07/31/2010 2:23PM

Debut winner Admiral Alex heads straight to Travers


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Lottery players in New York are told all they need is a dollar and a dream. For owner/trainer Leon Blusiewicz, all he needs is a maiden winner and a dream.

On Saturday, Blusiewicz sent out the 3-year-old first-time starter Admiral Alex to a one-length victory in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Saratoga. Afterward, Blusiewicz said the colt would make his next start in the $1 million Travers Stakes here on Aug. 28.

“He’s a good horse, he’s an awful good horse,” Blusiewicz said. “Play high if you’re going to play.”

Blusiewicz said in the 1980s he sent out the 2-year-old filly Snow Plow to win the Grade 1 Selima Stakes off a maiden win. Snow Plow then went onto win the Demoiselle.

Blusiewicz, 79, has always been high on Admiral Alex, a son of Afleet Alex who was named Bunky as a 2-year-old. Admiral Alex was training in Saratoga last summer, but suffered a bone cyst which required time off.

“They told me he needed three months off, I gave him five,” Blusiewicz said. “I picked him up in March.”

Admiral Alex had a series of lengthy workouts, including a one-mile move 1:45.40 over the Oklahoma training track.

In Saturdays’ race, Admiral Alex, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, stalked the pacesetting Loquacious while racing three wide. He made a move to the lead in midstretch and with a couple of taps of Desormeaux’s whip drew clear to win by one length. He ran 1 1/8-miles in 1:49.76. Tipped all over the track – perhaps by Blusiewicz himself – Admiral Alex returned $7.40 as the second choice.

“Kent said he never got tired,” Blusiewicz said. “He said he learned a lot from that race.”

In 1982, Blusiewicz ran Lejoli in the Travers in a field that included Kentucky Derby winner Gato del Sol, Preakness winner Aloma’s Ruler, and Belmont winner Conquistador Cielo. Lejoli finished fourth behind upset winner Runaway Groom.

Bad news for Contessa sprinters

Eightyfiveinafifty, the freakishly fast, but quirky stakes-winning sprinter, was recently released from the Ruffian Equine Clinic across the street from Belmont Park after spending more than a month there recovering from a bout of pneumonia.

Trainer Gary Contessa said Eightyfiveinafifty, who won the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct in April, has been shipped to Dr. Jerry Bilinksi’s Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, N.Y., where he will spend at least a month. Contessa said most likely Eightyfiveinafifty won’t be ready to run until next year.

Eightyfiveinafifty came out of a last-place finish in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on June 5 needing throat surgery. Shortly after returning to his Aqueduct barn following the procedure, Eightyfiveinafifty needed was sent to the Ruffian Clinic.

“He was very, very sick and he looked like he was very sick,” Contessa said. “More than likely we’ll see him in the winter.”

Meanwhile, Contessa reported that his New York-bred sprinter Castaneda, who won the Fred “Cappy” Capossela Stakes in February, died from a case of laminitis. Castaneda had a chip taken out of a knee in June and less than two weeks later he foundered.

Castaneda, a son of Yonaguska, won 3 races from 8 starts and earned $101,550.

Badgett wins Fasig with higher priced horse

Trainer Billy Badgett won Saturday’s $70,000 William B. Fasig Stakes, but not with the mare he or the betting public thought would get the job done.

Exclusive Scheme, fending off pace challenges from Akilina and then My Magic Moment, held off her more heralded stablemate, Chestoria, in the stretch to win the Fasig by a nose Exclusive Scheme, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $52.50 as the 25-1 longest price on the board. Chestoria was the 3-2 favorite. The Badgett exacta returned $132.50.

“This filly, she’d been training really good since we got here. I told the owners we might as well take a shot,” said Badgett, who trains Exclusive Scheme for Paris Hill Thoroughbreds. “The race was kind of void of speed.”

Chestoria, a multiple stakes winner, rated in fifth under David Cohen and tried to rally along the rail in the stretch after initially attempting to split horses. She finished second by a head over a late-running You Go West Girl.

“I’m really never worried about Chestoria, she’s pretty consistent,” Badgett said. “If she comes out of this all right she’ll come back in the Yaddo [on Aug. 20] and she’ll run her race in there too. The other filly we’ll have to play it by ear with her.”

Exclusive Scheme, a 4-year-old daughter of Saarland, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42:07

Promising juvenile fatally injured in breeze

Giant Legacy, a promising unraced 2-year-old colt owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Seth Benzel, broke his right hind leg at the conclusion of a workout Saturday morning over the main track and had to be euthanized.

Giant Legacy was a son of Giant’s Causeway out of the mare Pretty Proud, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Whywhywhy and the Grade 2 winner Spellbinder. Giant Legacy sold for $425,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling auction.

Giant Legacy had been working steadily since late April and Benzel said Saturday’s move was to have been his final breeze before making his first start.

“There’s no way to describe it,” Benzel said. “You just got to press on.”

Krypton will stay on grass for Hall of Fame

Krypton is fast becoming one of the top 3-year-old turf horses in the country. The question trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is beginning to ask himself is whether he might be even better on the dirt.

Krypton turned in one of the most impressive workouts seen here this summer when he just cruised five furlongs in 59.55 seconds on Thursday. But he will be back to the grass for his next start, the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame going 1 1/8 miles, on Aug. 13.

“That’s the third good work on dirt he’s had,” McLaughlin said. “He worked just as well over the training track at Oklahoma last week. He’s beginning to make me wonder if he’s running on the right surface.”

Krypton is coming off the two best performances of his career, both on grass, a game victory over Nordic Truce in Belmont’s Grade 3 Hill Prince and a late-running third-place effort behind division leader Paddy O’Prado in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby.

“He’s always worked well over the dirt but his first two races on it were horrible,” said McLaughlin. “Obviously he’s a much more experienced and better horse now so it’s certainly not out of the question that we’ll try him on it again.”

Also pointing to the Hall of Fame Stakes is Interactif, the runner-up in the Virginia Derby. On Saturday, Interactif worked four furlongs in 50.19 seconds.

Last year, Interactif won the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes here as a 2-year-old.

Kenneally has two contenders for weekend stakes

Trainer Eddie Kenneally will have a strong hand in a pair of important stakes for females next weekend when he sends out Buckleupbuttercup in Saturday’s Grade 1 Test and Warbling the following afternoon in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss.

Both fillies made their last starts on Calder’s Summit of Speed program, Buckleupbuttercup finishing second behind Pica Slew in the Grade 3 Azalea and Warbling second to Jessica Is Back in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap.

“Calder is a funny track and the local horses won all four graded stakes that day. Even a 1-9 shot got beat,” said Kenneally, referring to D’ Funnybone in the Carry Back. “Warbling looked home free at the eighth pole in her race before being picked up and all in all I thought both my fillies ran extremely well against the bias down there.”

Warbling is one of only four fillies and mares who appear to be confirmed for the six furlong Honorable Miss along with Hour Glass, Pretty Prolific, and Secret Gypsy.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch