Either Way, She’s Going To Saratoga
Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes winner Zo Impressive returned from Saturday’s (June 23) victory over Disposablepleasure in good order, trainer Tom Albertrani reported on Sunday morning, June 24, and will likely make her next start at Saratoga Race Course in either the Grade 1, $300,000 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21 or the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes on Aug. 18.
“She came out of the race great,” said Albertrani, who trains the gray Hard Spun filly for Live Oak Plantation. “We’re going to look at the Coaching Club; if she’s training well, that will likely be her next start, or the Alabama.”
The Mother Goose was the first graded stakes win for Zo Impressive, who had finished second to Contested in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes on May 28 and second to Grace Hall in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks on Mar. 31. Overall, she is 3-2-0 from five starts.
“With her family, pedigree-wise, that really was a big race for her,” said Albertrani of Zo Impressive, who is out of the Grade 1 winner Zoftig, making her a half-sister to 2008 Grade 1 Acorn winner Zaftig.
“When she broke on top, which is exactly what she did in her two races at Gulfstream, she could easily have been in front,” he added. “We said, ‘If she breaks quick, take her back, and give her a target.’ Our plan was to let them go, give her a target, and stay two lengths off the lead. She was in perfect position.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Glencrest Farm’s Disposablepleasure came out of her second-place finish in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Mother Goose in good shape and will train up to the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on July 23 at Saratoga.
Disposablepleasure entered the Mother Goose off a second to stablemate In Lingerie in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 18. In Lingerie, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, turned in a 48.61 four-furlong breeze on Sunday. Like Disposablepleasure, In Lingerie is expected to make her next start in the TVG Coaching Club, Pletcher said.
Runners eye Suburban
Grade 1 Donn Handicap winner Hymn Book continued his preparations for the July 7 Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban Handicap by breezing four furlongs in 48.05 seconds on Sunday.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug Mc- Gaughey says he’s taking it one race at a time with Hymn Book, who was fourth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April and third in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May following the Donn.
“I’m not a guy who says, ‘I’m pointing to win a championship’ or ‘I’m pointing for the Breeders’ Cup’ in June,” said McGaughey. “These guys who are smarter than me start pointing for the Breeders’ Cup in February. Hopefully he can be competitive in a race that will put him in [championship contention]. If he’s competitive in the Suburban, we’ll run in the Whitney or Woodward or something like that. If he needs to go down a notch, we’ll do that, but hopefully he’ll be competitive in those type of races. I’m not thinking year-end titles right now.”
McGaughey is aiming for his fifth Suburban victory, having won it in 1985 with Vanlandingham and three straight years 1988-90 with Personal Flag, Dancing Spree, and Easy Goer.
Mike Repole’s Stay Thirsty, winner of the 2011 Grade 1 Travers Stakes, breezed on Monday, June 25, as he prepares for the Suburban, Pletcher said.
Albertrani added that Buffum, an eight-length winner of an optional claimer on May 28, is scheduled to breeze five-eighths Monday morning in preparation for the Suburban, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on the Belmont Park main track.
Gemologist on the rebound
WinStar Farm’s Gemologist, winner of the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, on Sunday posted his first workout since his 16th place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 5.
The three-year-old traveled four furlongs in 49.42, and trainer Pletcher said the colt is likely to make his next start in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 28 at Saratoga Race Course.
“The Jim Dandy is our target at the moment, unless something happens and we switch gears for the Haskell [Grade 1, July 29, Monmouth Park], but we’re pointing for that weekend,” said Pletcher.
The Kentucky Derby was the first career loss for Gemologist, who also has a win in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club to his credit. In the Derby, the son of Tiznow raced three wide in fifth for the first six furlongs before retreating.
Hit It Rich, who breezed four furlongs on “good” turf in 51.03 on Sunday, will compete in this Saturday’s (June 30) Grade 2, $250,000 New York Stakes, McGaughey confirmed. She seeks her second graded victory, having taken the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap last November at Aqueduct Racetrack. Like Hymn Book, Hit It Rich is owned by Stuart Janney, III.
