Woodbine-based invader Jambalaya, a winner of three turf races in the past three months, is one of the horses to beat in the $100,000 Saranac (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds Sunday on the Saratoga grass course.
Run at 1 3/16 miles on the turf, the 98th Saranac drew a field of 10 three-year-olds. Jambalaya will try to follow the hoof prints of the Woodbine-based Shoal Water, who won this race two years ago. The Saranac goes as race 10 on an 11-race card. Trainer Catherine Day Phillips may have been disappointed that Jambalaya didn't pan out as Queens Plate contender this summer. But the Langfuhr gelding has been sensational since she switched him to the turf.Jambalaya's winning streak started with an ordinary maiden victory in June. He steps into the Saranac off the biggest victory of his career, an eight-length romp in Woodbine's 12-furlong Breeders Stakes. The Breeders Stakes, which is restricted to Ontario breds, is the third and final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown."He's got a phenomenal turn of foot, but I think his biggest strength is the way he relaxes," Phillips said. "I couldn't believe how well he breezed the first time on grass, he was so explosive. I've always wanted to bring a horse to Saratoga for a stakes race, but I've been biding my time, waiting for the right horse. I think we've got a big chance. (Winning) would be awesome."Jambalaya is cutting back in distance for the Saranac, having last raced in the 12-furlong Breeders. Phipps says she does not foresee a problem. "Horses aren't necessarily looking for a mile and a half. That was a race that was there and we ran in it," she said. "I don't think the distance (of the Saranac) makes a difference."Regular rider Jono Jones will be in town to pilot Jambalaya in the Saranac.Hoping to have a fresh horse for the fall, trainer Tom Albertrani gave Woodlander a little breather over the summer. Woodlander was white-hot at Belmont Park over the spring/early summer, racking up three straight wins, including a front-running score in the Lexington (gr. IIIT) July 10. But rather than run in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (gr. IIT) or in Arlington's Secretariat (gr. IT), Albertrani laid Woodlander up.
"Even though he was winning he had started three times in a short period of time and we thought it would be best to give him a little break," Albertrani said. "I wanted him fresh for the fall. He's doing great. He's working well and I think he's at the top of his game coming into the Saranac."Leading rider Edgar Prado teams up with Woodlander, who is the co-highweight at 121 pounds with Jambalaya.Crown Point has suffered narrow defeats in several stakes races this season, but is still looking for his first victory since last October's Pilgrim at Belmont Park. Silver Whistle broke his maiden in May at Belmont and has been awesome since, winning an allowance race, finishing fourth in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) and second in the Hall of Fame. A colt by Alphabet Soup, Silver Whistle drew the inside post under jockey Jerry Bailey for trainer Bill Mott.$100,000-added Saranac (gr. IIIT), 3-year-olds, 1 1/36 miles (turf)
PP. HORSE, TRAINER, JOCKEY, WGT.
1. Silver Whistle, Bill Mott, Jerry Bailey, 115
2. Woodlander, Tom Albertrani, Edgar Prado, 121
3. Jambalaya, Catherine Day Phillips, Jono Jones, 121
4. Chestertown Slew, John Kimmel, Richard Migliore, 115
5. Port Chester, Billy Turner Jr., Cornelio Velasquez, 115
6. Crown Point, David Donk, John Velazquez, 119
7. Palladio, Roger Attfield, Jose Santos, 117
8. Meswami, Patrick Byrne, Javier Castellano, 115
9. Zurich, Bill Mott, Robby Albarado, 115
10. Tadreeb, Mark Hennig, Gary Stevens, 115