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Roses in May appears eager to run
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Dale Romans says he doesn't believe he could have Roses in May sufficiently prepared to defend his title in next weekend's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap. The 5-year-old Roses in May certainly appeared ready to do more Thursday after he worked a strong five furlongs in 1:00.02 over Saratoga's main track.
Angel Cordero Jr. was aboard for the work, which was the second fastest of 25 at the distance. Cordero couldn't pull up Roses in May until he neared the half-mile pole on the backside.
"It seems to me he worked good,'' Cordero said. "All I did was hold him the whole way. He's a tough horse. He ran everybody off the road going to the track. He turned around and started kicking.''
Romans said he was pleased with the work, and is pointing Roses in May to the Grade 2, $250,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap here on Aug. 21. Romans said he purposely backed up Roses in May's schedule once he and owner Ken Ramsey decided they wanted to run the horse in the Japan Cup Dirt in November. Earlier this year, Ramsey sold the breeding rights to Roses in May to Japanese interests.
Romans said Roses in May would run four more times this year. Following the Saratoga BC, he is likely to run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Oct 1, then the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 29. The Japan Cup Dirt is in late November.
Thursday's work was only Roses in May's second timed drill since he won the Dubai World Cup in March at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.
"He's training as good as he ever has,'' Romans said.
Though Roses in May won't run in the Whitney, Romans is likely to send out the 5-year-old gelding Wiggins in the race. Wiggins has won 11 of 23 career starts, including his first for Romans, a classified allowance race at Churchill Downs on July 8.
Romans said Wiggins would run in the Whitney as long as he works satisfactorily this weekend.
Romero working horses for Stewart
Cordero isn't the only accomplished former jockey working horses at Saratoga this summer.
Randy Romero, a winner of 4,294 races, is working as an exercise rider this meet for trainer Dallas Stewart. Romero, who is in need of a liver and kidney transplant, began getting on horses for Stewart back in the spring at Churchill Downs.
Romero has picked up his regimen to the point where he is getting on eight or nine horses each morning. He still goes on dialysis three times a week.
"It's good mentally and physically,'' said Romero, who was a finalist on the Hall of Fame ballot but did not get in. "I lost 20 pounds. I don't have to pull so much weight in the clinic anymore. They used to have to take eight or nine pounds of fluid out of me.''
Romero said he has a liver that is functioning at 25 percent capacity. He said in order to receive kidney and liver transplants, the organs would have to come from the same person.
"I'm not going back to riding,'' Romero said. "I would like to work for Dallas for two years and maybe train if my health permits it.''
Stellar Jayne out of 'Wand'
Stellar Jayne, a multiple Grade 1 stakes-winning filly of a year ago who made a successful 4-year-old debut, will not make Sunday's Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap, her connections said Thursday.
"She didn't finish as well as we would have liked in her last work,'' said Richard Mettee, the New York assistant trainer for Godolphin Racing. "She was a little stiff behind the next day.''
Stellar Jayne worked last week at Belmont Park, where she went six furlongs in 1:17. Mettee said Stellar Jayne will likely not run at this meet and will instead point for the Grade 1 Ruffian at Belmont on Sept. 11.
Society Selection fires bullet
Society Selection, last year's Test and Alabama winner, drilled five furlongs in a bullet 59.84 seconds Thursday morning over the main track in preparation for Sunday's Go for Wand. The work came six days after Society Selection worked seven furlongs in 1:26.08.
"She never won any races when she didn't work good,'' trainer Allen Jerkens said.
Society Selection, second to Ashado in the Phipps, will carry 119 pounds in the Go for Wand. Ashado is the 121-pound highweight. Andujar (118), Daydreaming (116), and Bending Strings (115) are also expected to run.
Shakespeare will await Belmont meet
Following Shakespeare's victorious return to the races on Wednesday, trainer Bill Mott said the colt will now be pointed to a stakes at Belmont Park during the fall meet.
Mott is looking at either the Grade 1 Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on Sept. 10 or the following day's Grade 2 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.
If Shakespeare is the horse Mott thinks he is, Mott would like to map out the best path to the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.
Following his win in Wednesday's 1 1/16-mile allowance race, Shakespeare is now undefeated in three starts. It was his first race since March 2004.
Mott said he believes Shakespeare will continue to excel as the distance of his races increases. In his second start, Shakespeare won the 1 1/8-mile Caltech Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
"In my opinion, he doesn't want to run a mile and an eighth," Mott said. "The question is, how much more can he go? The real question is, can he get a mile and a half?"
Sauvage could make Ballston Spa
Trainer Tom Albertrani had planned on running Sauvage, who won the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay in her last start, in Saturday's Grade 1 Diana, but the filly won't make the race.
A foot abscess kept Sauvage out of the Grade 2 New York Handicap on July 2, and that same abscess will keep her out of the Diana. Albertrani said he believes it is only a minor setback and that Sauvage will be ready to run in the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup here on Aug. 29.
"It re-abscessed," Albertrani said. "It was a fairly good-sized abscess. We drained it and it closed up again, but there must have still been [pus] in there."
Albertrani said after the Ballston Spa that he would like to target the Grade 1 Flower Bowl on Oct. 1 at Belmont.
Thunder Touch may try Forego
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is kicking around the idea of running Thunder Touch in the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 3 following his 5 1/4- length win in a conditioned allowance race here Wednesday.
"The Forego is a possibility; it depends on who is running in there," McLaughlin said. "He's probably a notch below the horses that might run in there."
McLaughlin said he was pleased to begin a meet with a winner after a frustrating Belmont meet. McLaughlin's 69 starters at Belmont yielded 5 winners, 16 seconds, and 10 thirds.
"So many times at Belmont we ran great, but were just second-best," McLaughlin said.
* Grand Reward, who finished third behind Thunder Touch, is being pointed to the $250,000 Forego, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
* Ontrack handle at Saratoga on opening day was $3,285,823, a 10 percent decline from last year's ontrack number of $3,637,002. All-sources handle on the 10-race card was $13,214,977, a 5 percent dip from last year's total of $13,900,340.
- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson