Lido Palace Can Join Elite Group With Woodward Win

(From track report)
Amerman Racing Stables' Lido Palace can join Sword Dancer, Kelso, Forego, Slew o' Gold and Cigar as the only horses to win consecutive Woodward Stakes (gr. I).

In 2001, Lido Palace won the Whitney at Saratoga before prevailing over Albert The Great and eventual Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow in the Woodward.

This year things are different. Lido Palace was defeated by speedier horses in the Suburban(gr. I) and Whitney (gr.I); however, he will not have to face as quality a field in the nine-furlong Woodward with the absence of Left Bank and Street Cry, who have been retired, and E Dubai, who is nursing a tender foot.

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel is pleased with Lido Palace's New York campaign this year. He was second in the Suburban behind wire-to-wire winner E Dubai and could not get to Left Bank in the Whitney, finishing third, a nose behind Street Cry.

"In the Suburban, I think (jockey) Jerry Bailey was more worried about the horse behind him (Macho Uno) than the horse in front of him," Frankel said. "He probably didn't think E Dubai could get a mile and a quarter, and Macho Uno was the favorite."

With lesser competition to face in the Woodward, Frankel is happy with where he has the Chilean-bred son of Rich Man's Gold.

"He's the class and it's weight-for-age," Frankel said. "He's doing really well."

Bailey opted to ride Street Cry over Lido Palace in the Whitney, so Jorge Chavez became the new pilot of the Frankel trainee. Chavez will ride Lido Palace in the Woodward after guiding the 5-year-old from 10 lengths off the pace in the Whitney.

"He's a one-paced horse, you've got to ride him," Frankel said. "You can't sit and take a hold of him."

Gatsas Stable's New York-bred Gander will take another crack at the Woodward after a one-year absence from the race. He finished third in 2000 and fifth in 1999. The 6-year-old Gander comes off an impressive effort in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) – the only problem was that he lost his rider at the start.

Gander stumbled soon after the start on the "good" track and unseated Mike Smith. The Cormorant gelding recovered without the rider, split horses on the first turn with his reigns dangling, reached contention on the backside then drew away in the stretch with 115 pounds less than he was supposed to carry.

"He got a scrape on his nose when he hit the ground, bruised his gum and got one nick on a pastern," trainer John Terranova said. "We're just happy he didn't get hurt or seriously injured. That was pretty scary.

"Mike (Smith) said he broke so strong, his front feet didn't get back under him fast enough and he just tripped. He did that once before on a wet track at Aqueduct before we trained him."

Gander has shown an affinity for Belmont Park, winning five of 14 starts over this course. The biggest win of his career came across the Hudson River, however, in the Meadowlands Cup last fall.

Godolphin Stable was originally going to run Suburban winner E Dubai in the Woodward, but a nagging hoof problem will keep him on the bench and Express Tour will get the call.

Last year's Jerome winner, Express Tour has finished off the board in two graded stakes tries this year. His most recent effort came down at Monmouth when he vied for the lead from the outside post in the July 27th Salvatore Mile and weakened in the stretch to be sixth.

"He broke a bit slow from the outside and was used up a bit going into the first turn," Godolphin assistant Tom Albertrani said. "He's training as well as he'll ever be and he runs well fresh. The trips to and from Dubai take a lot out of him."

Edward Evans' Cat's At Home enjoyed his summer on the New Jersey shore, winning the Skip Away and Iselin (gr. II). The son of Tabasco Cat finished fourth in the Salvatore Mile. He is winless in four Belmont starts.

Sherpa Guide, owned by Berkshire Stud, is another New York-bred in good form whose connections are taking a shot at the Woodward. The Ends Well gelding loves Belmont Park, with four wins a second and three thirds from eight starts. Sherpa Guide has won three in a row, including the Evan Shipman on closing day of the Belmont spring meet.
Baseball Champion is also in the Woodward. The Ogden Mills Phipps runner won a third-level allowance at Saratoga impressively, but disappointed over the wet track in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup, finishing a distant seventh.

$500,000 Woodward (gr. I, 1 1/8-mile, 3 & Up)
PP Horse (Jockey)
1 Lido Palace (CHI)(L) (Chavez, Jorge F)
2 Express Tour(L) (Velazquez, John R)
3 Cat's At Home(L) (Prado, Edgar)
4 Sherpa Guide(L) (Santos, Jose)
5 Gander(L) (Migliore, Richard )
6 Baseball Champion(L) (Day, Pat)

All carry 126 pounds.