09/02/2012 1:20PM

Saratoga: Breeders' Cup Sprint looks like best spot for Emcee

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Tom Keyser
Emcee earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Forego.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Emcee, the authoritative winner of Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Forego Stakes at Saratoga, is more likely to be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs than the Dirt Mile, his connections said Sunday morning.

 Though Emcee was pulling away from the field in winning the seven-furlong Forego by 4 1/2 lengths, the 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song has yet to race beyond seven furlongs and has never run around two turns. At Santa Anita, the site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, the Dirt Mile is run around two turns.

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 “That’s a consideration,” said Jimmy Bell, who is part of Godolphin Racing’s U.S.-based management team. “All of his runs have been around one turn.”

 Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said the one negative about the Sprint is having to face defending Sprint champion Amazombie on his home track. Amazombie has a 4-1-1 record from 6 starts over Santa Anita’s dirt track. McLaughlin also said at this point, the favorite for the Dirt Mile is unclear.

“Usually in the Sprint you get 12 sprinters and they go 21, 43 and it should set up for a closer,” McLaughlin said. “We would be more of a closer going six furlongs.”

Emcee has 1 win from 3 starts at six furlongs, though he was a bit unlucky to be on the inside of a muddy Saratoga main track when third, beaten one-half length in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on Aug. 5.

 Saturday, Emcee, under Alan Garcia, was a stalking second on the outside and was three wide in the stretch after Jersey Town shot through along the inside of pacemaking Pacific Ocean. Emcee closed well and covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.00, which equaled the stakes record at the distance. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 108.

McLaughlin said no decision has been made on whether Emcee would run between now and the Breeders’ Cup. If he did, that race would likely come on Sept. 29 at Belmont Park in either the Vosburgh, at six furlongs, or the Kelso, at a mile.

One thing that is for certain is that Emcee will stay in Saratoga through the fall along with his graded stakes winning stablemates Alpha (Jim Dandy and Travers), and Questing (Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama) and It’s Tricky, a hard-luck third in the Personal Ensign.

 Stabled at the Godolphin (nee Greentree) training center, Emcee got to spend some time in his own paddock Sunday morning. McLaughlin said that Emcee is a nervous horse and some days he spends as much as four hours out in that paddock.

 “It’s one of those intangibles that is very hard to put a value on,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve taken advantage of every part of Greentree this year.”

 Meanwhile, Jackson Bend, the 2011 Forego winner who finished last in the race on Saturday, will not race again this year, his co-owner, Robert LaPenta, said Sunday.

 LaPenta said Jackson Bend, trained by Nick Zito, would be sent to co-owner Fred Brei’s farm in Ocala, Fla. for a freshening with the hopes of returning him to the races in 2013.

 Jackson Bend, who won the Grade 1 Carter earlier this year, was involved in a training accident about two weeks before the Forego. Though cleared to run by several veterinarians, Jackson Bend never fired.

 “Physically, he’s fine,” LaPenta said. “Mentally, he’s just not right. We’ll send him to Florida to recuperate and see how he’s doing and hopefully come back next season.”

 

 

 

Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Watching Jackson at the gate was painful. You could see the trauma. They should have scr him there. Nick knew he was ok physically but said he was unsure of mental state just before post, further stating he'd know when JB went off. Now we know. Hopefully, R&R will bring him back to normalcy. Wishing JB wellness for his future.
B More than 1 year ago
Very, very poor decision on everyone involved about running this horse so soon after such a bizarre incident.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Almost as bad as the connections of Paynter downplaying how sick he was after the Haskell in order to try to make The Travers... But at least NIck never joked about the seriousness of Jackson's condition.
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
Mentally, he's not right....why didn' t LaPenta mention this before the race?