Updated on 09/15/2011 12:40PM

Biancone gives Spa a trial run


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Patrick Biancone, a top trainer in Europe for two decades who began training in this country last year, will have a string of horses at Saratoga this summer.

"I have some European owners who wanted to come here for the summer," said Biancone. "It's practical; it's not too far from Europe."

Biancone, 49, is a third generation French trainer who has had more than his share of ups and downs in the game. He conditioned All Along, the 1983 Horse of the Year and champion female turf horse for Daniel Wildenstein. He also trained Palace Music, the sire of two-time Horse of the Year Cigar.

In 1990, Biancone went to train in Hong Kong where he saddled two winners of the Hong Kong Derby. But, in July 1999 he left Hong Kong after his license was suspended for 10 months by the Hong Kong Jockey Club because three horses under his care tested positive for banned substances. Two years earlier, he was fined when 20 horses tested positive.

In the winter of 2000, he worked as an assistant trainer for Frank Stronach's outfit before opening a public stable last winter. He has 20 horses, eight here and 12 in California.

Among the stock he brought here is a 2-year-old named Mayakovsky, who was to debut in a maiden race on Wednesday's opening-day card. Owned by Michael Tabor, Mayakovsky sported an impressive work tab, including a five-furlong move in 57.80 seconds on June 30 at Santa Anita.

Biancone also has City West, a multiple Group 1 winner in Argentina, who finished third in the Grade 3 Fastness Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park before finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Californian on dirt. He is nominated to Friday's Bernard Baruch Handicap, but will most likely be held out for an allowance race later in the meet.

"He only arrived in January and everybody tells me it takes about six months for those horses to climatize," Biancone said.

Another horse Biancone has brought is Trailthefox, a stakes-winning 2-year-old of a year ago who is scheduled to make his next start in the Amsterdam Stakes on Aug. 3. On Tuesday, Trailthefox breezed five furlongs in 59.27 seconds, the fastest at the distance.

"He's a very good horse; he's not a champion," Biancone said. "I think sprinters get better at age; look at Kona Gold. If we space out his races and let him age he should be a very good horse next year."

Red Bullet close to return

Red Bullet, the 2000 Preakness winner who has not raced in more than a year, drilled four furlongs in 46.46 seconds Tuesday over Saratoga's main track. Jockey Jerry Bailey was aboard for the move, the fastest of 29 at the distance and it moved the colt one step closer to the races.

"I just wanted to get this half-mile into him and see how he was handling the track," Orseno said. "I wanted to make sure he wasn't in any distress and that he had plenty of air. Unless this work kind of knocked him out, he's almost ready to run."

Orseno's goals this year for Red Bullet are the Woodward Stakes (Sept. 8 at Belmont), the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Oct. 6), and the Breeders' Cup Classic (Oct. 27). Red Bullet's first race has yet to be determined. It could come in the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park on Aug. 5.

Pleasant Breeze set for Whitney

Pleasant Breeze, who does his best running at Saratoga, will make his next start in Saturday's $750,000 Whitney Handicap, trainer James Bond confirmed Tuesday.

Pleasant Breeze has won at least one race here for each of the last three meets and has a 4-3-0 record from eight starts at Saratoga. Last year, he won the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap as well as an allowance race. Bond doesn't expect to beat Albert the Great in the Whitney, but he feels he has a shot to be second.

A field of seven is expected for the Whitney, including Albert the Great, Lido Palace, Unshaded, Gander, Perfect Cat, and Elite Mercedes. Edgar Prado will ride Pleasant Breeze, who gets in with 114 pounds.

"I think it's a one-horse race on paper," Bond said, referring to 124-pound highweight Albert the Great. "`But this colt's been training pretty good, he likes Saratoga, so we'll take a shot and see what happens."

Pleasant Breeze has not been out since finishing third in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special on May 12. A 6-year-old gelding, Pleasant Breeze has a history of foot problems that seem to be under control for the time being.

Bond reported that Wild Years, who finished last in Sunday's Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, came out of the race with a "right hind leg that blew up" and would be out indefinitely.

Secret Status working harder

Secret Status, the runner-up in last year's Alabama, has returned to the Spa for the summer and will try to earn her stripes in the handicap filly and mare division in Sunday's Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap.

Coming off wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose, Secret Status came to Saratoga last summer looking to cement divisional honors. But she finished a well-beaten second to Jostle, one of three straight losses to end her season. She was given a long vacation before returning to the races in April.

This year, Secret Status has a win from three starts and most recently finished second to Saudi Poetry in the Grade 3 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill on June 16.

Howard said he has been a little more aggressive in his training of Secret Status, who Tuesday breezed five furlongs in 1:00.62 in company with the 3-year-old filly, Quick Tip.

"``I've been bearing down on her a little bit harder since the last race," Howard said. `"She was getting a little unfocused. In her last race - while I think Saudi Poetry is an excellent filly - coming away from the three-eighths pole Pat [Day] felt she got her feet under her and Pat felt it was not if but how far" Secret Status would win by. `"Next thing you know, he was doing all he could to be second."

Howard and Day talked about putting blinkers on Secret Status, but Howard said he wants to try one more race without them.

Howard also reports that he has taken over the training of Platinum Tiara, the runner-up from last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She will most likely be pointed to the Lake Placid Handicap on turf on Aug. 20.

- Apprentice Lorenzo Lescano, the leading rider in Panama, has moved his tack to New York and will begin riding at this meet. Lescano, 19, won 50 races this year in Panama and is 53 for 267 in his career, which begin last December.

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