Pat Day will replace fellow Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens on Macho Uno
in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap Saturday. Stevens injured a knee in the starting gate at Del Mar.
Trainer Joe Orseno was interested in using Day last year in the Pennsylvania Derby, but Day wasn't available and Stevens turned in a winning ride as a replacement for Jerry Bailey.
"I always thought Pat Day's style of riding would fit this horse," Orseno said. "Macho really doesn't want to be rushed. Since we've put the blinkers on, you can probably do whatever you want with him. He's not a difficult horse to ride. Pat can sit and get him to relax, make him comfortable and that's what we're looking for and not let the pace dictate how the race is going to end up."
The Whitney Handicap wasn't on the proposed schedule for Left Bank
at the start of the year, but Saratoga's top race for older horses fits into the multiple-stakes winning son of French Deputy owned by Michael Tabor.
Left Bank, winner of 13 of 23 starts and $952,806 in purse money, had the start of his season delayed until May by a bruised foot. He won the Bold Ruler, finished fifth in the Met Mile 16 days later, but set a Belmont Park track record for seven furlongs of 1:20 in the Tom Fool on July 4.
"One of the reasons Mr. Tabor elected to keep him in training as a 5-year-old, even though there was clearly a substantial stud market after this Cigar Mile and his Vosburgh win, was the possibility of stretching him out," trainer Todd Pletcher said Tuesday. "Second, though he is a very accomplished sprinter, he also is a graded stakes winner at a mile and an eighth, when he won the Discovery and ran a fifth of a second off the track record. He also won an allowance race at a mile and a sixteenth by double-digit lengths at Belmont. Yes, he is more accomplished as a sprinter, but he also has proven he can handle a distance. We feel like there is tremendous upside and very little downside to giving it a try. The only thing he hasn't proven is that he can get a mile and an eighth against three or four of the other best horses in the world."
Godolphin's Street Cry
worked five furlongs Wednesday morning in preparation for the Whitney. Tom Albertrani supervised the horse's progress at Belmont Park and watched as he went the distance in 1:03. Albertrani said he timed the horse's final three-eighths in :36 3/5. Unshaded
, another Whitney hopeful, worked 1:02 4/5 for five furlongs on Tuesday morning.