Saratoga Notes: With Anticipation Settles in at The Spa

(Edited From Track Report)

Augustin Stable's With Anticipation is settling into Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard's barn in the steeplechase annex after arriving at Saratoga Sunday.

The 7-year-old son of Relaunch is one of many talented turf horses nominated to the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. I) on August 10. With Anticipation won last year's running of the 1 ½-mile marathon under a front-running ride by Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.

"He seems fine and is training well," Sheppard said. "He's in the same form now as last year coming into this race."

With Anticipation won his most recent start, the United Nations Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on July 6th. He won that race last year, too, but because of interference in the stretch, was disqualified and placed second.

It was a fair call," Sheppard said. "It was tantalizing to win such a prestigious race and elating to win it this year after what happened last year."

Sheppard said the switch from dirt to turf two years ago has made all the difference in his horse's form.

"He was a good horse on the dirt," he said. "He won over $300,000 and even a couple of stakes but then, in Florida, he ran a couple of bad races. So, I thought to give the turf a try."

Since the switch, the gray horse has won more than $1.2 million with five wins, three seconds and a third in 12 starts. Last year, With Anticipation won four races in a row, the last three Grade 1 stakes, before finishing off the board in the Breeder's Cup Turf at Belmont Park.

His victory in the 2001 Sword Dancer was 2/5 of a second faster than Eclipse Award winner and Hall of Fame turf champion, John Henry.

Sheppard said With Anticipation will breeze Thursday morning with his final blow out scheduled for next Wednesday.

Beau's Town, a very speedy colt by Beau Genius, worked Wednesday for trainer Lynn Whiting. Immediately after the harrow break on the main track, Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day took the four-year-old through a brisk workout.

"He hadn't done anything in six weeks," said Whiting. "We wanted to do something. In his last work, he was a little too relaxed so I told Pat to get a little more from him."

The NYRA clockers got Beau's Town going six furlongs in 1:10 1/5, with the opening quarter in :21 4/5.

"I told Pat to prompt him away from the pole," Whiting said. "He rocked on pretty good. The first part was too fast; he sizzled. The last eighth he softened up, but we got what we wanted. I was looking for something in 1:11 and change. I got him in 1:10 and 3/5. We'll see how he comes out of it, but we still have time before the next race."

Beau's Town is nominated to the $200,000 A.G. Vanderbilt (gr. II) on August 11. He has won six races, including two stakes, from eight starts, with earnings of $141,600. The A.G. Vanderbilt will be his first try against graded stakes company.

Michael Tabor's Mayakovsky had his final work for Saturday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at a distance of six furlongs. With his regular exercise rider in the tack, the Florida-bred son of Matty G was clocked going a half-mile on the main track in :46.

"He had a nice blow out," said Patrick Biancone, the 3-year-old colt's trainer. "It was what we expected; so far so good."

Biancone confirmed that Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will ride Mayakovsky in the Amsterdam.

Mayakovsky was sold for $210,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales in April of 2001. He made a big splash last year at Saratoga when he broke his maiden in his first start and set a track record for the distance of five and a half furlongs in 1:03 1/5. He came back to finish second to the highly regarded Came Home in the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I).

Mayakovsky then went on to win the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct in March, in his first start as a 3-year-old. He finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 6 and was on the fence as a starter in this year's Kentucky Derby. The bay colt hasn't raced since. He has been pointing towards the King's Bishop (gr. I) on August 24, Travers Day. His connections are relying heavily on the colt's affinity for the Saratoga racing surface.