

Zayat will also send out Forefathers, who was third in the Bold Ruler, but enters off a 6 1/2-length victory in a one-mile allowance contest at Belmont. Bill Mott trains the 4-year-old Gone Westcolt.

Juddmonte Farms’ First Defence has won two of four starts this season, including a narrow score in the June 15 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT), which was his first try on grass. Since then the Bobby Frankel trainee was runner-up to Abraaj in the Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) July 26. He is 2-1-0 from three lifetime starts at seven furlongs. Channing Hill will get the mount for the first time and break from the rail.

Completing the field are Greeley’s Conquest, Real Estate, Ferocious Fires, Eternal Star – all of them coming off victories – and Bold Start.

$250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 5:13 p.m.), 3 & Up, Seven Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. First Defence (KY), 119, Channing Hill
2. Forefathers (KY), 117, Edgar Prado
3. Eternal Star (KY), 117, John Velazquez
4. Bold Start (KY), 117, Robby Albarado
5. Ferocious Fires (NY), 117, Cornelio Velasquez
6. Premium Wine (NY), 117, Julien Leparoux
7. Real Estate (KY), 117, Eibar Coa
8. Lucky Island (ARG), 121, Alan Garcia
9. Greeley's Conquest (KY), 117, Jorge Chavez
10. Tasteyville (KY), 117, Michael J. Luzzi