There could be one or two more meetings between Travers (gr.I) stars Medaglia d'Oro and Repent in the next two months.
Medaglia d'Oro claimed the first race between the two 3-year-old colts Saturday with a half-length victory in the 133rd Travers. Both are on course for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr.I) on October 26 and their paths might cross again on September 28 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr.I) at Belmont Park.
Medaglia d'Oro and Repent came out of the Travers in good physical shape, their trainers said Sunday, and each could have, at most, one start prior the Classic.
Sent off as the 3-5 favorite over the muddy main track at Saratoga Race Course, Medaglia d'Oro completed the Jim Dandy-Travers double for trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey in 2:02 2/5. Medaglia d'Oro won the Jim Dandy by 13 3/4 lengths.
"I thought he ran really well," Frankel said. "I don't know if he ran as good as the Jim Dandy or not because of the track conditions. The thing that impressed me the most was Repent. I really was surprised he ran so good."
Repent underwent ankle surgery in April and was making his first start for trainer Kenny McPeek in over four months.
Medaglia d'Oro had never competed on a wet track before the Travers. He was under outside pressure from Saint Marden while in a stalking position early in the race, then surged to lead at the half-mile pole. In the stretch, he had to hold off the rallying Repent.
"Because of the slop, It's hard to really judge how good he really ran," Frankel said. "He ran a hard race. They went :23 the first quarter and :46 and change. He was hanging in there pretty good.
"I think the margin of victory doesn't really tell it because Jerry, the last few yards there, really never got after him that much. He knew the race was over.
"I know when you run at that horse he fights on a little bit. Taking nothing away from the second horse, he ran a great race."
Frankel said the cuts discovered on Medaglia d'Oro's left foreleg after the Travers were not a grabbed quarter, as had been feared.
"I think he just had a bruise there and it busted out," Frankel said. "He might miss a week of training, but there is no rush anyway."
Frankel said he hasn't decided on Medaglia d'Oro's next race.
"There's a chance he'll run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup," Frankel said. "There's chance I might just train him into the Breeders' Cup. See how the foot is and everything. See how much time I have to lose.
"This is not 1935 when they ran them every 10 days. If I'm going to run him, it's definitely one race."Repent Rebounding From Hard Try, McPeek Says By Saturday evening, McPeek was confident that Repent wasn't bothered by the stress of his comeback race.
"We gave him his feed at 9:15 and he was cleaned up by 10:30," McPeek said. "From a horse trainer's perspective, that's good news. He jumped back in the feed tub. He's not knocked out in any way or form."
Like Frankel, McPeek wasn't ready to commit to a race schedule for his colt.
"There are only two options I'm going to consider for his next start, if he even runs in those," McPeek said. "That would be the Washington Park Handicap (gr.II) in Chicago September 29 or the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont.
"If he were to make a start before the Breeders' Cup, I would probably lean toward the Gold Cup. If I think I need more time, then he'll go straight into the Classic without another race. I think he does run well fresh, though."
As confident as he was about Repent's readiness for the Travers after only four works, McPeek said he had some concerns.
"I second guess myself all the time," he said. "In this game, it's such an inexact science you're constantly trying to make sure you're doing the right thing. He just seemed to be doing really well.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you don't take a chance, you're not going to get anywhere. He deserved a chance. I think my biggest fear was that he would run really bad."
Instead, Repent returned to the level he competed at prior to the injury. when he was considered a leading contender to win the Kentucky Derby.
"He proved he's one of the top 3-year-olds in the country. That's one thing we've always believed," McPeek said. "We've been on the shelf and that's been probably a little frustrating. He fits. No doubt about that."Sky Mesa Pointed for HopefulJohn Oxley's impressive maiden winner Sky Mesa may be able to make his next start in the Hopeful (gr.I) on August 31. Sky Mesa got sick after cruising in a maiden race on August 3.
"We're about 50-50," trainer John Ward said Sunday. "We're looking fairly good at this point, unless something falls apart on us in the next few days. We're cautiously optimistic."
Ward said Sky Mesa worked five furlongs Friday over the main track in 1:02 2/5.
"The racetrack was a little dull, but we only wanted to go in :02 and change," Ward said. "And (Edgar) Prado was on him. He went the last eighth in :11 and something. He just jumped into it the last eighth. I was pretty pleased with that."
Lewis Notches First Saratoga Stakes since 1991 In her first summer at Saratoga, trainer Lisa Lewis brought in 2-year-old filly American Royale to win the 1991 Adirondack (gr.II).
"I thought it was easy up here," she laughed.
Lewis, 33, didn't win a graded stake at Saratoga again until Saturday with 6-year-old Capsized, who captured the Fourstardave (gr.III) on a sloppy main track.
"He is very good," Lewis said Sunday morning. "He's always been plagued with bad feet, so that was part of the concern of running him. He wears glue-on shoes, and we're very cautious with him.
"He handled an off track before, more of a sloppy track than a deep, laboring track. We just thought it was worth a shot."
Under an ideal ride from Jose Santos, Capsized validated his victory here on opening day by cruising to his first graded stakes win in nine tries.
"It's so good for the owners and the people involved with the horse. It's been a long haul, and they've had a lot of patience and given him time when he needed it," Lewis said. It's nice that he can pay them back."
It was also nice for Lewis, stabled next to Hall of Famer Frankel, who won her first race at Tampa Bay Downs in 1989 with a horse named Sheltered Life.
"Standing in the paddock, Frankel was on one side of me and Shug (McGaughey) was on the other. I'm looking at them and I'm saying, `Oh, man,'" Lewis said. "Everybody forgets the main thing is the horse. You can do a good job and get the right ride and the right everything, but the horse has to get most of the credit. Yesterday, it didn't matter who was training. Capsized was the best horse."Peppermint Kid EuthanizedPeppermint Kid, a 3-year-old son of Kingmambo bought at auction for $650,000 by Laddie Dance and Jeanie Vance, had to be euthanized on the main track after breaking down during a routine work Saturday morning.
Trainer Randy Schulhofer said Sunday that Peppermint Kid suffered a "severe breakdown."
Stable exercise rider George Martens was tossed but unhurt in the accident.
"It was just a simple workout," Schulhofer said. "He was going along very easy and he fractured his left cannon bone and also involved the sesamoids and all the ligaments. He just had a fatal breakdown."
Peppermint Kid hadn't run since July 12, but was working toward an allowance race here with a possible eye on the Jamaica Handicap (gr.II) Sept. 22.
He was 2-1-1 with earnings of $71,720 in nine career sta