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Belmont: Algorithms returns to Pletcher following injury
Algorithms, one of the early leaders of the 3-year-old division after his victory in the Holy Bull Stakes in January, returned to trainer Todd Pletcher’s Belmont Park barn on Wednesday and was on the track Thursday morning.
Algorithms was sidelined with a fractured splint bone discovered the morning of the Fountain of Youth in February. He was the morning-line favorite.
“He looks like he’s in very good order,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant trainer to Pletcher. “Sound, looks well. We’ll take our time with him. Nice to have him back. Hopefully, he gives us the opportunity to finish what we started with him.”
Algorithms, a son of Bernardini owned by Starlight Stable, has won all three of his starts.
Napravnik to ride Emma’s Encore
With Junior Alvarado sidelined by a fractured collarbone, Rosie Napravnik has picked up the mount on Grade 1 winner Emma’s Encore for the Grade 2, $200,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap, trainer Allen Jerkens said Thursday.
On Thursday, Emma’s Encore continued preparations for the Gallant Bloom by working a solid five furlongs in 59.10 seconds over Belmont’s main track.
With regular exercise rider Jorge Duarte up, Emma’s Encore went in fractions of 11.81 seconds, 23.52, 34.84, and got her last quarter in 24.26 seconds. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.69.
“I thought she’d go a little slower, but I told him not to be wrestling with her,” Jerkens said.
Emma’s Encore, who was moved to Jerkens at the beginning of the year by owner Brenda Mercer, comes off a nose win the Grade 1 Prioress at Saratoga. Prior to that, she won the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont.
The Gallant Bloom is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. However, Emma’s Encore is not Breeders’ Cup-nominated, meaning she would have to be supplemented to the race for a fee of $100,000 by Mercer and her co-owner Peter Berglar.
Jerkens wouldn’t speculate on whether they would supplement to the Breeders’ Cup.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We have to get by this one first.”
Willy Beamin possible for Oklahoma Derby
Willy Beamin, the New York-bred who won the Grade 1 King’s Bishop three days after winning the Albany Stakes, could stretch out in distance again for his next start, possibly in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sept. 30.
“It seems to be the spot we’re zeroing in on,” trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. “It’s good timing, straight 3-year-olds, it might come up too tough – hit where they ain’t.”
With Dutrow still fighting a 10-year suspension handed him by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, owner Jim Riccio Sr. may have to transfer Willy Beamin to another trainer in order for him to run in the Oklahoma Derby.
Last year, Redeemed won the Oklahoma Derby with Tony Dutrow listed as the trainer. Redeemed has since been returned to Richard Dutrow and is among the favorites for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
Englehart to fight TCO2 positive
Trainer Chris Englehart admits he has had his share of positive drug tests over the years and when he’s penalized, he usually does not appeal.
But Englehart has appealed the 60-day suspension and $1,000 fine handed him by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board after one of his horses had a high-level of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) here in June.
Pawley’s Porch, who finished third in the first race at Belmont on June 17, had a pre-race TCO2 level of 40.4 millimoles per liter, which is above the 39 millimoles per liter threshold for horses that are administered Lasix.
A high TCO2 level is usually associated with the illegal practice of milkshaking horses, but the ruling does not accuse Engelhart of milkshaking.
“I have absolutely no idea how it happened,” said Englehart, who won his 3,251st career race in Thursday’s first with War Colony. “I’ve had several suspensions and I’ve taken them and gotten them over with. I use medications like everybody else and sometimes mistakes are made. But this is something different. I wasn’t going to take it, no way.”
A review of Thoroughbred rulings against Englehart shows that the trainer has had six suspensions and/or fines for medication overages, four of them for methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant that blocks pain. He has had one overage of phenylbutazone and one for clenbuterol.
Englehart, who maintains stables at Finger Lakes and Belmont, said he spoke to his Belmont assistant Manny Gonzales, who told him that nothing different was done to Pawley’s Porch than any of his other horses.
Englehart, who has retained Karen Murphy to represent him, said he is supportive of the drug testing done in New York.
“I respect what they do. I not only respect it I’m glad they do it,” Englehart said. “I don’t want to be running against horses that have been milkshaked. They’ve done a good of policing it. But I have no idea what happened here and I’m going to be the guy winds up paying the price for it.”
◗ Spring to the Sky ($8.80) rallied past pacesetting Sum of the Parts to win Thursday’s $80,000 Groovy Stakes by a half-length. Spring to the Sky, a son of Langfuhr, owned by Anthony McCarthy, trained by Bruce Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano, covered six furlongs in 1:07.84.
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