07/05/2013 3:08PM

Belmont Park: Data Link will freshen up at Fair Hill

Tom Keyser
Data Link remains a possibility for the Fourstardave at Saratoga on Aug. 10.

ELMONT, N.Y. – It appears trainer Shug McGaughey is becoming a big fan of the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.

Just a few hours after Data Link’s fourth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in Thursday’s Poker Stakes at Belmont Park, McGaughey shipped Data Link to Fair Hill, where he will join stablemates Orb and Imagining.

Like Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who recently returned to the work tab following his third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, McGaughey is hoping the environment and facilities at Fair Hill – the hyperbaric chamber and salt water spa treatments – will prove beneficial to Data Link. McGaughey would still like to get Data Link to the Grade 2, $600,000 Fourstardave at Saratoga on Aug. 10.

“He seemed to come back fine. He ran terrible, kind of uncharacteristic for him, I don’t know why,” McGaughey said Friday morning. “I sent him to Fair Hill last night just to get him freshened up. Hopefully, if everything’s okay we can go on as planned. Obviously, I don’t want him to go over there and run like he did yesterday.”

King Kreesa, the 9-2 second choice under Irad Ortiz Jr., won the Poker in front-running fashion over a course that has tended to favor front-runners of late. Meanwhile, Data Link, who was sitting fourth and in the clear under Javier Castellano down the backside, never made a serious run. He was beaten three lengths.

“I didn’t think he was comfortable the whole way,” McGaughey said. “Javier put him three or four lengths off the pace. I know speed was holding all day except the race before – and it almost held the race before – but that’s still not an excuse against those horses.”

McGaughey was referring to the Fairy Garden Stakes, where 4-5 favorite Samitar came from off the pace to run down the pacesetting Baffle Me.

Meanwhile, King Kreesa earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the Poker, his first graded stakes victory following a win in the Kingston for New York-breds.

Jeremiah Englehart, trainer of King Kreesa, said he would look at the Fourstardave at Saratoga, a race that has been mentioned as a possible spot for reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who won last year’s Fourstardave.