08/30/2010 4:54PM

Regal Ransom preps for Kelso in allowance race

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Barbara D. Livingston
Regal Ransom will make his first start since July in an allowance race Wednesday at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Regal Ransom and Cool Coal Man head a stakes-caliber field entered in a $62,000 allowance race Wednesday at Saratoga.

Regal Ransom may now be best known as the last horse to beat Blame, something he did in last September’s Grade 2 Super Derby. Blame has not lost since, winning five in a row, including the Grade 1 Whitney here Aug. 7.

Regal Ransom ended his 3-year-old season with an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He kicked off his 4-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont in July.

Unsure what to do with Regal Ransom, his connections toyed with the idea of cutting back in distance for Saturday’s Grade 1 Forego, but ultimately opted for a seemingly easier spot, even if it is at 1 1/8 miles. Godolphin already plans to be represented by Vineyard Haven and Girolamo in the Forego.

“It might not be the ideal distance, but at least he’s won going nine” furlongs, Godolphin assistant trainer Rick Mettee said. “In the end, it comes down to spots. He’ll likely run back in the Kelso off this anyway. We thought off two mile-and-an-eighth races he could easily cut back to a one-turn mile, which is likely what he would be doing.”

Regal Ransom won his career debut here as a 2-year-old and has fired two bullet works over the main track leading up to this.

“He trained really well here last year, before he ran in the Super Derby,” Mettee said.

Cool Coal Man, trained by Nick Zito, earned a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure here winning the Albert the Great Stakes by 12 3/4 lengths. He could get a good stalking trip behind Regal Ransom and the speedy Timber Reserve.

Trainer Richard Schosberg thought he had opted for an easier spot with Giant Moon when he skipped the $300,000 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park last month for this allowance race. Giant Moon is coming off a victory in the Evan Shipman Stakes here July 26.

Atoned, Bad Action, and Discreet Treasure complete the field.

Big Drama, Checklist eye Forego

The prospective starting lineup for Saturday’s Grade 1 Forego grew a bit larger earlier this week, with the connections of both Big Drama and Checklist now seriously considering the race.

Trainer David Fawkes put Big Drama on the van Monday at Calder for a return trip to Saratoga, where he finished second behind division leader Majesticperfection in the Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt earlier in the session. Fawkes said he made the decision to go in the Forego after Big Drama worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:02 at Calder on Sunday.

“He went off slow, finished up fast, and galloped out strong,” Fawkes said. “He’s doing well, and it looks like the right spot. He’s already run well over the track and proven himself at seven furlongs.”

Big Drama has started just three times this year, opening his campaign with a pair of victories at Calder that included a 1 1/2-length decision over Mambo Meister in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap before finishing a game second in the Vanderbilt.

Checklist, third in the Grade 2 True North Handicap earlier this year, led throughout to defeat a good field of allowance rivals during the opening week of the meet and could prove the controlling speed if he runs in the Forego.

The two additions to the Forego would bring the starting lineup up to nine or 10 potential starters. Vineyard Haven will go postward as the favorite and is expected to be joined by his Godolphin stablemate Girolamo. Checklist would be one of two horses in the field for trainer Todd Pletcher, along with Bribon, if he starts.

Among the others pointing to the race are Here Comes Ben, Starforaday, Warrior’s Reward, and You and I Forever. Charitable Man is listed as a possible starter.

Mambo Meister also is among the nominees for the Forego but will make his next start in the Presque Isle Mile instead. Trainer Phil Gleaves watched Mambo Meister work five furlongs in 1:01.92 and gallop out six furlongs in 1:13.81 under exercise rider Simon Harris late Sunday morning.

Kent Desormeaux is expected to have the mount on Mambo Meister.

Informed Decision may try turf

Informed Decision, who finished sixth as the favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1 Ballerina, could be headed for the turf for her next start, trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. Informed Decision, the champion filly and mare sprinter of 2009, has made all 18 of her starts on dirt or synthetics.

Sheppard believes Informed Decision has the pedigree to go longer than the sprint distances she has run at in most of her career. She is by Monarchos, out of a His Majesty mare.

“I’ve always said to myself maybe sometime down the road, if she stubs her toe a little bit, that it might be time to try something different, and obviously she did stub her toe a little bit,” Sheppard said. “It conceivably could have been our experiment of running her in a longer two-turn race in her previous start at Presque Isle, and they run a first half in 49 and change and all of sudden their going 44 and change. We have discussed the idea of trying her on the grass.”

One race Sheppard will look at is the First Lady at Keeneland Oct. 9.

Uncle Mo headed to Champagne

Uncle Mo, who turned in the most impressive performance by a maiden 2-year-old at this Saratoga meet when he rolled to a 14 1/4-length victory Saturday, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Oct. 9, Pletcher said.

Uncle Mo, a son of Indian Charlie owned by Mike Repole, ran six furlongs in 1:09.21 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102. That equals the figure earned by the juvenile Boys at Tosconova for winning a maiden race at Belmont in July.

Pletcher was not surprised that Uncle Mo won, but the way the colt won impressed his conditioner.

“Hard to expect a first-time starter to win by 14 1/4 lengths, and the time stacked up pretty fair against some really high-quality sprinters throughout the day,” Pletcher said. “He trained like he was our best 2-year-old, or certainly one of them. We’ve been pretty fortunate to have a lot of 2-year-olds run well. It would have been disappointing to see him not run well, but that was even more than we could’ve hoped for.”

Pletcher has won 15 2-year-old races at this meet and 28 juvenile races in North America this year.

◗ Rail Trip, the multiple graded stakes winner, worked five furlongs in 1:02.06 on Sunday morning. It was his first breeze in 18 days. If all goes well moving forward, Rail Trip would likely run next in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch