08/06/2013 2:17PM

Saratoga: Duggan aims to celebrate with Palace Dreams

Tom Keyser
Palace Dreams will be among the favorites in Thursday's $100,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Saratoga.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer David Duggan hopes to celebrate his 45th birthday in style Thursday when he sends out Palace Dreams in the $100,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Saratoga.

“I’m going to try to emulate Bill Mott,” said Duggan, referring to the Hall of Fame trainer who has won a race on his birthday in 15 of the last 20 years at Saratoga.

Palace Dreams is more than simply a hunch play in this one-mile turf race restricted to 3-year-old fillies who are by New York-based stallions.

Palace Dreams, a daughter of Freud owned and bred by Patricia Moseley, has won 2 of 3 starts, including a first-level allowance race here July 20. Her only loss came in her career debut to Funny Money, who came back to win an allowance race here Sunday.

Though Palace Dreams is running back in 18 days, Duggan said, “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think she was doing good. This looks like a sweet spot to give her her first stakes initiative.”

Palace Dreams has shown versatility in her two wins, coming from off the pace to take a seven-furlong maiden race at Belmont on June  20 before leading all the way in her allowance race going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga. Duggan said he has and will continue to leave the riding tactics up to jockey Jose Ortiz.

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“Last time, I was surprised she would be professional enough to be in front,” Duggan said. “She’s moved forward from every race.”

Adriatic Dream comes off a second-place finish behind the graded stakes-winning New York-bred Discreet Marq in the Eventail Stakes at Belmont on July 4. That race came four days after she finished fourth behind three of the rivals she faces Thursday in a stallion stakes at Belmont on June 30.

Her trainer, David Donk, is a bit concerned that a mile could be a little too short for Adriatic Dream but likes the fact the race is run around two turns.

“She’s looking for more ground all the time, at least this is around two turns,” said Donk, who won this race in 2006 with Peg’s Prayer. “She has no speed early. She has a good turn of foot – not a Hessonite turn of foot, but she’s developing a good late run.”

Hessonite is a champion New York-bred turf mare that Donk trains.

Owner Robert Rosenthal and trainer Dominick Schettino won this race last year with My Jopia and look for a repeat with Frosty Bay. A daughter of the hot New York stallion Frost Giant – represented by three runners in this 11-horse field – Frosty Bay is coming off a one-length victory over three of these in the Cupecoy’s Joy division of the Stallion Stakes at Belmont in June.

Image of Noon, the beaten favorite from the Cupecoy’s Joy, heads the list of contenders to the top three.

With some rain in the forecast, Kelli Got Frosty would appear to be the horse to beat if this were to be moved to the main track.