Saratoga Notebook: No Luck for Day, Sheppard; Volponi Moves; Funny Cide Gallops; Frankel Sorts Options

By Phil Janack
With Anticipation's bid to become the first horse to win the Sword Dancer (gr.IT) three straight times ended before it began.

A five-time Grade I winner, the 8-year-old gelding suffered a muscle tear behind the pastern in his left front leg and was scratched by trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

"It's a situation that's beyond our control. They're fragile creatures," regular rider Pat Day said Saturday. His thrilling last-second victory in last year's Sword Dancer gave the Hall of Famer the career earnings record.

"I'm so appreciative of Jonathan's attentiveness in discovering the injury," he said. "As I understand it, it's not a career-ending injury. My understanding was that they could have even put a band-aid on it, so to speak, and possibly ran him today. The fact that Jonathan opted not to do that speaks highly of his love and appreciation for horses and his desire to do what's right by them."

Sheppard said he noticed some soreness when With Anticipation came off the track after a light work Friday, and a scan revealed the tear. With Anticipation will be hand-walked for a week and then trot for three weeks before being reexamined.

"The idea is to keep him in a little condition in case we can resume training," Sheppard said. "He's not unsound at all. He jogs sound, but he does have a little inflammation and he's sore. It's very unfortunate."

Though With Anticipation had struggled this year, Day felt as if he would have been a factor in the Sword Dancer. He passed up a chance to ride in the West Virginia Derby Saturday and other potential Sword Dancer mounts.

"I'm saddened by the fact that he's not able to go for the three-peat. The condition seemed to be coming our way," he said. "He's been great for the game and certainly great for me in my career."

Blood Test, Bailey Await Volponi
Jockey Jerry Bailey will be aboard for Volponi's next work sometime next week, trainer Phil Johnson said.

Johnson said he pushed back a routine blood test scheduled for Friday to Monday for Volponi, who he expects to run back in the Aug. 16 Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr.II), two weeks after finishing second in the Whitney (gr.I).

"He's training good. I'm happy with him," Johnson said. "I'll blow him out a few days before the race. Jerry asked if he could work him and I said yes. He's a friend and an absolute top rider. He was my first choice."

Last week, Johnson named Bailey a day after firing Jose Santos from the mount after being upset with Santos' ride in the Whitney. Bailey, who won the race with Medaglia d'Oro, has never ridden Volponi.

Funny Cide Gallops
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide had his first gallop Saturday morning since spiking a fever five days earlier.

Trainer Barclay Tagg said Funny Cide went 2 1/2 times around Clare Court, the small gallop track behind the seven-furlong chute on the main track backstretch.

"It's just easier to gallop him there," Tagg said. "He's still status quo."

Tagg said results of a second blood test were positive, and Funny Cide's temperature remained normal.

"The test came back good," Tagg said. "He's doing well."

While the signs continue to be encouraging, Tagg said a decision the Aug. 23 Travers (gr. I) is still a ways off.

"I'm not going to give any answer to that until the day I enter him, if I enter him," he said. "I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I don't know. I really shouldn't run him in the race, but if I can I'm going to. If I had good sense, I wouldn't even think about it."

Frankel Standouts Working
Back from a mid-week trip to California, trainer Bobby Frankel worked several of his stars Saturday morning.

Heat Haze (1:01 3/5), Wild Spirit (1:01 2/5), Pertusiane (1:02 3/5), Zenda (1:02 3/5) and Ghostzapper (1:01 2/5) all breezed five furlongs on the main track. Bailey was aboard Heat Haze.

Frankel is considering Heat Haze, Pertusiane, Tates Creek and possibly Megahertz for the Beverly D (gr. I) Aug. 16 at Arlington Park. Zenda, an impressive allowance winner here earlier in the meet, wasn't nominated or supplemented and won't run.

"I'm going to make up my mind at the last minute," Frankel said. "Maybe I'll run two of them in there. I gotta check the weather."

Ghostzapper is being pointed toward the King's Bishop (gr. I) Aug. 23, while Wild Spirit will run in the Personal Ensign (gr. I) Aug. 22.

Frankel said he plans to work Alabama (gr.I) hopeful Spoken Fur either Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather. Having already won the Mother Goose (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), Spoken Fur can clinch the filly triple crown and a $2 million bonus in the Alabama.

Pletcher's Amazing Run
Pletcher picked up his 23rd victory of the meet when Newfoundland was put up via disqualification in the eighth race.
Newfoundland was battling down the stretch with Thompson Rouge when jockey Jerry Bailey's left-handed whipping caused Thompson Rouge to bear out and impede Newfoundland, who finished second by a head.
A $3.3 million yearling purchase in the fall of 2001, Newfoundland won for the third time in 10 career starts, and is 2-for-5 this year since coming over from Europe.
The victory left Pletcher two wins shy of breaking the all-time Saratoga record of 24 set by Syl Veitch in 1954 during a 24-day meet. Pletcher's totals have come in just 16 days.

Around the Spa
First-time starter Path of Thunder, a $1.2 million yearling purchase last fall by Michael Tabor, ran third as the even-money favorite in Saturday's fourth race under John Velazquez. "I thought she ran OK," trainer Todd Pletcher said. Johnny said she had a tough time relaxing. She got too wide but that was a matter of circumstance. I think this filly has a lot of potential."

Jockey Shane Sellers was uninjured by a fall when Solar Force, a 2-year-old trained by Nick Zito, broke down and had to be euthanized on the track during a morning workout Saturday. Sellers, who took two days off this week with a kidney stone, was taken to Saratoga Hospital and released, and returned to win with 4-5 favorite City of Peace in the second race and Deb's Charm in the third.

Deb's Charm, a 2-year-old filly making her second career start, was trainer Ken McPeek's first winner of the meet, and just his second in New York in 40 starts since Feb. 9.

Favored Silver Magic was compromised by a poor start and finished fifth of eight, beaten more than 7 1/2 lengths, in Saturday's opener. The 6-year-old mare had her head turned completely sideways and was still being held by an assistant starter when the doors opened, and spotted the field several lengths. His chart comment called him an "unwilling participant."

Won Dozen Roses, a recent purchase by Sackatoga Stable, ran a rallying third in Saturday's sixth race in the first start for his new connections, 1 1/2 lengths behind 15-1 long shot winner Queen Isabel.

Coincide, an older half-brother to Funny Cide, pressed the pace throughout and had dead aim on eventual winner Burchfield in the stretch before fading back to fourth. Out of the mare Belle's Good Cide, Concide was making his first start since May 25 for trainer Elliott Walden.

Jockey Mark Guidry was fined $200 Saturday for inappropriate use of the whip during Friday's fourth race. Guidry ran third with Apple Krisp, 9 1/4 lengths behind Silver Wagon.