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Lunarwarfare heads to Saratoga Special off strong debut
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It is not surprising that Lunarwarfare is here for Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special. It is somewhat surprising that he is here with his owner-breeder-trainer Michael Yates.
Following Lunarwarfare's 6 1/2-length debut victory at Gulfstream Park, there were a lot of people inquiring about purchasing the son of War Pass. While Yates considers himself "in the selling business," a deal was not consummated.
"There was a lot of interest, no deals closed," said Yates, who bought the eventual 2-year-old champion filly Stardom Bound as a yearling for $50,000 and sold her as a 2-year-old for $375,000 said. "But I presume there's still interest."
Lunarwarfare was very sharp in his debut. Despite being carried out wide by the pace-setter, Million Dollar Man, entering the far turn, Lunarwarfare galloped home an easy winner, covering 4 1/2 furlongs over a "good" track in 51.39 seconds and earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.
"That was the impressive thing about it, being his first start he did get carried out a little bit," said Yates, who races under the Shadybrook Farm banner. "Still, when he was asked down the lane he kicked on very impressively. He's got a great mind. He'll do whatever you want to do."
With several options on where to run, Yates settled on the Saratoga Special since the field he will face has pretty much accomplished the same thing as Lunarwarfare.
"I felt he fit in here," Yates said. "You don't get opportunities to come here often, so when you get them you take them."
Entries for the Saratoga Special will be taken Thursday. The field is expected to include debut winner Candy Dandy, Corfu, Danza, Mr. Viber, and possibly Twang. Wired Bryan, winner of the Sanford Stakes on July 21, is also possible.
Ari the Adventurer out of Adirondack
Ari the Adventurer, a good-looking debut winner at Belmont on July 11, will miss Sunday's Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes because of an unspecified issue.
"I have not been satisfied with the way she went the last couple of days, so we're going to send her for some tests," trainer Todd Pletcher said Tuesday.
Ari the Adventurer, a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile won her debut by 6 3/4 lengths against only three rivals at Belmont on July 11, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.
Pletcher may not have a runner in the Adirondack at all, as owner Mike Repole said Tuesday he plans to run both Stopchargingmaria and Our Amazing Rose -- both sharp debut winners at this meet -- in the Grade 1 Spinaway on Sept. 1.
"As of today I'm leaning toward taking two chances at a Grade 1," Repole said.
Among those expected for the Adirondack are Fiftyshadesofgold, Designer Legs, Thank You Marylou, Untapable, and Who's In Town.
Friedman enjoying terrific meet
Trainer Mitch Friedman says he always looks forward to coming to Saratoga every summer, even though his track record of success here has been spotty at best.
"I can't wait to get up here," Friedman said. "In January, I was already digging the stalls to come up here."
After winning just three races over the last seven summers here, Friedman is 3 for 9 at this year's meet.
"Even a blind squirrel finds a nut," Friedman said. "I never had live horses. They would be burned out from the winter and spring, and never had that many horses anyway. To me, the horses get refreshed up here and come back live for Belmont."
Not only has he won three races here, two of them have come on the turf. Before Thomas Hill won on the turf on July 22, Friedman had not won a turf race in Saratoga in 12 years.
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