Queen's Plate winner Wild Desert, who was upset in the recent Prince of Wales Stakes, worked five furlongs in a sharp :59 3/5 over the main track at Saratoga Tuesday in preparation for the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 27.
Rick Dutrow, who took over the colt's training following the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), is excited about his chances in the 10-furlong "Midsummer Derby."
"When I saw the horse in Kentucky, he had so many different issues that we could address and get straightened out," Dutrow said on a national teleconference Tuesday. "As a matter of fact, Bobby Frankel was right there looking at the horse, and I told him, 'Bobby, I'm going to win the big race in Canada with this horse, because I really, really like him.'
"I haven't spent a whole lot of time around him lately, but today was by far the best I've ever seen him breeze, and I'm just so happy with him. He really didn't come out of his last race the way I'd want him to, and I was kind of afraid we'd have to miss the Travers. But, the last two or three days he's come right around and told me he's ready, so I decided to breeze him, and, man, I just couldn't be happier with him right now. So, without a doubt, the Travers will be his next start."
Wild Desert, a son of Wild Rush, out of the Desert Wine mare Desert Radiance, was purchased this winter by Dan Borislow, who has since sold part interest in the 3-year-old colt to friend and former National Hockey League player Keith Jones, Sandy Goldfarb, Michael Dubb, Carl Gessler, and New York Yankees manager Joe Torre.
Following Wild Desert's fast-closing second to Flower Alley in the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and a dull effort in the Arkansas Derby, Borislow took the colt from trainer Kenny McPeek and turned him over to Dutrow.
In his last start, he was a fast-closing third in the 1 3/16-milesPrince of Wales Stakes over a sloppy track. Ablo won the Prince of Wales by a neck over Autumn Snow. Wild Desert was three-quarters of length behind the runner-up.