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O'Neill ventures cross country
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Off to a hot start at the Del Mar meet, trainer Doug O'Neill will try his luck in two Grade 1's at Saratoga over the weekend.
O'Neill, who was tied for first in the Del Mar trainer standings with five winners through Monday, will run Winendynme in Saturday's $500,000 Diana and Andujar in the following day's $250,000 Go for Wand.
Based in California, O'Neill has made two previous trips to Saratoga without any success, but can change that with Andujar and Winendynme.
On June 4, Andujar won the Grade 2 Milady Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park by seven lengths in her first start for O'Neill and owner J. Paul Reddam and his partners, who privately purchased Andujar in the spring. After the Milady, she finished third as the favorite in the Grade 1 Vanity on July 3. O'Neill blames himself for the loss in the Vanity, where Andujar was beaten less than a length.
"I was really kind on her for 10 days or two weeks [after the Milady], and I think it took its toll in the last part in the Vanity," O'Neill said.
O'Neill will remove the blinkers on Andujar in the Go for Wand because, he said, she trains and works well without them. Corey Nakatani has the mount.
Winendynme wheels back on short rest in the Diana following a sixth-place finish in Saturday's John Mabee at Del Mar. O'Neill said the race didn't take anything out of her, and since he was already sending Andujar to Saratoga, he elected to ship Winendynme as well.
Before the Mabee, Winendynme was second to Megahertz in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills. Rafael Bejarano has the mount in the Diana.
Both of O'Neill's fillies were scheduled to arrive in Saratoga on Tuesday.
Zito has two ready for Jim Dandy
Nick Zito had picked out Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy for Andromeda's Hero's next start shortly after he ran second to Afleet Alex in the Belmont Stakes. Andromeda's Hero will have some familiar company in the starting gate, as Zito will also send out Noble Causeway. The Jim Dandy is a stepping-stone to the Travers on Aug. 27.
Zito said he had thought about running Noble Causeway in an allowance race, but feared it wouldn't go. He also said he wasn't sure an allowance is the best way to get to the Travers.
"I've never seen anyone win the Travers off an allowance," said Zito, who won last year's Travers with Birdstone. "He was one of the better 3-year-olds. He was second in the Florida Derby, and a lot of people liked him in the Kentucky Derby. He never had a chance in the Derby, never had a chance in the Preakness. He's fresh now. I think we're just going to go."
Zito said Jerry Bailey will ride Noble Causeway in the Jim Dandy. Gary Stevens had ridden him in the two Triple Crown races. Zito said Stevens did nothing wrong in either race, but he is just looking for a fresh start.
Zito said he has been pleased with how Andromeda's Hero has trained since the Belmont, including a five-furlong work in 1:01.72 last Saturday over the main track. The work was done in company with Middle Earth.
Zito said Andromeda's Hero got loose in the barn two weeks before the Belmont, but only suffered a superficial cut. Zito noted that Andromeda's Hero is a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, a horse known for his quirky temperament.
"That just shows you the FuPeg was still there," Zito said. "He ran a great race, and he's had some great works since."
Rafael Bejarano will ride Andromeda's Hero.
Reverberate should be fresher
Trainer Sal Russo said he will be more confident saddling Reverberate for the Jim Dandy than he was for last month's Belmont Stakes.
Coming off a second-place finish in the Peter Pan, Reverberate was wheeled back in two weeks for the Belmont. He developed a quarter crack on one front foot that forced him to miss a little training time. Reverberate bit his tongue and was bleeding from his mouth when he entered the gate for the Belmont. Finally, he stumbled at the break.
"I didn't want to run going into it," said Russo. "They put a lot of pressure on me to run. They kept telling me about his pedigree. I said, 'I don't care about his pedigree.' He ran too hard in the Peter Pan; he popped a quarter crack the week going into the Belmont. It was too much to ask. He's been able to train up to this fine. I'm a lot more confident now for a good performance than I was in the Belmont."
On Tuesday, Reverberate worked four furlongs in 49.43 seconds over the main track. Jean-Luc Samyn was aboard for the work, filling in for regular rider Jose Santos, who had not yet arrived in Saratoga.
"That's all I wanted to do today," Russo said. "He had had three pretty fast works. I just wanted to blow him out a little bit."
Flower Alley, who finished second in the Dwyer last out, worked five furlongs in 1:00.84 Tuesday over the main track in preparation for the Jim Dandy. A.P. Arrow, who finished fifth in the Belmont, worked four furlongs in 51.35. He is likely for the race.
Others pointing to the Jim Dandy include King of Jazz, Mr. Congeniality, and War Plan.
Migliore back aboard Artie Schiller
When Artie Schiller runs in Monday's Grade 2 Bernard Baruch, he will be reunited with jockey Richard Migliore, who has won five stakes aboard the turf runner.
The last time Migliore rode Artie Schiller in a race was the
2004 Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park. Running as the favorite, Artie Schiller had a tough trip and finished 12th. When Artie Schiller returned to the races this year, Edgar Prado replaced Migliore. Prado and Artie Schiller were a team for three races, winning the Maker's Mark at Keeneland in April, finishing second in the Dixie, and most recently finishing third in the Manhattan.
Migliore lost the mount because Artie Schiller's owners, Timber Bay Farm and Denise Walsh, were unhappy that Migliore rode Artie Schiller in the Breeders' Cup despite being injured in a race two days earlier. Migliore said that when he rode Artie Schiller in the Breeders' Cup he was unaware that he had broken his right wrist, and didn't find out until after the race.
"In hindsight, I wish I hadn't ridden," he said. "I knew I was hurt, but I didn't know to what extent."
Jimmy Jerkens, Artie Schiller's trainer, said Migliore's injury probably had less to do with the outcome than the traffic the horse encountered in the 14-horse field.
Tuesday, Migliore worked Artie Schiller five furlongs in 1:01.16 over Saratoga's main track.
- Moon's Halo, a good-looking debut winner at Belmont last month, was forced to miss Thursday's Saratoga Special due to illness. He will now be pointed to an allowance race Aug. 7.
- additional reportingby David Grening