Updated on 09/16/2011 8:08AM

Biancone's mature decision


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - That dashing internationalist, Patrick Louis Biancone, reached into his capacious bag of 2-year-olds and selected the steady and talented Zavata, owned by Michael Tabor, to bid for Saturday's $200,000 Hopeful Stakes at seven furlongs at Saratoga.

Biancone, who has campaigned successfully in Europe and the Far East, could have tapped Whywhywhy, winner of last month's Sanford Stakes here and the Flash Stakes at Belmont Park, for the Hopeful. The versatile Whywhywhy employed his speed to account for the Flash and came from off the pace to land the Sanford. Instead, Biancone chose Zavata because he is stronger and more mature.

Whywhywhy will be pointed for the $200,000 Futurity at Belmont on Sept. 15 and is expected to go off the favorite, just as Zavata is a solid choice for the Hopeful.

"Zavata is the now horse," Biancone noted. "He works good all the time and he runs hard. He won the Tremont at Belmont by more than six lengths and won the Saratoga Special by more than seven. He appears to have an edge in the Hopeful but it is a horse race and anything can happen. My major concern is the weather. He has no experience with an off track, but then the same is true for most of the others."

The competition in the field of six includes such interesting colts as Raging Fever's half-brother Roaring Fever, who won nicely here in his only appearance, and Sky Mesa, a $750,000 Keeneland yearling purchase who won off by almost eight lengths at the Spa several weeks ago.

Zavata, with his experience and with Jerry Bailey in the irons, looks to be too much for them. Now Biancone can turn his attention to preparing Whywhywhy for the Futurity. He also has another colt of considerable promise in Brancusi, by Deputy Commander, who makes his debut here on Sunday. Brancusi has his people enthused.

Harlan's get get good

When Arthur Hancock of Kentucky's Stone Farm takes a horse home, his sales ring colleagues have learned from experience to expect something worthwhile.

Hancock tried to sell Sunday Silence several times, failed to receive a substantive offer and kept him. Sunday Silence earned almost $5 million and was sold to Japan for another $11 million. There have been other examples of this phenomenon, among them his decision to keep all of Harlan's get after that Storm Cat stallion died prematurely. Menifee, by Harlan, won $1.7 million and is regarded as a promising young stallion, and Owsley (by Harlan), winner here Monday of the $113,500 Glens Falls Handicap for fillies and mares on the turf, increased her earnings to almost $400,000. Always prominent in the 1 3/8-mile race, the 4-year-old Owsley, splendidly ridden by Edgar Prado, won by a length on a yielding course.

Owsley, who didn't race at 2, has shown marked improvement this season over her 3-year-old form. Trainer Randy Schulhofer attributes this to the longer distances of her races, and feels she can be a distinct threat in the $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 28, going 1 1/4 miles.

Schulhofer, by the way, made his first visit to Saratoga as a 1-year-old in 1962. The son of Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer, he has been here every summer since. He took over as head trainer this year and Owsley was his first Saratoga stakes winner.