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Belmont: Awesome Feather will train at Belmont for BC Ladies' Classic
Trainer Chad Brown said Awesome Feather came out of her 11 1/4-length victory in Thursday’s Nasty Storm Stakes in good order and would do the bulk of her training at Belmont for the $2 million Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
Awesome Feather had trained at Saratoga since early in summer, but Brown elected against shipping her back there given the change to cooler temperatures.
“I love Saratoga, I love the track, but she’s trained well here too,” Brown said Friday morning in his Belmont office. “The bottom line is I have more confidence in the weather down here.”
Awesome Feather, who improved her career record to 10 for 10, earned a lifetime-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure for the Nasty Storm performance in which she ran a mile in 1:33.47.
“She was moving very well. I think she got the race she needed. I really do,” Brown said. “Now, it’s just a matter of keeping her sound and happy, that’s the key.”
Brown said the Ladies’ Classic at 1 1/8 miles is the only race he is considering for Awesome Feather.
“There are a lot of good horses in that division, and I have a lot of respect for those horses – It’s Tricky, Royal Delta, Questing – but I got to be honest, I wouldn’t trade spots with anybody right now,” Brown said. “If they all come to the race healthy – which I hope they do – it’s going to be a great race.”
Brown said Pianist, who won The Given Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths on Thursday’s card, will make her next start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 19.
“She was real impressive,” Brown said. “It’s good timing and it’s graded. I was real happy to see she could handle off turf.”
Zagora confirmed for Flower Bowl
Brown also confirmed that Zagora, who set a Saratoga turf course record for 1 1/16 miles winning the Ballston Spa on Aug. 25, will run in next Saturday’s Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont. Brown had left open the slight possibility of running in the Spinster at Keeneland.
“I’d rather take my chances going a mile and a quarter on turf because she’s doing so well than gamble on synthetic,” Brown said. “If she were to win the Flower Bowl we’d supplement her to the Breeders’ Cup – Mr. [Martin] Schwartz is all in on that.”
Zagora, who finished second in the New York Handicap at 1 1/4 miles last year, will be ridden in the Flower Bowl by Ramon Dominguez.
Brown is also planning to run Dream Peace in the Flower Bowl. Others expected for that race include I’m a Dreamer, the Beverly D. winner; Nahrain, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf runner-up; Hit it Rich, Hessonite, Bizzy Caroline, and possibly Mystical Star.
The Lumber Guy to Vosburgh
The Lumber Guy, a New York-bred 3-year-old who won the Grade 2 Jerome in April but who has not started since a sixth-place finish in the Peter Pan in May, will come off the bench in Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational, trainer Mike Hushion said.
“I just believe he can run with those horses. It’s as simple as that,” said Hushion, who trains The Lumber Guy for Barry Schwartz.
The Lumber Guy, a son of Grand Slam, has won 3 of 6 starts and won his only start at six furlongs, a January maiden race over Aqueduct’s inner track by 9 1/4 lengths.
His only two bad races came in his only two starts at 1 1/8 miles, finishing fifth in the Wood Memorial and sixth in the Peter Pan. He was given a month on Schwartz’s New York farm following the Peter Pan.
“He came out of it okay,” Hushion said. “He’s always been a horse with rough feet. We just thought we’d give him a month on the farm playing around and let his feet grow out a little bit.”
Since returning to Hushion in July, The Lumber Guy has been training extremely well, working well at Saratoga and then firing a five-furlong bullet workout in 58.40 seconds Thursday morning over Belmont’s main track.
“He’s trained much better than he’s ever trained,” Hushion said.
Last year, the New York-bred Giant Ryan won the Vosburgh.
Others pointing to the Vosburgh include Hamazing Destiny, Jersey Town, Little Drama, Justin Phillip, Poseidon’s Warrior, Sean Avery, and possibly Royal Currier.
Mucho Macho Man to train to Classic
As expected, Mucho Macho Man will train up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, trainer Kathy Ritvo confirmed Friday morning.
In winning three of five starts this year – including the Sunshine Millions Classic, Gulfstream Park Handicap, and Suburban – Mucho Macho Man has had six to nine weeks between starts. He most recently finished second, a neck behind To Honor and Serve, in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga on Sept. 1. He will have nine weeks to the Classic.
“He’s done really well that way,” Ritvo said from Saratoga. “It makes no sense to change now.”
Ritvo said she would love to keep Mucho Macho Man in Saratoga as long as possible, but will monitor the weather as it gets deeper into October.
“He’s enjoying the weather right now,” said Ritvo, who has Mucho Macho Man gallop two miles a day. “He’s training super.”
Mike Smith will ride Mucho Macho Man in the Classic, Ritvo said.
A field of eight is likely for the Gold Cup, including Atigun, Fast Falcon, Flat Out, Fort Larned, Hymn Book, Ron the Greek, San Pablo, and Stay Thirsty.
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