09/03/2010 3:31PM

Repole hopes to make Spinaway his first graded stakes win


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – For Mike Repole, it’s one goal down, one to go.

After going winless with 36 runners at Saratoga in 2009, it was Repole’s mission to be leading owner at this year’s meet. Entering the final three days of the season, Repole had the owners’ title wrapped up with 13 winners from 44 starters. The second-leading owner is Gary and Mary West with seven winners.

“I wish I could tell you that my expectations were not to be leading owner this year, but for the last 11 months the embarrassment of going 0 for 36, I didn’t want to come in here and win three races,” Repole said Friday morning. “I wanted to come in here and win the title; I’m not going to lie to you. It was no doubt a goal.”

Repole’s new goal is to win a graded stakes race, something he has yet to do in his tenure as owner. He has started horses in 22 graded events with 4 seconds and 7 thirds.

He will have a couple of opportunities to get that first graded win. On Sunday, he sends out Sky Hosoya and Stopspendingmaria in the Grade 1 Spinaway for juvenile fillies. On Monday, he sends out Stay Thirsty in the Grade 1 Hopeful for juvenile colts.

Sky Hosoya could be part of the pace that could help set things up for Stopspendingmaria, who comes off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on opening day, a race run in the mud.

Stay Thirsty is one of several 2-year-old colts Repole hopes can take him to the Kentucky Derby next year. Uncle Mo, the most impressive maiden winner of this meet, is another.

Repole spent $500,000 on Stay Thirsty, a half-brother to Belmont Stakes runner-up Andromeda’s Hero by Preakness winner Bernardini. He ran second in his first start going 5 1/2 furlongs before winning a six-furlong maiden race by 5 1/2 lengths, running six furlongs in 1:11.01.

“If you would have told me a horse who’s bred for a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half is going to run this good at 5 1/2 furlongs in July and six furlongs in August I’d tell you you’ve got to be kidding me,” Repole said. “Every furlong this horse goes further in my opinion he’s going to improve a couple of lengths.”

As for Uncle Mo, Repole has turned down several substantial offers for the colt who won his debut by 14 1/4 lengths, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102, and is headed to the Grade 1 Champagne on Oct. 2.

“I’ve been in this game since I was 13 years old,” Repole, 41, said. “I’ve dreamed of having a horse like this; why would I take the money now and buy 20 yearlings to get a horse like this? This is why I’m in the game for horses like him and Stay Thirsty.”

Sovereign Default out indefinitely

Sovereign Default, an impressive debut winner at Belmont in July, was forced to miss the Hopeful will be out indefinitely after sustaining an injury to a hind ankle, trainer Rick Violette said Friday.

“He has an issue with a hind ankle and at this stage we need to put on the brakes and do the right thing by the horse,” Violette said. “It doesn’t require surgery, but obviously he’s not 100 percent.”

Sovereign Default won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Belmont by two lengths over Stay Thirsty. Sovereign Default earned a 94 Beyer Speed figure for the effort.

Violette said it has not yet been determined if Sovereign Default could make it back to the races this year.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “We’ll be conservative on this end to give us an opportunity to have something on the other end.’”

Sovereign Default is owned by Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence. He was purchased for $95,000 at the Keeneland yearling auction.

Forever Together heads Glens Falls

Forever Together, the champion female turf horse of 2009, heads a field of nine entered for Monday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Glens Falls Stakes. It will be her first race at 1 3/8 miles, the distance of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs. The previous two years, the Breeders’ Cup was run at 1 1/4 miles.

“I thought it would be good for her to have a race going a mile and three eighths, she’s never been more than a mile and a quarter,” trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. “It seems like everything fell into place. With it not being a Grade 1 stakes it might be a little easier competition. It would certainly be nice to get into the win column.”

Forever Together has not won since taking the Grade 1 Diana in 2009. She has run six times since, finishing second and third in six graded stakes since, including getting beat a head when third in this year’s Diana.

On Friday, Forever Together worked five furlongs in 1:00.68 over Saratoga’s main track, with a final quarter in 23.60 seconds. Sheppard said he did not want to work over the Oklahoma turf course because he thought it was too hard.

“She got quite a good blow out of it,” Sheppard said. “We were happy about it.”

In the Glens Falls, Forever Together will break from post 9 under Julien Leparoux.

Casablanca Smile and Liberally, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Waya Stakes going 1 1/2 miles here on Aug. 9, head the list of challengers.

Others entered include Kiawah Cat, Keertana, Go Ask Alex, Sweet and Flawless, Beauty O’Gwaun, and Striking Dancer, who was supplemented to the field.

Winchester prepares for Bowling Green

Winchester, the Grade 1 Manhattan winner, worked five furlongs in 1:02 over the Oklahoma turf course on Friday. He will most likely make his next start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap on opening day at Belmont, Sept. 11.

Winchester has not run since finishing third to Chinchon in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth on July 3.

“The horse has been working very willingly,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “I’m very happy with him.”

Entries for Belmont’s opening-day card will be taken on Wednesday. Others expected to run include Al Khali, Coolcullen Times, Dry Martini, Grand Couturier, Interpatation, Jeune –Turc, Simmard, and Strike a Deal.