07/21/2008 11:00PM

Giant Gizmo out of Whitney with fracture


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Giant Gizmo, who would have been one of the favorites for Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, will be sidelined for the remainder of the year with a non-displaced condylar fracture of his right foreleg, trainer Bobby Frankel said Tuesday.

Frankel said the injury occurred during a workout Monday at Belmont Park in which Giant Gizmo went five furlongs in 1:03.27. Frankel said Giant Gizmo was scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday at Belmont during which Dr. Stephen Selway would insert screws to stabilize the bone.

Frankel said Giant Gizmo would need four to six months off but could come back to the races next year.

Giant Gizmo, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway owned by Frank Stronach, had won three consecutive races, including the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill Downs and the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap in his last start.

"The truth of the matter was [Monday] was the best he's warmed up," Frankel said. "I guess he overextended himself."

In addition to losing Giant Gizmo, the Whitney also officially lost Metropolitan Handicap winner Divine Park. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had said over the weekend that the horse was doubtful, but on Tuesday said Divine Park would point to the Gradeo1 Woodward on Aug. 30.

McLaughlin said Divine Park had missed a couple of works following the Met Mile and had taken a little bit longer than usual to warm up prior to his morning training. McLaughlin said Divine Park was to arrive in Saratoga on Wednesday and train regularly up to the Woodward.

The field for the Whitney will be drawn Thursday and is expected to include Commentator, who would be the 120-pound starting highweight, as well as Student Council, A. P. Arrow, Notional, Rising Moon, Solar Flare, and Timber Reserve. Tasteyville is a possibility.

Fabulous Strike back in graded stakes

After making a successful comeback against just two horses in the Vincent Moscarelli Stakes at Delaware Park, Fabulous Strike returns to graded stakes competition in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. Winner of the Grade 1 Vosburgh last year, Fabulous Strike was made the 121-pound highweight and will give three pounds to undefeated Grade 1 winner Bustin Stones.

Trainer Todd Beattie shipped Fabulous Strike to Saratoga on July 14 and worked him five furlongs in 59.84 seconds Saturday. Beattie said he shipped in early because Astor Park, his only other Saratoga starter, got extremely tired when finishing ninth in last year's Grade 1 Test.

"We had time to bring him here, train him a little bit, give him the opportunity to adjust to his surroundings," Beattie said. "That's how we handled the Aristides last year."

Beattie was referring to the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill, which Fabulous Strike won by two lengths for his first graded stakes victory. After winning the Vosburgh, Fabulous Strike suffered from a severe lung infection that kept him away from the races for nine months.

"We feel really confident that we have a bigger, stronger horse this year," Beattie said. "He weighs more."

In addition to Fabulous Strike and Bustin Stones, the Vanderbilt is expected to include Abraaj, Black Seventeen, First Defence, Sammarco, and Thor's Echo.

Diana draws outstanding field

The Whitney is the featured event of Saturday's stakes-filled card, but the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana Stakes for female turf runners may have the deepest, strongest field.

Those expected to run in the 1 1/8-mile Diana are Bit of Whimsy, Criminologist, Dynaforce, Forever Together, Lady Digby, Rutherienne, Vacare, and Wait a While. The winner receives an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf through the Win and You're In program.

Christophe Clement, who trains both Rutherienne and Vacare, believes Vacare can move forward significantly from her lone start this year. Vacare returned from an eight-month layoff last month in the Gradeo1 Just a Game at Belmont Park. She drew the outside post in a field of 10 going a mile, never got close to the rail, and wound up eighth, though beaten just four lengths.

"She was a little short for the Just a Game," Clement said Tuesday morning while watching his horses train on the Oklahoma training track. "She has improved since then. She looks great. Everything was against her last time. She was fresh. She was wide the whole way. She had a terrible post. Because of the draw, she had no racing luck last time."

As Clement was speaking, Edgar Prado, who is scheduled to ride Vacare in the Diana, walked by.

Clement, raising his voice, said, "And Mr. Prado will give her a great trip."

Clement will be keeping his eye on the weather. The forecast for the middle of the week here is for significant amounts of rain.

"She wouldn't like it soft," Clement said. "I think she might be better on firm turf than soft turf. But I'll worry about that Saturday morning."

Vacare, 5, was second to Wait a While in the Ballston Spa Handicap here last summer. She has won 6 times in 9 starts, with her biggest victory coming in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland in October 2006.

Few challengers for Ginger Punch

Only a handful of older fillies are expected to take on the reigning champion of the division, Ginger Punch, in the Grade 1, $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap on Saturday. As of Tuesday, only Copper State, Indescribable, Over Under, and Runway Rosie were certain to enter the 1 1/8-mile race.

Clement said he was not sure whether he would try again with Moon Catcher, who finished 15 lengths behind Ginger Punch after stumbling at the start of the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park on June 14.

"She is a possibility. I have to speak to the owner," Clement said, referring to Marsha Naify. "When she ran in the Phipps, I think I made a mistake. I undertrained her and told the rider to take her back. I think she is better if she is trained aggressively and ridden aggressively."

Ginger Punch was assigned top weight of 124 pounds for the Go For Wand, which she won last year by six lengths. Indescribable and Moon Catcher were assigned 115 pounds. The winner of the race receives an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, formerly known as the Distaff, which Ginger Punch won last year.

Run Away and Hide waits for Special

Trainer Ronny Werner did not enter his stakes-winning 2-year-old Run Away and Hide in Thursday's Sanford Stakes, electing to wait for the $150,000 Saratoga Special on Aug. 14.

"He's coming off a little bit of a layoff and he's just not quite there," Werner said. "This race was the goal, but we're just not quite there yet."

Another potential top contender for the Sanford, Heir to the Stone, is bypassing the Sanford to await the Special.

Heir to the Stone, a colt by Birdstone, won his debut by 5 3/4 lengths against New York-breds at Belmont Park on July 10. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

"He ran too fast to run him back this quick," Rick Violette Jr., the trainer of Heir to the Stone, said Tuesday morning. "We're going to wait for the Special. He's got a good mind. He's a pretty cool little horse."

* After several races around two turns, including a 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Visionaire returns to a sprint in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance Thursday. It is the seventh race on the card. Visionaire most recently was third in the 1 1/16-mile Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill. He was a powerful winner of a one-turn mile at Gulfstream earlier this year. An option later this meet could be the Grade 1, $250,000 Kings Bishop Stakes at seven furlongs on Aug. 23. Visionaire is adding blinkers Thursday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman