Saratoga Notebook: Spoken Fur Drills; No 'Funny' News; Frankel Ponders Moves; Sky Mesa Ready

By Mike Kane and Phil Janack
Mother Goose (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) winner Spoken Fur breezed four furlongs in :51 2/5 Sunday morning over the muddy Oklahoma training track in preparation for the Alabama (gr. I) on Saturday.

If she wins the Alabama to complete the sweep of the Triple Tiara series, the Notebook filly owned by Amerman Racing will earn a bonus of $2 million from the New York Racing Association.

With more rain in the forecast for Sunday and Monday, trainer Bobby Frankel said he decided to change the filly's schedule.

"I didn't want to work her, but I had to work her today in case it comes up sloppy tomorrow," he said. "I didn't want to take that chance."

Frankel said the filly actually worked five furlongs, but the clockers timed her for four. He said he was satisfied with the work.

Since the bonus was available, Frankel said he decided to run Spoken Fur on the 1 1/2-mile CCA Oaks after she won the Mother Goose. He said the Alabama was always on his schedule for the filly.

Funny Cide 'Doing Good'
Sunday was an uneventful day on the Funny Cide watch. After finishing his duties at his barn, trainer Barclay Tagg spent part of the day looking at yearlings to be sold at Fasig-Tipton's preferred sale of New York breds that began Sunday evening.

Funny Cide finished third in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 3 and spiked a temperature the next day. After being treated with medication, the temperature went down and he was able to return to the track to jog on Friday.

Tagg would not say whether the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr.I) winner will make the Travers (gr.I) on Aug. 23.

"I still don't know," he said. "So far, he's been doing good. Nothing has changed about that. I don't know the severity of his fever. I'm not a doctor. All I did was treat the horse with antibiotics and Bute."

Frankel Report
Frankel said he is considering changing his plans for Whitney Handicap (gr.I) winner Medaglia d'Oro and Haskell Invitational (gr.I) winner Peace Rules, both of whom are owned by Edmund Gann.

Peace Rules was scheduled to race next in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr.I) at Del Mar on Aug. 24. However, Frankel said he has nominated the colt to the $500,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr.III) because he has heard that the purse might be increased.

Should Peace Rules go to the Pennsylvania Derby, Frankel said he might send Medaglia d'Oro to the Pacific Classic with stablemate Milwaukee Brew. Medaglia d'Oro came off a long layoff to win the Whitney.

"He came out of his race really well and it's $1 million," Frankel said.

Typically, Frankel prefers not to have two horses in the same stake.

"I'm running against myself if I run Peace Rules," he said. "For $1 million, I'll run against myself."

Frankel said that depending on the weather, Belmont Stakes (gr.I) winner Empire Maker may have his only breeze between the Jim Dandy (gr.II) and the Travers (gr.I) on Saturday.

Sky Mesa on Travers Course
Trainer John Ward said that Haskell runner-up Sky Mesa came out of the race well and is on course toward the Travers.

"He couldn't be doing better," Ward said Sunday. "He'll work one time toward the middle of the week sometime when the racetracks are healthy. That's it."

A bruised heel prevented Sky Mesa from making his first start of the season until the Dwyer (gr.II) on July 6. The Haskell was his second race.

"We're finally in the glide mode," Ward said. "We've been playing catch-up for what seems like an eternity. I think the only thing we've got to do is watch to see what develops with the other horses."

Pick 6 Carryover Monday
Only one favorite won during Sunday's rain-battered program, Attainable in the first race, producing a Pick 6 carryover of $435,380 into Monday's card.

Long shots took the other eight races that were run and paid an average mutuel of $19.90.

Monday Turf Races Switched
Sunday afternoon, NYRA officials announced that both of the turf races scheduled for Monday will be run on the main track because the grass courses are too wet.

Due to the constant rain that has plagued the meeting, NYRA has had to move 21 of the 44 scheduled turf races to the dirt. With rain in the forecast on some other days during the season, NYRA didn't write any turf races.

Last year at the mid-point of the meeting, NYRA had been able to run 54 of the 61 scheduled turf races.

Zavata May Stretch Out in King's Bishop
Zavata, an impressive winner of the Amsterdam (gr. II) Aug. 2, is now being considered for the King's Bishop (gr. I), trainer Patrick Biancone said Sunday.

Biancone originally planned to skip the King's Bishop because of the seven-furlong distance. He said Zavata would not run if the main track comes up sloppy.

"I think we're going to try that, yes," he said. "I would say it is really a bit far for him but if we had won the other day by a neck or whatever, it would be different. We'll see if he can do it. For sure, it's going to be a bit more difficult for him because seven furlongs is really the maximum he can go.
He's doing good. We're very happy with him."

Biancone said he is thinking about the King's Bishop because it is the last grade I sprint race of the season restricted to 3-year-olds. The colt won't run again until the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr.I) on Oct. 5 during the Oak Tree Meeting at Santa Anita.

On Wednesday, Biancone will send out unbeaten 2-year-old Pomeroy in the Saratoga Special (gr. II). The Boundary colt is 2-for-2, but will be making his stakes debut.

"He is a nice baby," Biancone said. "He's got two non-event wins because in both races he never see anybody. This is the first time he's been in a race like this. It's a tough race. We'll see how he reacts."

Pomeroy broke his maiden by six lengths June 13 at Belmont Park, running five furlongs in :58 2/5. He came back to crush a three-horse allowance field July 10 at Monmouth Park by 11 1/2, going in 1:03 1/5 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Both races were run in the slop.

Edgar Prado, who was aboard for the maiden win, will ride in the Special.

"He's more of a horse for the future than for right now," Biancone said. "We know he is a very good horse. I think the further he will go the better he will be."

Limehouse, trainer Todd Pletcher's multiple stakes winner, headlines the Special field.