10/21/2010 3:16PM

Goldberg hopeful Straight Story will bounce back in Mohawk

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Alan Goldberg says Straight Story will be allowed to run freely in Saturday's Mohawk Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Alan Goldberg blames himself for Straight Story’s last-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile last month.

“The trainer gave the jockey poor instructions,” said Goldberg, who said he instructed jockey Rajiv Maragh to take a hold of the free-running colt. “He did everything I asked him to do and the horse resented every part of it. You can’t change horses, I know that. Just throw it out. Hopefully, he’ll rebound and run well.”

Straight Story will get the chance to rebound in Saturday’s $125,000 Mohawk Stakes for New York-breds, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles over Belmont Park’s inner turf course. Straight Story, who finished second in this race last year to Banrock, has defeated New York-breds the last two times he has faced them, including a one-length victory over Pocket Cowboys in the West Point at Saratoga in August and an 8 1/2-length romp in a second-level allowance race over Belmont’s inner turf in May.

In addition to returning to his free-running ways, Straight Story will be reunited with Javier Castellano, who has been aboard for the colt’s last two victories. In a race without much speed, Straight Story figures to be stalking Spa City Fever in the early stages.

Uncle T Seven and Pocket Cowboys, the one-two finishers of the Ashley T. Cole Stakes here on Sept. 12, are the major threats to Straight Story.

Uncle T Seven, who will be coupled in the wagering with Pretty Boy Freud due to common ownership, stormed from well off the pace to win the Cole under Julien Leparoux. Saturday, he will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, who is 2 for 2 aboard the colt.

Pocket Cowboys has finished second in both the West Point and Ashley T. Cole, races in which he demonstrated the ability to come from off the pace.

Johannesburg Smile finished second to Yankee Fourtune in a first-level turf allowance last out. Yankee Fourtune came back to win another allowance and the Hawthorne Derby in his next two starts.

Ticonderoga: Whose turn is it this time?

On the degree of difficulty scale, handicapping the $125,000 Ticonderoga Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf is off the charts. That may help explain why the racing office put it as the last race on the card.

After two strong performances – albeit losses – over a Saratoga turf course she has had trouble negotiating, You Go West Girl appeared poised to win the John Hettinger when racing returned to Belmont last month. But she finished a lackluster fourth and has now lost six straight since winning this race by three lengths last year.

Still, it’s hard to totally dismiss You Go West Girl as her closing style has proven successful over this course. Jose Lezcano, You Go West Girl’s regular rider, has won several turf stakes rallying from last. You Go West Girl will break from the rail.

Trainer Bill Badgett sends out the uncoupled entry of Chestoria and Exclusive Scheme. Though Chestoria is the more accomplished career-wise, Exclusive Scheme has won two stakes this year, including the Hettinger.

“She’s caught up with that group of horses, she can definitely hold her own,” Badgett said of Exclusive Scheme. “She seems to get a little better out of each race. She’s doing things really easy and right. She looks good, She’s happy. You can’t ask for more than that right now.”

Exclusive Scheme will break from post 3 under Ramon Dominguez.

Meriwether Jessica reeled off three consecutive victories, including a neck score in the Yaddo at 1 1/8 miles, before finishing last in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel last time out at Belmont. Trainer Rick Violette says he still does not know why Meriwether Jessica ran so poorly that day, but has decided to throw the race out and move on.

Ms Stilleto has not been out since June 4, but has shown the ability to run well fresh and is 4 for 7 over Belmont’s turf course. Akilina is winless in five starts this year, but has finished in the top three in 10 of her last 12 starts.