08/24/2012 3:08PM

Breeders' Cup Sprint prospect Gantry searches for a prep

Coady Photography
Gantry's connections are searching prep options for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Gantry, the Louisiana-based runner being pointed for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, has had a quiet month and a half since winning the Grade 2, $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder Race Course. But he made some noise last weekend, when he worked a bullet five furlongs in his first drill since the Florida start. And this coming Saturday, Sept. 1, he is scheduled to work again while his connections debate his prep options for the BC Sprint, a Grade 1, $1.5 million race to be run at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Gantry, who earlier this year won three sprint stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, breezed at his Evangeline Downs Training Center in Lafayette, La., on Aug. 18. He went five furlongs in 1:00.20, the fastest move of 13 at the distance at the training center that morning.

“He was just really galloping around there,” said Ron Faucheux, who trains Gantry for Brittlyn Stable. “We really didn’t ask him to do much. He was very impressive. He’s clicking on all cylinders, doing as well as he’s ever done.”

Gantry won the Smile by five lengths while equaling his best career Beyer Speed Figure, a 102. His connections are debating sprint stakes options in September, looking at races around the country and options in the region, such as the $50,000 Temperence Hill at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 8; the $100,000 Premiere Cup at Zia Park on Sept. 9; and the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint on Sept. 30. Faucheux said there is also the option of just training Gantry up to the Breeders’ Cup.

“He runs so well fresh,” he said. “We’ll kind of play it by ear.”

Alternation to Belmont or Hawthorne

Alternation’s next stop on the road to a possible start in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 will either come at Belmont Park or at Hawthorne, said his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel.

“It will be New York or Chicago, the Jockey Club Gold Cup or the Hawthorne Gold Cup.” said Von Hemel.

Von Hemel said decisions will be made after the horse’s connections watch a key race in the division, the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward at Saratoga on Saturday, Sept. 1. Alternation has won five stakes this year, all for Pin Oak Stable, his latest the $200,000 Governor’s Cup at Remington on Aug. 11. Earlier in the season he won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and Grade 3 Pimlico Special. His record has put him under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“I think his next race will tell if we need to do that,” said Von Hemel. ”We have that in mind as far as scheduling.”

Lovato suspended by Louisiana board

Jockey Anthony Lovato has been suspended six months by the Louisiana Downs board of stewards in a ruling issued last weekend, with his case referred to the Louisiana Racing Commission for further action. Lovato, who resumed riding in July for the first time in two years, was cited for a positive test for a controlled substance and for attempting to tamper with a urine screen during the process, according to officials with the commission. Lovato’s suspension began July 21, the date of his first mount back, and is to run through Jan. 21, 2013. Officials said Lovato did not appeal the ruling by the deadline to do so, which was Wednesday.

Lovato, 42, won the Louisiana Downs riding title in 2000. He was sidelined in August 2010, when he broke his tailbone and sustained concussions in a spill in New Mexico.

Following the accident, Lovato said his fiancée, trainer Mykel Lynn, asked him to retire. She died last December, and after much contemplation, Lovato said he felt returning to riding “would help his grieving.”

Lovato is a career winner of 964 races from 7,207 starts. His mounts have earned $13,127,499.

Fasig-Tipton Texas set for Monday

Fasig-Tipton Texas will conduct its first night auction on Monday at Lone Star Park. The annual yearling sale is to begin a 4 p.m. and is expect to run to about 9 p.m., said sales director Tim Boyce. There have been 170 horses cataloged to the sale, which will be held in the stable area. Among the sires represented in what Boyce has called a strong book are Hard Spun, Zensational and Valid Expectations. Last year, the sale began at 10 a.m.

◗ Lone Star, which opens a Quarter Horse meet in September, will begin receiving horses Monday, while the track will open for training on Tuesday, said Drew Shubeck, president of Lone Star.