07/24/2008 12:00AM

With favorite out, Desert Party tops Sanford

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The complexion of Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes changed dramatically Wednesday morning when race favorite Notonthesamepage developed a temperature that has forced him to scratch from the race.

His defection leaves a field of six in the Sanford, with $2.1 million baby Desert Party probably going off as the favorite.

Notonthesamepage, a son of Catienus owned and bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, won his maiden by three lengths at Churchill Downs on April 30. He set a track record of 50.12 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 104. The Sanford became the target for Notonthesamepage, and though he was ready to run in time for the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs on July 5, Ramsey said he wanted to run him at Saratoga.

On Thursday morning, Notonthesamepage was doing much better, and with his blood work showing no illnesses brewing, he was entered in Saturday's Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park. A start in the Tyro would keep Notonthesamepage on target for a start in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 1.

At $2.1 million, Desert Party was the sale topper at February's Fasig-Tipton select 2-year-olds in training sale at Calder. He was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley Stable and turned over to trainer Eoin Harty. Desert Party won his debut by 3 3/4 lengths over Arlington Park's Polytrack, overcoming post 10 in the 11-horse field. He ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.97 seconds and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 71.

"His debut was visually impressive," Harty said. "I don't think the time was outstanding, but he did it from the 10-hole, which is virtually impossible to win from at Arlington."

Harty doesn't see making the transition from the synthetic track to Saratoga's dirt track as an issue. Desert Party worked five furlongs in 1:00.07 over the main track on Saturday.

"I don't think that'll be as big a question as the competition he's facing," said Harty, whose horse will be ridden by Edgar Prado from post 3.

Bobby Frankel purchased Vineyard Haven privately after that son of Lido Palace won his debut on June 28 at Calder for owner/trainer Lynne Scace. Frankel, who sold part of the colt to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, said he would look at the field before deciding whether to run. The defection of Notonthesamepage makes it likely that he will start.

Buillon Cache, a son of Seeking the Gold who won a maiden race in his second start, could become the main speed of the race for trainer Todd Pletcher. Officer Ipod, a front-running winner at Delaware, could also show speed breaking from the rail.

Dagnabit, winner of the Tremont Stakes at Belmont, and Phosphorescent complete the field.