McGaughey added that Hungry Island, a two-time graded stakes winner who was third in the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 9, is aiming for the Grade 1 Diana Stakes on July 28 at Saratoga. Hungry Island, owned by Emory Hamilton, posted a 48.57 four-furlong breeze on Sunday.
Brilliant Speed, most recently fifth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap on June 9, was under consideration for the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes on July 14, according to trainer Albertrani.
Pletcher noted that Caixa Eletronica, also owned by Repole, went four furlongs in 48.84 on Sunday as he works toward a start in the Grade 3 James Marvin Stakes on July 20, opening day at Saratoga.
Manhattan winner retired
Desert Blanc, who won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap by a nose on June 9, has been retired with a tendon injury, Peter Bradley, managing co-owner of Bradley Thoroughbreds, announced on Sunday.
Bradley, who owns Desert Blanc in partnership with Swift Thoroughbreds, Inc., Mackie Racing, and Vintage Thoroughbreds, said the four-year-old emerged from the race in good order and galloped for three days before swelling was detected. It was then discovered the colt had a 20 percent tear of his left front superflexor tendon.
“We’ll find a home for him for a stud career, although we were looking forward to running him the rest of the year,” said Bradley.
The Woodford Reserve Manhattan was the second North American start for Desert Blanc, who was second in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap on May 5 for trainer Chad Brown. In France, the son of Desert Style won a listed stakes and was Group 3 placed.
“[The Manhattan] was a very exciting race, and he showed he how game and tough he was,” Bradley said. “It’s the biggest hurt to lose a horse like this to an injury.”
Peruvian jockey heading to U.S.
New York may soon be home to a young apprentice rider hailing from Peru as 16-year-old Martin Chuan prepares to emigrate to the United States. Agent Roger Sutton expects to take Chuan’s book when he arrives in this country, which Sutton hopes will be ahead of opening day at Saratoga Race Course on July 20, though no firm arrangements have been made.
Chuan graduated from La Escuela de Jinetes Jorge Bernardini Yori and rode his first race on Jan. 24 at Hipódromo de Monterrico in the Santiago de Surco district of Lima, Peru. The rider finished second aboard Taj Mahal, but also caught the eye of some U.S. based riders who were in town that day for the Robalca Inter- national Jockeys Championship.
Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado, born in Lima and the leading jockey in Peru before coming to Florida in 1986, was impressed with Chuan.
“The day that he first rode, we had the jockey championship in Peru,” said Prado. “It was me, Alex Solis, Alan Garcia, Rafael Bejarano, Jesus Castanon, Javier Castellano, some others. And, we saw the race where the kid started riding. He finished second, but he rode a really good race. Everybody agreed that the way he looked, and the way he rode the horse, he was going to develop into a good rider. I thought that he rode a smart race and finished really strong for being his first time riding in a public race.”
Through June 18, Chaun has ridden 43 winners, good for sixth in the jockey standings according to statistics provided on the Hipódromo de Monterrico website. Sutton, who recognizes the difficulty of starting an apprentice at a meet like Saratoga, is anxious for Chuan to arrive.
“I’m ready to go to work whenever he shows up,” Sutton said. “I’ve watched some of the races he won in Peru and he looked like he could be the real McCoy. I don’t know when he’ll get here, but if he came before the end of Belmont, that would be like Christmas. Going into Saratoga is a lion’s den. But up there, at least with those pots, if a jockey wins one race a week, they’re going to cover their expenses.”
Sutton said he was especially impressed with the way Chaun looks on a horse.
“He sits a horse very good,” Sutton said. “I’ve been doing this awhile, and not that I’m an expert, but when he hits the horse, he’s not off balance and falling off. He always has his horse, always has the reins gathered up. Unlike a lot apprentices, he doesn’t overuse the whip. That’s a big plus, too.”