Thunderstorms Could Alter Fort Marcy Outlook

(from Aqueduct report)
With forecasts calling for a strong chance of thunderstorms Saturday, five of the 11 horses entered for the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) – the first scheduled turf stakes event of the season at Aqueduct – are present for the main track only.

Thunderstorms could wash the 1 1/16-mile Fort Marcy to the main track.

Trainer Tom Albertrani sure hopes not because of Sabre d'Argent, a son of Kris S. who has gone 5-0-1 from seven starts. The 6-year-old horse began his racing career a little more than three years ago in Great Britain and won four of five starts overseas, including the Rose of Lancaster Stakes (Eng-III) at Haydock.

Sabre d' Argent has only raced twice in the United States. In February, he took a five-horse, off-the-turf optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs. He last ran fifth, beaten five lengths, in Gulfstream Park's 12-furlong Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) on turf.

"He was a little too fresh and a bit too keen to go a mile and a half," Albertrani said. "He was just too aggressive and too much on the muscle. Saturday he's dropping back in distance and, hopefully, he'll be more relaxed."

Although Sabre d'Argent has raced twice since June 2005, he appears to have a class edge on most of the Fort Marcy field.

Big Booster wasn't badly beaten in the March 11th Canadian Turf at Gulfstream, finishing sixth behind a top U.S. turf horse in English Channel. The runner-up in that race, Miesque's Approval, defeated the 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Artie Schiller in last Friday's Maker's Mark (gr. IIT).

Big Booster, a 5-year-old son of Accelerator trained by John Kimmel, is 5-1-5 from 24 starts.

Ecclesiastic goes out for trainer H. Allen Jerkens after winning once in four tries this winter at Gulfstream. By Pulpit, Ecclesiastic notched his lone win of 2005 in Belmont Park's Jaipur (gr. IIIT).

Five horses were entered as main track only, and all of them bring solid credentials into the race.

Watchmon could be the best of them. He won the off-the-turf Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park last fall, but has lost four straight races since then. Trained by Pat Reynolds, Watchmon is 4-2-1 from 10 starts. He last ran six of nine in Aqueduct's Excelsior Breeders' Cup (gr. III) April 1.

Happy Hunting did not care for the competition or slop when beating one horse in the Carter Handicap (gr. I) on Wood Memorial Day. Prior to the Carter, Happy Hunting had won four straight races, including the Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III). A 5-year-old son of Seeking the Gold, Happy Hunting goes out for trainer Shug McGaughey.

$100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Foreverness (NY), 112, Eibar Coa
2. Pa Pa Da (NY), 114, Norberto Arroyo, Jr.
3. Sabre d'Argent (KY), 115, Edgar Prado
4. Charimount (NY), 112, Pablo Fragoso
5. Ecclesiastic (KY), 115, Mike Smith
6. Big Booster (KY), 115, Richard Migliore
Main Track Only
7. Watchmon (KY), 118 (No Rider)
8. Bailero (ARG), 120, Edgar Prado
9. Happy Hunting (KY), 123, (No Rider)
10. Kennel Up (FL), 120, Mike Smith
11. Bahama John (KY), 120, Richard Migliore