The New Speedster
Compared to With Anticipation's Sword Dancer, the A.G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) was a breeze for Bob and Beverly Lewis' sprinter Orientate. Under a hand ride by jockey Jerry Bailey, Orientate earned his third consecutive stakes victory to move to the top of the sprint division. Orientate covered the six furlongs in 1:09.72 and finished two lengths in front of Say Florida Sandy. The field was reduced to six starters for the $200,000 race with the scratches of Echo Eddie and Run Kush Run. Echo Eddie spiked a fever after being shipped to Saratoga from California by trainer Darrell Vienna. Orientate took the lead out of the gate and cruised through opening fractions of :22.85 and :45.80. At the top of the stretch, he had a 3 1/2-length lead. "He broke like a champ," Bailey said. "The only worry usually with a good sprinter is do they break well, and he broke excellent, probably three-quarters of a length in front of the field. He quickly went to the front and threw his ears up. It was like, 'Catch me if you can.' He was very relaxed and I didn't do very much at all." Bailey said the scratches changed the dynamics of the race. Echo Eddie had drawn the outside post and was expected to exert some pace pressure. "With those two out, it made it a little easier," Bailey said. "I still think he could have won, but it made my job a lot easier." After the top-class sprinter Snow Ridge was retired with an injury during the spring, trainer D. Wayne Lukas made some changes in his lineup of stakes horses. Orientate, a 4-year-old son of Mt. Livermore, became the designated speedster. "When I had both horses, Snow Ridge and him, this horse was a little more versatile, I thought, and could maybe go two turns," Lukas said. "I was thinking a mile on the grass for Breeders' Cup and a lot of stuff. I mismanaged him for a little while. "When Snow Ridge got his injury, we just said, 'Look, let's let him do what he does best,' and that's what we saw today." Lukas was delighted that Orientate was able to win through easy fractions without being pressed hard, setting him up for the Forego (gr. I) at the end of meeting. "He can go :21, :43 if he's asked," Lukas said. "That was almost a Hollywood script for me. We wanted a good one because we're going to come back in a few weeks." b Around the Spa
Quest Star ran down Union Place and heavily favored Patrol in the stretch to win the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. IIT) by 1 1/2 lengths on Aug. 5. Patrol was bothered at the start, but quickly moved to the lead under jockey Jerry Bailey. He tired in the stretch after fractions of :23.20, :46.70, and 1:10.98 over the inner turf course and Day guided Quest Star, a Broad Brush colt owned by Mansell Stables, from last to first. They covered the mile and an eighth in 1:49.66... Waterville Lake Stable's Celtic Sky just got up to win the West Point Handicap for New York-breds, 3-year-olds and up, over nine furlongs of turf on Aug. 9 over a game Reluctant Groom. Jose Santos was aboard for trainer Christophe Clement...It's a Giggle won the A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase (NSA-II) on Aug. 8 by 1 1/2 lengths over Tres Touche. Gus Brown rode the William L. Pape gelding for trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Brown replaced regular rider Blythe Miller, who returned to her home after suffering a concussion in a fall earlier in the meet.