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Medallist might skip Jim Dandy
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens has enjoyed many great days at Saratoga. Friday wasn't one of them.
With the track fast for the first time in a week, Jerkens decided to give Medallist his first test around two turns in a one-mile workout over the main track. Breaking off from the mile pole - located on the clubhouse turn - Medallist, with jockey Jorge Chavez up, went too fast early and too slow late in a one-mile move timed in 1:41.04.
Now, Jerkens is reconsidering whether to run Medallist in next Sunday's Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes.
"I don't know what I'm going to do now,'' Jerkens said. "He doesn't have to run. He can run in the King's Bishop and Jerome. You hate to run in any race without a little bit of confidence. That doesn't give you any confidence.''
The Jim Dandy was scheduled to be the two-turn debut for Medallist, who looked very good winning the Dwyer Stakes, a one-turn, 1 1/16-mile-race at Belmont last month. Prior to that, Medallist won the Withers Stakes, a one-turn mile event at Aqueduct.
The King's Bishop, run on the Travers undercard on Aug. 28, is a one-turn, seven-furlong race. The Jerome, a one-turn mile race, is run at Belmont on Sept. 18.
Jerkens said the good news about the work was that Medallist didn't try to bear out during the workout, something he had done in winning the Withers in May.
There was other disappointing news coming from the Jerkens barn. Passing Shot, the upset winner of the 2003 Personal Ensign Handicap, suffered a foot bruise and was not entered for Sunday's Go for Wand.
"One of her feet is hot," Jerkens said. "I haven't got the X-rays yet. I hope it's just a bruise."
Mott-Bailey win another Baruch
Even when things don't go as planned, trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey find a way to win the Bernard Baruch Handicap.
Silver Tree, who usually races close to the pace, was sixth and three wide in the early stages of Friday's race. After advancing wide on the turn and into the stretch, Silver Tree outfinished Nothing to Lose to win the Grade 2, $150,000 Bernard Baruch by a neck. It was another half-length back to Irish Colonial in third.
It was the fifth time in the last seven years that Mott and Bailey have won this race together. In 1999, they missed winning it by a neck with Tangazi.
Bailey said that Silver Tree didn't want to stay with the pace leaving the gate so Bailey let him drop back off the pace. He was sixth after an opening half-mile run in 49.26 seconds and advanced into contention down the backside. He was three wide all the way around, joined favored Nothing to Lose - who had been bumped by Mr. Light entering the first turn - turning for home, and outsprinted Nothing to Lose to the wire.
"I let him settle back in a nice spot and he became the hunter instead of the hunted, and I think that was an advantage on today's course,'' said Bailey, who has won this race seven times.
Silver Tree, a 4-year-old son of Hennessy owned by bred by Peter Vegso, covered the nine furlongs in 1:49.66. He returned $7.50 as the second choice. Silver Tree has won 6 of 12 starts and earned $548,320.
"I don't think either Jerry or I expected him to be back that far because he's even been a little anxious in some of his mile races,'' Mott said. "But, he settled very well for whatever reason today and it was a very good race for him. We had never been on this type of ground before, but he handled it well.''
Eddington probable for Jim Dandy
Trainer Mark Hennig said Eddington, the fourth-place finisher in the Belmont Stakes, is likely to run next in the Jim Dandy here rather than the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park. Both races are run on Aug. 8.
"I'm probably leaning that way right now,'' Hennig said, pointing out that owner Peter Willmott likes Saratoga. "I'd like to get a race over the track'' prior to the Travers. "If Rock Hard Ten were to not show up [at Monmouth] we might change our plans. But I watched the races last week and it looked like that track was getting pretty speed favoring. Once it gets like that it makes it pretty difficult.''
Hennig also said that Richard Migliore would ride Eddington in the Jim Dandy, replacing Jerry Bailey. Migliore rode Eddington in his first career start when he finished second, beaten a nose.
Those considered definite for the Jim Dandy are Britt's Jules, Niigon, Purge, and The Cliff's Edge. Possible starters include Chippewa Trail, Courageous Act, and Swingforthefences.
Johnson returns to Saratoga
Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson, who has won at least one race at Saratoga for the last 36 years, was back on the Saratoga backstretch Friday morning. Johnson, who has been battling cancer and who earlier this year lost his wife of 59 years, Mary Kay, watched his filly Fortunate Damsel breeze on the turf course in preparation for Monday's Grade 3, $100,000 Lake George Handicap for 3-year-old fillies.
"I wanted to watch that filly,'' said Johnson, who was at the barn for about an hour. "It felt good to be out at the barn.''
Clockers credited Fortunate Damsel with a five-furlong move in 1:06.09.
Fortunate Damsel, a daughter of Runaway Groom, is coming off a half-length victory in the Fieldy Stakes at Belmont on July 2. She is now 2 for 4 on turf.
"We'll run on the dirt or the turf,'' said Johnson, noting there is a forecast for rain through the weekend. "It'll be a tough race.''
Among those being pointed to the Lake George are Virginia Oaks winner Art Fan, multiple graded stakes winner Lucifer's Stone, Irish stakes winner Venturi, as well as Delta Sensation, La Reina, Really American, River Belle, Savage Beauty, and Seducer's Song.
Trainer Christophe Clement said he plans to run Seducer's Song instead of the French 1000 Guineas winner Torrestrella.
"She's doing fine, I just prefer to give her a little more time,'' Clement said of Torrestrella.
Pomeroy may start in Amsterdam
After Pomeroy won the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup June 26, trainer Patrick Biancone was planning to train him up to the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes here Aug. 28.
But after watching Pomeroy breeze a strong five furlongs in 59.31 seconds on Friday, Biancone may run him in next Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes.
"The horse worked so well, I need to talk to my people, but we may run in the Amsterdam,'' Biancone said. "There's an old French saying that translates into 'Only the stupid people don't change their mind.' "
Those pointing to the Amsterdam include Bwana Charlie, Classy Migration, Mass Media, Quick Action, Smokume, and Weigelia.
Badge of Silver nearing return
Badge of Silver, unraced since finishing fifth in the General George Handicap in February, is getting closer to his return to the races. Friday, Badge of Silver worked seven furlongs in 1:23.33. Apprentice jockey Jordan Charkoydian was up for the move.
"We squeezed on him today," said trainer Ronny Werner, who may run Badge of Silver once before the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 4. "I wanted a pretty good workout today because we're getting close. He was ready for this. I'd like to have seen him go the first part a little slower and finish up good, but he worked well.''
Badge of Silver was scheduled to run in the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct in April. He was scratched the morning of the race with a recurring foot problem. Badge of Silver had developed a callus-like growth called a keratoma. Badge of Silver underwent surgery, which left a quarter-sized hole in his foot.
"We tried to contain the growth, but it kept getting bigger,'' Werner said. "After talking to several trainers and veterinarians, hardly any of them experienced keratoma with their horses - it's that rare. We called a lot of specialists and got opinions, then decided to have it cut out.''
Bond colt breaks down
Awesome Drive, an unraced 3-year-old colt trained by James Bond, broke down during a workout on the Oklahoma training track on Friday and had to be euthanized.
The work was supposed to be the next-to-last move for Awesome Drive before he made his debut on Aug. 14. The colt cost $340,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales in 2002.
Bond said he had called Bob Frieze, the agent for Edgar Prado, to tell him, "I got a really nice horse that was going to win first time out. . . . Tough game.''
* West Virginia, preparing for a start in Wednesday's $250,000 Cab Calloway division for the New York Stallion Stakes, worked five furlongs in 1:00.51 over the main track on Friday.