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In Jack's Memory works for Amsterdam
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. − Trainer Eric Guillot admits that In Jack’s Memory may be ambitiously placed in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga on Aug. 2, when he is expected to make his graded stakes debut against the likes of Discreetly Mine, General Maximus, and perhaps Noble’s Promise. But anybody who watched In Jack’s Memory work a bullet five furlongs in 59.08 seconds here Thursday might not dismiss him.
A lightly raced son of Malibu Moon, In Jack’s Memory is one of 17 horses Guillot has stabled here this summer in his first regular tour of duty at Saratoga. In Jack’s Memory won his maiden at second asking this winter at the Fair Grounds and followed with an even better first-level allowance win three weeks later at Louisiana Downs. He tried two turns for the first time in his most recent start but got in an early duel for the lead before fading badly in his stakes and turf debut.
“I gave him a hard work this morning because he hadn’t worked in a while, and he went well and galloped out good,” Guillot said. “He’s a proven bleeder, but he didn’t bleed today. I’ll probably bring him back for one more easy breeze before the race sometime next week.”
Miguel Mena was aboard In Jack’s Memory for Thursday’s work and will ride him for the second time in the Amsterdam. Mena rode In Jack’s Memory in his maiden win in New Orleans.
“You can throw his last race right out,” Guillot said. “He’s not bred for the grass, but I needed to get a little conditioning in him, and there were no condition races for him in Louisiana. Obviously, this is going to be a big test for him, and I’m kind of throwing him to the wolves a bit running a horse eligible for a two-other-than in a Grade 2. But at the end of the day, he needs a start, so we’ll see where we stand.”
The big horse in Guillot’s barn is Champagne d’Oro, who won the Grade 1 Acorn earlier this spring and was second to Fanny Freud in the Grade 1 Prioress after an unlucky trip. Champagne d’Oro will make her Saratoga debut in the Grade 1 Test on Aug. 7.
Guillot also has high hopes for a couple of maiden 2-year-olds here this summer: Elle the Stage, who is a daughter of Show Me the Stage, a four-time Grade 3 winner under Guillot’s tutelage; and Cherry Zapper, the younger sister of Grade 1 winners Daaher and Spun Sugar.
Guillot, who raced in Southern California last summer, said the strength of his stable wasn’t the only reason he decided to try Saratoga for the first time this year.
“I had to get off the synthetics,” Guillot said. “As far as I’m concerned, synthetic tracks are like kryptonite for horses.”
Dutrow biding time with Rail Trip
Rail Trip, among the top handicap horses in the country, has been in light training at Saratoga since arriving from Southern California last week, and his connections hope to make either the $750,000 Woodward here Sept. 4 or the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 2, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said.
“When he’s ready I’ll know, but now he’s not ready,” Dutrow said Thursday at Saratoga. “We think there’s something going on behind. We’re not sure, so we have to bide our time and play around with him until we know. But he came to us in very good shape. We’re very happy to be around him. That was a very pleasant surprise for our stable.”
Rail Trip has won 8 of 12 starts, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup last year. He won a pair of graded stakes to kick off this year but was beaten one-half length in the Hollywood Gold Cup. After the race, owner Mace Siegel decided to transfer the horse from Ron Ellis to Dutrow in part to get the horse based on a dirt surface. He has raced exclusively on synthetic surfaces.
Dutrow said he has galloped Rail Trip a couple of times, but the horse has mostly been jogging at Saratoga.
Meanwhile, Dutrow said I Want Revenge, who finished third in the Suburban at Belmont earlier this month, will make his next start in the Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park on Aug. 21.
“We’re happy to do that,” said Dutrow, who was planning to work the horse at Aqueduct on Friday. “He’s in good shape. He’s in a zone down there.”
Castellano seeks breakthrough
Jockey Javier Castellano has had some memorable days at Saratoga in the last decade, including victories aboard Bernardini in the 2006 Travers and Jim Dandy, Mass Media in the 2005 Forego, Pine Island in the 2006 Alabama, and most recently Capt. Candyman Can in the 2009 King’s Bishop. He also won five races on closing day in 2004.
One thing Castellano has yet to achieve at the Spa is a riding title – something he hopes to accomplish this summer.
Castellano comes into the 2010 meet on a roll and is having one of the best years of his already outstanding career. A 32-year-old native of Venezuela, he began the season by winning 50 races this winter at Gulfstream Park, easily leading the standings before he left for Keeneland in late March. He also finished second in the standings behind Ramon Dominguez at the recently concluded Belmont Park spring-summer meet, where he had 50 wins. Castellano has won 131 races this year, including seven graded stakes.
“It would have been great to have won the Gulfstream Park title, especially since I began my U.S. career in south Florida and won championships at Calder, but I had to leave with a month left in the meet to go to Keeneland,” said Castellano, who is named on horses in all 10 races on Saturday’s program, including Bahama Bound in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. “I had good luck there, things continued to go well at Belmont, and I think we have a lot of momentum coming into this meet.”
Castellano, who has captured three Aqueduct riding titles, finished tied for fifth in the standings at Saratoga in 2009 with 26 victories.
“Naturally, it would be great to win the title this summer, and I think I have a pretty good chance if everything goes well,” Castellano said. “The one thing you need to come out on top more than anything else at this place is luck. Staying healthy, having the horses you’re riding stay healthy, and maybe winning an extra photo or two along the way.”
Godolphin horses could meet
One of the biggest problems Godolphin Stable and trainer Saad bin Suroor will have this summer is keeping some of their top older horses apart. Among those horses are Grade 1 winners Vineyard Haven and Gayego and Grade 2 winners Desert Party and Regal Ransom.
Vineyard Haven was scheduled to compete in Friday’s James Marvin overnight stakes. Assistant trainer Rick Mettee said there are several options in the weeks ahead for the others.
“We’ll probably nominate Gayego and Desert Party for the Vanderbilt and could even end up running them both in the race,” Mettee said. “It’s tricky placing these horses right now, especially with the Forego such a long way off. Regal Ransom could also go in the Forego, although races like the Whitney and Woodward are possible, along with the Iselin at Monmouth Park.”
Mettee also said Tahitian Warrior, a 3-year-old who scored a 7 3/4-length win in a seven-furlong allowance earlier this month at Belmont, could return in another conditioned allowance race. The Grade 1 King’s Bishop later in the meet is also a possibility, he said.
“We didn’t want to shorten him up for six furlongs for the Amsterdam, so we’ll just keep our options open with him, try to get a fix on who might go in the King’s Bishop, and plan accordingly,” Mettee said.
– additional reporting by David Grening