09/04/2010 2:50PM

Desormeaux will miss three weeks with injuries from spill


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will be out of action a minimum of three weeks after sustaining a cracked vertebra as a result of a spill he was involved in during the running of Friday’s second race at Saratoga.

Desormeaux, 40, will not require surgery, but will have to wear a neck brace for 1 1/2 to two weeks, according to his agent, Mike Sellitto.

“Three weeks, he should be back to riding,” Sellitto said. “He isn’t required to do anything, it will heal on its own. It’s a minor crack.”

Desormeaux was aboard the 2-year-old filly Forest Whip when she fell in the stretch. She died of a heart attack. Desormeaux was thrown hard to the dirt course and was taken to a Saratoga hospital to be evaluated.

After an initial set of X-rays were negative, Desormeaux was told that he was fine. A CAT-Scan revealed the fracture, which was confirmed by doctors at Albany Medical Center.

Desormeaux, despite having the fewest mounts among the top 10 riders, ranked seventh in the Saratoga standings with 17 wins from 103 mounts. A three-time Eclipse Award-winning rider, Desormeaux has ridden 5,328 career winners and ranks fifth all-time on the earnings list with more than $234 million in purse won money.

McPeek enjoyed stellar Saratoga

Ken McPeek enjoyed a spectacular summer at Saratoga, winning 11 races from 61 starters through Friday, good enough for a tie with Bill Mott for fourth in the trainer standings.

“We consolidated things a lot better, came in earlier this year, came in first of July,” McPeek said. “the staff’s done a great job; got a lot of nice horses, clients have had a good time.”

McPeek still had plenty of action to conclude the meet, including five runners on Monday’s closing-day card. That includes Striking Dancer, who was scratched out of Saturday’s $70,000 Addison Mallery Stakes at a mile to run against Forever Together in Monday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Glens Falls Stakes at 1 3/8 miles.

“I think I’d rather run against Forever Together at mile and three eighths than run in that other race at a mile,” McPeek said. “A mile is a little too short for her.”

McPeek will also be represented by 2-year-olds in three other races on Monday. Rogue Romance, who finished fourth in a maiden turf race on Aug. 13, makes his second start in a similar spot in the sixth. East Indies, who finished third in that same Aug. 13 race, runs in the other division, which goes as the 11th. McPeek also runs Iwannaiwannaiwanna in the 11th and final race of the meet.

“Rogue Romance, he got a lot out of it and should be tougher this time,” McPeek said. “East Indies is about the same, they ran about identical races. Rogue got a little more tired than East Indies.”

McPeek also runs Rhondda Gardens, a daughter of Flower Alley, in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race that goes as the seventh.

“First time, kind of a test drive to be honest,” he said. “We’ll see what she does.”

McPeek, who recently bought a house in Saratoga, had 46 horses stabled here this summer and will keep a bulk of them here through Oct. 1. Among the horses he won with at this meet that he’s pointing to the Belmont meet are Pretty Prolific for the Gallant Bloom and Beautician for the Belle Cherie Stakes on Sept. 30.

Rail Trip, Acting Happy breeze for Dutrow

Rail Trip put himself back on track to make the Jockey Club Gold on Oct. 2 with a strong six furlong work in 1:11.25 Saturday morning over Saratoga’s main track.

Rail Trip, who had suffered a minor setback when he stepped on a rock with a hind foot a couple of weeks ago, worked in company with Eagle Strike. Under Mario Madrid, Rail Trip started about a length behind his workmate and finished about seven in front as Eagle Strike was basically pulled up by Ramon Dominguez.

“It’s the best he’s breezed since I’ve had him,” said Dutrow, who was sent the horse by owners Samantha and Mace Siegel following a second-place finish in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July. “It puts us there. I just have not been able to do everything I’ve wanted to do with him. He’s good now.”

Also working for Dutrow on Saturday was Acting Happy, who went four furlongs in 48.97 seconds in company with the 2-year-old filly Cloneylass, who has made four starts in Europe.

Acting Happy, who won the Black-Eyed Susan and who was third in the Alabama, was equipped with blinkers for the work. Dutrow is considering using them on the filly for her next start, which may be the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct on Nov. 27.

“If we decide to do it we’re under the impression it might be helping a little bit,” Dutrow said. “We’re very happy with her. She worked the right way in company.”

Dutrow said he may wait for the Gazelle to run Acting Happy because he doesn’t see anything on the schedule that he likes for the filly. He said the Fitz Dixon Cotillion, at 1 1/16 miles at Parx Racing on Oct. 2, is too short. He also doesn’t want to run her around one turn, which he would have to do at Belmont Park.

Dominguez not disappointed in meet

Though it looks like his streak of nine consecutive New York Racing Association meet riding titles will come to an end, Ramon Dominguez is not disappointed with the season he has had at Saratoga.

Entering Saturday’s card, Dominguez had 42 winners, third in the standings behind John Velazquez (51) and Javier Castellano (50). Dominguez has won every NYRA meet riding title since Aqueduct’s inner track of 2008-09. That includes last year’s Saratoga meet.

“Of course going into the meet I had in mind trying to be leading jockey,” Dominguez said Saturday. “I know how really difficult it is, especially Saratoga, and really New York period, so I know that I’m competing against the best and that it doesn’t have to go my way all the time. I really feel pretty happy with the meet that I had and I’m not going to let winning or losing the title define whether it was a successful meet for me or not.”

Dominguez has a chance to end the meet on a high note as he rides favored Boys At Tosconova in Monday’s Grade 1 Hopeful.

“I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “That would be icing on the cake.”

Durkin’s calls raise $20,000 for B.E.S.T.

The New York Racing Association will present a $20,000 check to the Backstretch Employees Services Team as a result of monies collected through Tom Durkin’s third race calls throughout the meet.

Each racing day, fans could pay $100 to sit in the announcer’s booth as Durkin called the day’s third race. As many as six people at one time could be in the booth, and the event was a sell-out most days.

“More than one person has said this is like being in the dugout at Yankee Stadium,” Durkin said.

Daily Racing Form was a sponsor in the program.

◗ Rose Catherine remained undefeated in turf sprints, sitting third behind a hot pace under Javier Castellano before taking over in upper stretch en route to a one-length victory in the $70,000 Lena Spencer Stakes. Broken Dream rallied for second by a neck over Karakorum Elektra.

◗ New York racing fans never got to see Zenyatta in person, but on Saturday her 3-year-old half-brother, Souper Spectacular, won a maiden race by two lengths. Souper Spectacular is a son of Giant’s Causeway owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Seth Benzel.