09/04/2010 4:13PM

Forever Together going longer in Glens Falls


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The Grade 3, $100,000 Glens Falls Stakes isn’t usually where one would expect to find a champion, but for many reasons this race makes perfect sense for 2008 female turf Eclipse Award winner Forever Together.

First, Forever Together has not won since taking the Grade 1 Diana here 13 months ago. She has finished second or third in her last six starts, including a head loss in the last month’s Diana.

Second, this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf – a race Forever Together won in 2008 – is run at 1 3/8 miles and not 1 1/4 miles. Forever Together has yet to run beyond 1 1/4 miles.

In most of her starts this year, Forever Together has been compromised by a slow pace. In the Diana, she was sixth of seven at the quarter pole, got bumped by another horse, but then closed determinedly, only to miss by a head.

“She was jostled a little bit in the stretch, and I think that took her focus off a little bit,” trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. “When she got loose from that horse, she put her head down and went after the horses in front of her to try and catch then, and she just ran out of ground.”

Sheppard is hoping that going a longer distance will allow Forever Together, who will break from post 9 under Julien Leparoux, to lay closer to the pace.

“I would like to think so,” Sheppard said. “She’s fast. I don’t really think she needs to be quite so far out of it. If it turns into a sprint the last three-eighths, maybe she would be able to outrun them. I don’t care how slow they go as long as she’s not 100 lengths out of it.”

There appears to be some speed in the field, with Go Ask Alex, Kiawah Cat, and Liberally entered.

Striking Dancer, who won the Grade 2 La Canada at Santa Anita, makes her first start since finishing third in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare on April 16. Trainer Ken McPeek gave the filly a break by design to have a fresh horse for the fall.

“She’ll like the mile and three-eighths,” said McPeek, who scratched the filly out of an overnight stakes going a mile Saturday. “She’s won three times on the turf. I just figured to go for the graded race.”

Casablanca Smile, second in the Waya Stakes at 1 1/2 miles, also figures to lay close to the pace.

Keertana, Sweet and Flawless, and Beauty O’Gwaun complete the field.