Surprise Classic winner Volponi (center) will race in 2003.

Surprise Classic winner Volponi (center) will race in 2003.


Volponi to Race in 2003; Starine, Orientate May Run Again This Year

By Steve Haskin and
Ron Mitchell

Trainer P. G. Johnson was an early arrival at Barn 22 on Arlington's backstretch, checking on Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi at 6 a.m. (Central) before departing for a flight to New York.

Johnson said the 4-year-old son of Cryptoclearance who rolled to a 6 1/2-length victory was fine Sunday morning. He said the colt would winter in New York and return for a 2003 campaign at age 5.

Among other Classic starters, the Bobby Frankel-trained second- and third-place finishers--Medaglia d'Oro and Milwaukee Brew--were also reported to be in good shape. "Everybody's fine," said Frankel, who limited his time at the barn because he was suffering from a cold. There is a possibility Milwaukee Brew could run again this year, with Frankel noting "He is a pretty fresh horse."

Trainer Paco Gonzalez said Came Home, who concluded his career with a 10th in the Classic, "is off in his left knee, but is not lame. He walked this morning and he walks normal but you can tell there is some heat in there." The trainer said jockey Mike Smith detected a problem with Came Home as the field raced down the backstretch and that "he almost pulled him up before the wire." Gonzalez said Came Home will be X-rayed after he arrives at Lane's End Farm on Monday.

Frankel said Starine, the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) winner he owns, could race one or two more times before being retired. Frankel said he would consider the Matriarch for the 5-year-old daughter of Mendocino "if the race comes up soft." Once she is retired, Starine will likely be sold, Frankel said.

The trainer said he did not know what the plans are for Banks Hill, the Frankel-trained Filly & Mare Turf runner-up. "I would have been happier if Banks Hill had won," Frankel said of the scenario in which the mare he owns upset Juddmonte Farms' mare. "The best scenario would have been if Banks Hill had won and I had been second," Frankel said.

Another Breeders' Cup winner who could race again this year is Orientate, the NAPA Sprint (gr. I) winner trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas said the 4-year-old son of Mt. Livermore could contest the NYRA Mile.