08/25/2012 3:31PM

Saratoga: 2011 Travers winner Stay Thirsty will try to regain form in Woodward

Tom Keyser
Stay Thirsty is winless since taking the 2011 Travers.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – On the day they ran the 143rd Travers Stakes, Stay Thirsty, winner of the 142nd Travers at Saratoga, was continuing preparations for next Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward Stakes.

Stay Thirsty is winless in four starts since the Travers last Aug. 27. In two starts this year, he was second to Trickmeister in a swiftly run Vanlandingham Stakes at Belmont in May. Last month, Stay Thirsty finished a non-threatening fifth to Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 2 Suburban at steamy Belmont Park.

Despite Stay Thirsty’s affinity for Saratoga, trainer Todd Pletcher opted to skip the Whitney, giving the colt a little more time to be better prepared for the Woodward.

“I feel like he’s rounding into his best form off his last couple of breezes,” said Pletcher, who was planning to give Stay Thirsty his last Woodward breeze Sunday. “The Suburban was a really hot day and he didn’t seem to fire at all. It took a little while for him to rebound so I felt like we ran out of time to make the Whitney.”

The Whitney drew a field of nine. Fewer are expected for the Woodward. As of Saturday, the confirmed Woodward starters were Cease, Mucho Macho Man, Stay Thirsty, and To Honor and Serve. Possibles included Isn’t He Perfect and Rule, who finished last in the Whitney.

Hymn Book aimed at Gold Cup

Hymn Book, who finished fourth in the Whitney, began preparations for his start in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29 by breezing three furlongs in 39.22 seconds Saturday morning over the Oklahoma training track.

Trainer Shug McGaughey is of the belief that Hymn Book does not do particularly well at Saratoga, which is why he has elected to bypass the Woodward.

“I don’t think he likes it up here much. That was a little bit in question last year too,” McGaughey said. “He’s doing fine. We wanted to get him back in the flow of things and go from there. We’ll get him back to Belmont in a few days.”

Pletcher has three for P.G. Johnson

When Slamarama went gate-to-wire in Saturday’s third race it was the 19th maiden 2-year-old winner of the meet for trainer Todd Pletcher. Add in Kauai Katie’s win in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes, and he has won 20 juvenile races at the meet.

So it’s no surprise that Pletcher will be loaded for bear for the closing week’s juvenile stakes, beginning Wednesday with a trio of horses in the $100,000 P.G. Johnson Stakes for fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Pletcher will go with Top Tier Lass, Skyfall, and Tara from the Cape in the 10-horse field. Top Tier Lass won her debut here going 5 1/2 furlongs by seven lengths on July 30. Skyfall won an off-the turf maiden race here on Aug. 5 in her debut. Tara From the Cape, a private purchase by Eclipse Thoroughbreds following a maiden win at Woodbine in June, won a stakes won a 7 1/2-furlong turf stakes at Delaware Park by 2 1/2 lengths.

The P.G. Johnson field includes Watsdachances, an Irish-bred filly who won a maiden race by six lengths in April before being purchased privately by Bradley Thoroughbreds and Michael Kisber. She is trained by Chad Brown. Other contenders include Da Mi Basia Mille and Incredible Journey and Go Kitten Go.

New owners seminar Wednesday

The New York Racing Association will host another in a series of new owner seminars Wednesday at Saratoga.

Tickets for the seminar cost $100 and includes breakfast and lunch in the Saratoga luxury suites, and a series of presentations from trainers Chad Brown and Dominick Galluscio; owners Jack Wolf, Donald Lucarelli, Tom Gallo, and Michael Dubb.

Former jockey Richard Migliore hosts the seminar.

For more information, call horsemen’s relations at (518) 584-6200 (ext 4895) or visit nyra.com/newowners.

◗ The stewards fined jockey Javier Castellano $2,000 for standing up before the wire on Gimme Credit, who finished second in Friday’s fifth race.