10/06/2016 11:40AM

Mongolian Saturday enters Woodford Stakes rusty

Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mongolian Saturday will be making his first start since July in the Woodford.

After logging thousands of frequent-flier miles this year, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday returns to Keeneland, where he blossomed last fall, to again use the Grade 3, $150,000 Woodford Stakes as a launching point toward his fall target.

The 5 1/2-furlong Woodford, which goes as the first of five graded stakes on Saturday’s card, drew 12 in the main body of the field, plus two also-eligibles.

In his first appearance at Keeneland one year ago, Mongolian Saturday was second in an eventful, off-the-turf Woodford, his fifth stakes placing of the season. Four weeks later, he rallied to edge Lady Shipman by a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

From there, Mongolian Saturday took his show on the road but has missed the board in four Group 1 races. He finished a creditable fifth in the Hong Kong Sprint in December but was forced to skip the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai due to shipping sickness. He was rerouted back to Hong Kong, finishing ninth in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize. He then spent the summer in England, finishing ninth in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and 11th in the July Cup at Newmarket, emerging from the latter with an ulcer problem.

“The horse is now doing good,” trainer Enebish Ganbat said. “We treated and scoped him in Lexington here.”

Mongolian Saturday has trained well at Ganbat’s Arlington Park base, but the trainer is realistic.

“I would be happy if he can place third [or better],” Ganbat said. “He hasn’t raced since July, and we don’t know his condition. He seems good.”

Awaiting Mongolian Saturday is another world traveler, Undrafted, whose most recent victory came in the Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes in April at Keeneland, his home base. He was sixth in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race he won last year. He returned to the U.S. to finish third in the Lucky Coin Stakes and fourth in the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint .

Undrafted is the morning-line favorite at 7-2 over Mongolian Saturday and Alsvid, both listed at 5-1. Alsvid was cross-entered in the Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes on Friday’s card.

Woodford, Race 5


Mongolian Saturday, by Any Given Saturday

Last 3 Beyers: NA-NA-NA

◗ Drew post, 12 under Carlos Montalvo; he successfully navigated this course from post 14 to win the BC Turf Sprint.

Undrafted, by Purim

Last 3 Beyers: 89-95-100

◗ Most recent victory came in the Shakertown with Joe Bravo aboard; Bravo will be in the irons again Saturday.

◗ He’s trying to become the third horse to win the Shakertown and Woodford in the same year.

Big Rock, by Rockport Harbor

Last 3 Beyers: 95-93-81

◗ Making his stakes debut off back-to-back wins at this distance on the Saratoga turf, with career-best Beyer Speed Figures.

◗ Jose Ortiz, the leading rider at Saratoga, is in to ride for Christophe Clement.