06/13/2010 11:00PM

Le Grand Cru sold, now with Pletcher


ELMONT, N.Y. - Le Grand Cru, who won the Grade 3 Westchester at Aqueduct in April before finishing fifth to Quality Road in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, has been sold privately and transferred to Pletcher. Mike Stinson bought the horse from owner Judson Streicher, who had the horse with Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens.

Pletcher said he has not yet figured out a plan for Le Grand Cru, who has excelled in one-turn, one-mile races at Belmont Park. Pletcher is considering running Le Grand Cru in the $250,000 Salvator Mile, a two-turn race at Monmouth Park on July 3.

"The horse came in in terrific shape," said Pletcher, who worked the horse four furlongs in 48.50 seconds Monday morning at Belmont. "For Mr. Jerkens, the horse did well doing a lot of different things."

Clement aide heads to Saudi Arabia

Nicholas Bachalard, who worked as an assistant to trainer Christophe Clement for 16 years, has accepted a position to be a trainer for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. His last day for Clement was Sunday. He begins work in Saudi Arabia in July.

"For me, I thought it was the right time, the right opportunity," Bachalard, 41, said. "I think with Chris I was always around good horses, I wanted the opportunity to train good horses and there I'll have the opportunity to train good horses. I'll go there for two years and see what happens. Eventually, I may come back."

In 2005, Clement sold stakes winner Dynever to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The horse finished second in two stakes, including the Dubai World Cup.

Bachalard has been with Clement since 1994 and worked around a bevy of stakes winners, including Flag Down, Danish, England's Legend, Forbidden Apple, Rutherienne, and Voodoo Dancer.

"He's been a great asset for the stable over the years," Clement said. "I wish him the best in his new and exciting adventure."

Clement said he has hired Thomas Brandebourger to replace Bachalard. Brandebourger has worked for several trainers, including Nick Zito. Clement, who has divisions at Belmont and Saratoga, also has assistants Christophe Lorieul and Ben Colebrok.

Albertus Maximus eyes comeback

Grade 1 winner Albertus Maximus worked three furlongs in 38.15 seconds Sunday morning at Belmont as he attempts to come back from a variety of ailments.

In 2008, when trained by Vladimir Cerin, Albertus Maximus won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita before being purchased privately by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum and turned over to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. In his first start for those connections, he won the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream in January 2009. After that, he went to Dubai, where he finished sixth to Well Armed in the World Cup.

Albertus Maximus emerged from Dubai with a tendon injury. He returned to training last fall, but after three workouts, Albertus Maximus suffered an injury to a splint bone. That bone was eventually removed.

"He's doing great," McLaughlin said. "He's worked a couple of times, his gallops are quite strong. He's not as far away from a race as two works would indicate. He's not going to make the Suburban [July 3] but he shouldn't be too long after that."

It's unlikely that he would run in the Whitney on Aug. 7. McLaughlin is pointing Redding Colliery to that race. Redding Colliery won the Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31 by 6 3/4 lengths, earning a 111 Beyer.

Haynesfield sharp in return

Haynesfield, the reigning New York-bred horse of the year, returned from a layoff of nearly seven months to record a 2 1/2-length victory in a restricted allowance race Sunday. He ran one mile in 1:34.69 and earned a 99 Beyer.

"Nice race, he got a lot out of it, glad to have him back," said Toby Sheets, the New York-based assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen.

Haynesfield, who hadn't run since taking the Grade 3 Discovery last November, has now won 7 of 10 races and is likely headed back to open stakes company at some point. Sheets said "no plans" have been made for Haynesfield. One possible spot could be the Grade 2 Suburban here on July 3, though that would mean running back in less than three weeks.