Saratoga Notebook

Left Bank's Whitney in Perspective; Followup on Weekend Stakes

Trainer Todd Pletcher didn't have any trouble ranking Left Bank's victory in the 75th Whitney Handicap on 5-year-old horse's lengthy list of accomplishments.

Left Bank equaled Tri Jet's 28-year-old Saratoga record for 1 1/8 miles of 1:47 while beating Street Cry and Lido Palace.

"He's put in some really amazing performances. I'd say that is right at the top of the list," Pletcher said Sunday morning. "When he ran down Squirtle Squirt, who was loose on the lead in the Vosburgh, I thought was a huge race. Obviously, the Tom Fool was a huge race."

In the seven-furlong Tom Fool on July 4, Left Bank, owned by Michael Tabor, set the Belmont Park track of 1:20.

"I think yesterday was his biggest performance, based on quality of the field, the distance and everything that was there."

Left Bank has won 14 of 24 career starts and cracked $1 million in purse money won with his Whitney victory.

"He's run big races at all three NYRA tracks," Pletcher said. "The allowance race least year at Gulfstream, his first race back, was not against the same quality field that he met in some other cases, but it was visually as impressive as anything he's done. He's one of those exceptional horses that seems to excel at multiple tasks. He's now won grade I's at three different distances."

Pletcher noted that Left Bank has won races at six distances -- from six to nine furlongs and has been a winner in each of his four racing seasons.

"Not only has won races, but won high-quality races at all these different distances, Pletcher said. "To me, when you start really looking at trying to measure greatness, you start running the kind of times that he has or equaling track records that have been established."

With his win in the Whitney, Left Bank made himself an even more attractive stallion prospect.

"It's a pretty strong resume at this point and add to that he's a conformational knockout, you kind of get the whole ball of wax there," Pletcher said.

Left Bank is expected to make his next start in the Woodward at Belmont Park on Sept. 7.

In the Woodward, Left Bank is likely to have a rematch with Lido Palace.

"I'm happy with his race," said Lido Palace's trainer, Bobby Frankel. "That race is going to come up a big number race."

Street Cry OK
Tom Albertrani, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said Sunday morning that Street Cry was OK following his first defeat this year in Saturday's Whitney.

"He's doing good today," Albertrani said. The top ranked horse in North America, Street Cry finished 1 1/4 lengths behind winner Left Bank as the even-money favorite.

"He ran his race. He had to make up a lot and when they turned for home, the other horse just had a little bit something left to hold us. He just ran a little better than we did."

Street Cry was 3-for-3 this year, including the $6 million Dubai World Cup and the grade I Stephen Foster last time out.

After dueling with Lido Palace most of the way, Street Cry had nothing left to run down Left Bank, who matched the nine-furlong track record of 1:47 after tracking pacesetter Saint Verre.

"He was right there. There was no excuse for the horse, really," Albertrani said. "The other horse really got basically loose on the lead. Left Bank pretty much controlled the race."

Albertrani said Street Cry will remain in Saratoga for a few days before returning to Belmont to point for the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park Sept. 28.

Mayakovsky's Amsterdam
Trainer Patrick Biancone said Sunday morning that he was not disappointed in Mayakovsky, the beaten favorite in the grade II Amsterdam on Saturday.

"He was not enough at his peak to win the race," Biancone said. "Maybe he need it a little bit. He came out good, very good. He came out sound."

The Michael Tabor colt finished fourth, 6 1/4 lengths behind Listen Here, after running with brisk pacesetter Boston Common. The six-furlong Amsterdam was Mayakovsky's first sprint in 11 months.

Biancone said the next target remains the same: the grade I King's Bishop at seven furlongs on Travers Day, Aug. 24, which is also expected to attract Came Home and Gygistar.

"He will for sure. He will move forward for that," he said. "The aim is the King's Bishop, and we work for that. It is our main objective. It looks like it will be a good race."

Harlan's Holiday Works
Florida Derby and Blue Grass winner Harlan's Holiday breezed four furlongs in :53.45 over the Oklahoma training track Sunday morning. It was the second breeze for the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite since he was given a freshening by trainer Todd Pletcher.

"He did it nice and easy." Pletcher said.

Harlan's Holiday, moved by owner Jack Wolf from trainer Kenny McPeek's barn to Pletcher's in early June, may begin his comeback in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 2.

"It fits well on the calendar," Pletcher said. ¨If everything goes smoothly, we should be ready for that."

The long-range goal for Harlan's Holiday is the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park.

"So far, so good. He's training well," Pletcher said. "Obviously, he's a very talented horse. The two works we've done with him have been designed to be on the easy side, just trying to get some fitness back into him and hopefully move forward."

Sky Mesa May Have Bug
Sky Mesa, John Oxley's impressive maiden winner Saturday, may be affected by the sickness that many 2 year-olds have come down with at Saratoga this summer.

The son of Pulpit won his debut by 7 3/4 lengths, covering the six furlongs in 1:10.97.

"He's coughing a little bit," said Donna Ward, who handles the Pulpit colt for her husband, trainer John Ward. ¨He scoped good and clean. I have a feeling that he's going to start coughing like the rest."

Donna Ward said that three other young horses in their barn are sick.

After the maiden victory, John Ward said the colt might run next in the Hopeful on Aug.31.

"We just have to wait and see," Donna Ward said. "He either jumps a temperature or he doesn't or he has enough immune system to throw it off. He is coughing a little bit. We'll see."

Big Ticket
The lone winning ticket in the Pick 6 Sunday paid $421,988. The ticket was purchased at New York City OTB location. With a carryover of $94,878 from Saturday, the Pick 6 pool was $581,529.

Working Out

Also working Sunday was Louisiana Derby winner Repent, who covered five furlongs in 1:00.85 handily on the main track for trainer Kenny McPeek... Dollar Bill breezed six furlongs on the main track for trainer Dallas Stewart. This season, Dollar Bill has a 1-2-1 record in five starts. He will be nominated to the Saratoga Breeder's Cup Handicap on Aug. 17... Warners continued preparations for a possible start in the King's Bishop with a five-furlong breeze in a bullet 1:02.21.