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Livin Lovin expected to improve in CCA Oaks
ELMONT, N.Y. - With Rachel Alexandra facing the boys in the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2, the racing office here had no problem filling Saturday's Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park, drawing a contentious field of eight.
Steve Klesaris, trainer of Oaks contender Livin Lovin, was obviously happy that Rachel Alexandra did not have the $300,000 CCA Oaks on her agenda.
"Obviously the objective was to be somewhere where she wasn't," Klesaris said. "I think that's everybody's objective."
Unfortunately, Livin Lovin hasn't made too many of her objectives this year, after needing time off to have a chip removed from an ankle late last year. She has run just once, a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day.
Livin Lovin, who won the Grade 3 Tempted last November, was shut off at the break, then was bumped severely in upper stretch and carried out in deep stretch by Casanova Move while finishing fourth, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths by Gabby's Golden Gal.
"It was kind of a rough trip," trainer Steve Klesaris said.
Klesaris said Livin Lovin came out of the Acorn very well and has "trained beautiful" leading up to this. Klesaris had Livin Lovin entered in two graded stakes last weekend at Delaware Park, but felt the Coaching Club American Oaks was "the best of our three options."
Livin Lovin will break from the rail under Ramon Dominguez in the eight-horse field. She is one of three Grade 3 stakes winners in the field. The others are Hightap, who enters the Coaching Club off back-to-back victories in the Dogwood at Churchill and the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows, and Don't Forget Gil, who won the Florida Oaks at Tampa in March.
Others entered in the 1 1/4-mile CCA Oaks include Wynning Ride, What a Pear, Devotee, Casanova Move, and Funny Moon.
Pompa loads up for Saratoga
Two summers ago, on the final day of the Saratoga meet, owner Paul Pompa Jr. unveiled a good-looking 2-year-old that would change his life forever. Pompa would eventually sell majority interest in Big Brown, but still kept a piece of the horse who would go on to win the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
This summer, Pompa hopes to be a player again at Saratoga, only this time he's going to try and do it with horses that he has purchased from others. In the last few weeks, Pompa - through bloodstock agent Nick Sallusto - has purchased all or most of three horses and all figure to run in the first half of the Saratoga meet.
Pompa's purchases include Franny Freud, a 2-year-old New York-bred filly who is likely to run in next Wednesday's Schuylerville, the opening day feature at Saratoga; Mary's Follies, a 3-year-old filly who won the Boiling Springs at Monmouth and who will run in the Grade 2 Lake George on July 31; and D' Funnbyone, a 2-year-old son of D'Wildcat who finished second in a stakes at Calder and who is slated to run in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on Aug. 20.
Franny Freud remained with trainer John Terranova as original owner Stephen Yarborough stayed in as part-owner. Mary's Follies and D' Funnybone both went to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., who trained Big Brown.
"All really fit where they're going," said Sallusto, who helped broker the Big Brown deal between Pompa and IEAH Stables two years ago.
Sallusto said he has been particularly impressed with Mary's Follies, a daughter of More Than Ready that he tried to buy after her allowance win on dirt on June 11.
"I liked her physically, she was balanced and good minded and just coming into her own," Sallusto said. "When she stretched out on the dirt I got more interested because most of these More Than Readys don't stretch out well. Physically, there are some wind issues with them, but this particular filly is not living with either one of those issues; she relished the extra ground and she had an unbelievable throat."
After winning her debut by seven lengths against three open company rivals that included colts, Franny Freud shipped up to Canada and ran second in the My Dear Stakes at five furlongs on Polytrack. D' Funnybone, won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths before getting beat a half-length in the Gomez on July 11.
Pompa has also moved his Grade 1 winner Backseat Rhythm to Dutrow from Kiaran McLaughlin. Earlier this year, he moved Backseat Rhythm from Pat Reynolds to McLaughlin.
NYRA names new CFO
The New York Racing Association has hired Ellen McClain as its new senior vice president/chief fFinancial officer, replacing Irene Posio, who was fired from that job in January. McClain will join NYRA in mid-August.
According to a NYRA release, McClain boasts a 20-year track record in media finance and operations and since 2004 has served as vice president of finance for Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., a publicly traded group operator of 29 local television stations.
McClain holds a master's degree in business administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a bachelor's degree in economics from Brown University.
Hello Broadway injured, retired
Hello Broadway, who never quite fulfilled the potential he displayed during his 2-year-old season, suffered a foot injury during Sunday's A Gift Stakes at Belmont and has been retired from racing, owner Elizabeth Valando said Wednesday.
Trained by Barclay Tagg, Hello Broadway won 2 of 9 starts and was stakes-placed multiple times, including a runner-up finish in the Nashua at 2 and the Hutcheson at 3. Hello Broadway is a half-brother to the Grade 1 winner Nobiz Like Shobiz, who now stands stud at Darby Dan Farm.
Valando said she hopes to make stallion arrangements for Hello Broadway in the near future.
Valando said that Tagg once told her that "Hello Broadway was the best horse he ever had."
Valando was hoping that Hello Broadway would become as successful on the turf as his brother. "Barclay thought he was going to be even better than Nobiz," she said.
Valando said that she owns a 2-year-old sister to those two colts in Makin Music, a daughter of Eurosilver she hopes to get to the races later this year.
NYRA guarantees Spa pick fours
Keeping in line with previous meets, the NYRA announced Wednesday that it will guarantee the late pick-four pool on Saturdays during the Saratoga meet at $500,000. The Saratoga meet begins July 29.
With 11 races carded for most Saturdays at Saratoga (13 on Travers Day), the late pick four will start on race 8 (race 10 on Travers Day).
During the Aqueduct spring meet, NYRA guaranteed the late pick-four pool on Saturdays at $250,000 and during the Belmont meet, the guarantee was $350,000.