Artie Schiller Top Choice in Hall of Fame 'Cap

(from Saratoga report)
Although he suffered his first turf defeat of the season in last month's Virginia Derby, Artie Schiller will be odds-on to get back in the winners' circle when he starts in Saratoga's $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. IIT) Monday.

Ten three-year-olds were entered in the nine-furlong turf stake.

Much has been expected of Artie Schiller since his winning debut in July of 2003. And for the most part, Artie Schiller has happily obliged to the high expectations placed on him, winning Pimlico's Woodlawn and Belmont's Hill Prince (gr. IIIT).

Artie Schiller, who drew post 8 as a co-122 pound high weight with Icy Atlantic and Mustanfar, enters the Hall of Fame off a game second-place finish to division leader Kitten's Joy in the aforementioned 10-furlong Virginia Derby.

"I honestly don't believe he ran his race," said jockey Richard Migliore. "I have a lot of respect for Kitten's Joy and I'm not trying to belittle his performance or the horse I think he is. I think Artie was a little flat that day and didn't run his 'A' race."

Second Performance had a two-race winning streak snapped when third in the Lexington (gr. IIIT) downstate, but still appears to be improving. Trained by David Donk, Second Performance found himself vying for the lead in the Lexington, yet stayed on gamely in the final quarter mile after being passed by Icy Atlantic and Mustanfar.

Donk, who plans to shorten the cups on Second Performance's blinkers because he thought the colt was too keen in the Lexington, hopes his Hall of Fame entrant will improve in his Saratoga debut.

"He saw some daylight down the backstretch and just took off," Donk said. "At the top of the stretch, I thought he'd get beat by 10 or 15 lengths. He showed a lot of guts and determination in the last furlong and that's something you don't see that often. He had every right to quit and he didn't.

"His Lexington effort is only going to help him and maybe we can turn the tables on Icy Atlantic and Mustanfar. I'm still not sure what he's best at. I learn more about him every time he runs."

Robby Albarado has the mount on Second Performance.

Mustanfar was awarded the Lexington victory via the disqualification of Icy Atlantic. A colt by Unbridled, he is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day has the mount on Mustanfar, who is another improving turf runner.

Icy Atlantic spent the winter running in ordinary races over Aqueduct's inner dirt track, but has developed into one of the east coast's leading three-year-old turf horses. He is conditioned by Saratoga's leading trainer Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by leading jockey John Velazquez.

$150,000 National Musueum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. IIT), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 mile on turf
1. Broadway View, Nick Zito, Shane Sellers, 115
2. Kennel Up, H. Allen Jerkens, Brice Blanc, 115
3. Good Reward, Shug McGaughey, Edgar Prado, 115
4. Icy Atlantic, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 122
5. Street Theatre, Eoin Harty, Jerry Bailey, 115
6. Preachinatthebar, Bob Baffert, Pablo Fragoso, 115
7. Mustanfar, Kiaran McLaughlin, Pat Day, 122
8. Artie Schiller, Jimmy Jerkens, Richard Migliore, 122
9. Second Performance, David Donk, Robby Albarado, 115
10. Dealer Choice, Bobby Frankel, Javier Castellano, 115