08/18/2011 3:37PM

Saratoga: Cribnote makes first start since 2008

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. − Handicappers have rarely had to make assessments on horses running off a 1,050-day layoff, but such is the case in Saturday’s first race at Saratoga, in which Cribnote, the runner-up in the 2008 Hopeful Stakes, makes his first start in nearly three years in a first-level allowance race for New York-breds.

The only time Cribnote faced New York-breds he won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 13 1/2 lengths here July 27, 2008. In his next start, he bolted on the far turn, but recovered enough to finish second to Vineyard Haven in the Grade 1 Hopeful. He finished third to Vineyard Haven in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 4, 2008 before encountering physical problems.

Cribnote underwent knee surgery following the Champagne and never seemed to come back to his previous form while training. Cribnote also developed a rare disease that made him unable to assimilate sugars and starches, which resulted in him having muscle problems. He was retired by Red Diamond Stable, of which Dana Reis is the managing partner.

After a failed attempt in turning him into a show horse, Reis asked Violette if he would be interested in taking him back and putting him in training.

Though skeptical, Violette did indeed take the horse back and now calls him “the happiest horse in the barn.”

“He looks forward to training, he goes out there his ears pricked, he just loves it,” Violette said. “For most of the summer, he was dragging this [exercise rider] around, he was kind of boss out there everything kind of worked.”

Violette said the horse is fit “without being rock-hard ready to run the race of his life. I’m sure he’s going to run well, I don’t know if he wins.”