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Jazil's return delayed till end of August
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Belmont Stakes winner Jazil won't be rejoining trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's barn as early as anticipated, and it is unclear whether he will be ready to make the Breeders' Cup Classic in November.
Last month, McLaughlin revealed that Jazil was suffering from bruising in a hind cannon bone and was going to spend a month on owner Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm in Kentucky. McLaughlin was hopeful to get the horse back on Aug. 10.
On Wednesday, Shadwell Farm manager Rick Nichols told McLaughlin that Jazil was progressing well but that he wouldn't be sending him back to him until the end of August at the earliest.
"He talked to Dr. [Larry] Bramlage and he wanted to wait till the end of this month to get him back to the track," McLaughlin said. "That gives him 60 days from his last work."
McLaughlin said that Jazil has been just walking for the last month, but that he will soon be turned out in a paddock for three or four weeks.
By getting him back in September, McLaughlin said that there may not be enough time to get him ready for the Breeders' Cup Classic, run Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
"It will be very hard," McLaughlin said. "It definitely lessens our chances."
A scare for Showing Up
Showing Up, the multiple-surface stakes-winning 3-year-old, survived a scare following a workout Monday over the Oklahoma turf course. After the work, another horse kicked Showing Up in the back hind leg, creating a gash.
Trainer Barclay Tagg said a clamp was used to close the gash and that no stitches were used. Tagg believes the horse will be fine and will be able to run in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 12.
"We never sewed it up, we flushed it out, clamped it, and prayed for two days," Tagg said. "You always worry about infection setting in, but it's been three days. I worked 10 horses that day and he was the last one I worked."
Showing Up, owned by Lael Stables, is coming off a win in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs on June 24.
Test is Plan B for Original Spin
Tony Mitchell sent Original Spin to Saratoga with a plan: Run in a second-level allowance race and then try to win the Victory Ride Stakes here on Aug. 24. Mitchell entered Original Spin three times in an allowance race, and each time the race didn't fill.
So, after discussing the situation with his owners, Mitchell entered Original Spin in Saturday's Grade 1 Test Stakes.
As a 2-year-old, Original Spin won the first two starts of her career, including the Grade 3 Arlington Lassie. She ended her campaign with a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She has run miserably in two starts this year, but Mitchell believes the filly has flourished since coming to Saratoga.
"If she runs back to her race in the Breeders' Cup, she's legitimate in there," Mitchell said. "I haven't got a prep into her, though she's training like a freight train."
Mitchell would have come to town this weekend whether Original Spin ran in the Test or not. His father-in-law, Bill Boland, is being inducted into the racing Hall of Fame on Monday.
Penna seeks better 'News'
Of the 12 horses trainer Angel Penna shipped up to Saratoga, he had spots picked out for seven of them. But things happen in this game, and four of the horses he was ready to run suffered minor setbacks and couldn't make their races.
Fortunately, nothing happened to Remarkable News, who will face his toughest test yet when he meets defending Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap.
Remarkable News had a three-race winning streak snapped in the Grade 3 Poker Handicap when he finished a troubled second to Rebel Rebel. Remarkable News was blocked behind horses and by the time he got clear, Rebel Rebel had gotten the jump on him.
"It could've happened to Rebel Rebel; he was in a better spot than we were," Penna said. "Don't get me wrong, Rebel Rebel ran a very strong race, but we really had problems."
Penna said Remarkable News is doing "as good as he can possibly do," and he believes it's time to try the big guns.
"It gets to the point you got to put your horse on the line so you can plan the rest of the year, either skip the big ones or try to spot him properly," Penna said. "He's doing good; this is the time to try. If we can't do it this time, we might not be able to do it ever."
Only five horses are expected for the Fourstardave: Artie Schiller, Ashkal Way, Diamond Green, Noble Causeway, and Remarkable News.
New to Saratoga. What were the odds?
By his count, renowned oddsmaker Roxy Roxborough has visited more than 120 racetracks worldwide since 1968, but had never been to Saratoga. He was ready to make his maiden voyage to the Spa Wednesday, but the card was canceled due to extreme heat. It was the first time in the 138-year history of the track that a Saragota card was canceled due to heat.
Roxborough, who lives in Bangkok, made it to Saratoga for Thursday's card, and promised to get two days' worth of fun into one.
"All I can say is I don't like to get shortchanged," Roxborough said. "I plan to drink twice as much and bet twice as much today."
Roxborough was in town this week to speak at the Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law Conference on Tuesday.
So, what does Roxborough think of Saratoga?
"It has the trifecta of one, people; two, festive atmosphere; and three, it's got horses," he said.
Larry Jones targeting another Grade 1
Trainer Larry Jones is stabled at Delaware Park but is fast becoming a familiar name in filly and mare stakes races in New York.
Last month, Jones sent out Wildcat Bettie B to win the Grade 1 Prioress Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park. On Saturday, he seeks another Grade 1 win when Hello Liberty goes off among the favorites in the Test Stakes.
"Having Hello Liberty in the barn allowed us the luxury of giving Wildcat Bettie B a little extra time off instead of bringing her right back in the Test," Jones said. "Right now we've got the Victory Ride Stakes penciled in for her."
The Grade 3 Victory Ride is at six furlongs on Aug. 24.
Lady of Venice to Lake Placid
Trainer Patrick Biancone said the 3-year-old filly Lady of Venice came back in good order from her fifth-place finish as the even-money favorite against older horses in Saturday's Grade 1 Diana Handicap, which was run over a yielding turf course.
"She's doing well," he said. "She just doesn't seem to enjoy the soft ground."
Lady of Venice likely will return against3-year-olds in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at 1 1/8 miles Aug. 18, Biancone said.
NYRA hires one, promotes three
The New York Racing Association on Thursday announced one hiring and three promotions to its management staff. John Ryan, a former COO for Heating Oil Partners, Partners LP, has been hired as senior vice president and chief administrative officer. In his new position, which begins Aug. 8, Ryan will be responsible for facilities, information technology, parking and admissions and security.
Charles Hayward, NYRA's president and CEO, also announced the promotions of Bill Nader, Ken Cook, and John Tierney. Nader, a senior vice president, is now senior vice president and chief operating officer. Cook, director of security, is now vice president of security. Tierney is now vice president of facilities.
Tierney will continue to oversee NYRA's three tracks - Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga - which comprise 972 acres of land and 2.6 million square feet of building space.
- additional reporting by Mike Welsch