07/22/2012 3:28PM

Saratoga: Gemologist pointing for Travers via Jim Dandy or Haskell

Barbara D. Livingston
Gemologist, Javier Castellano aboard, works five furlongs in 58.67 at Saratoga on Sunday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The way he worked Sunday morning at Saratoga, Gemologist gave every indication he’s ready to return to the races next weekend.

His connections, however, on Sunday were not ready to decide where that return would take place. The choices are Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

The ultimate goal is the $1 million Travers here on Aug. 25, and trainer Todd Pletcher and Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm, the owners of Gemologist, need to decide which race sets their 3-year-old up best for that 1 1/4-mile race.

Pletcher has won the Jim Dandy five times and two of those horses - Flower Alley and Stay Thirsty - came back to win the Travers. Pletcher has won the Haskell with both Bluegrass Cat and Any Given Saturday, both owned by WinStar Farm. Neither won the Travers.

Pletcher said there’s a chance that Gemologist could be entered in both races, allowing for more time to make a decision.

[Complete coverage of racing at Saratoga: News, PPs, and video]

On Sunday, Gemologist, unraced since suffering his first loss when 16th in the Kentucky Derby, drilled five furlongs 58.67 seconds over Saratoga’s main track. It was the fastest of 43 moves at the distance. He worked in company with 2011 Dwyer Stakes winner Dominus, who is also nearing a return to the races.

With Javier Castellano in the irons, Gemologist, working on the outside, went in splits of 12.02 seconds, 23.39, 34.70, and go his last quarter in 23.71. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.50.

“I thought he breezed as well this morning as he’s ever breezed, and he’s always been a good work horse,” Pletcher said. “But he was exceptionally good this morning.”

Gemologist won the first five starts of his career, including the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, before finishing 16th in the Derby. He emerged from that race with a bruised foot which forced him to miss some training time and the Belmont Stakes.

Among those pointing to the Jim Dandy are Alpha, Atigun, Neck ‘n Neck, Prospective and Teeth of the Dog.

Among those pointing to the Haskell are Belmont runner-up Paynter, Blue Grass winner Dullahan, Handsome Mike, Nonios and Stealcase.

Sunday, as usual, was a busy work day at Saratoga.

Among others to work was Zagora, last year’s Grade 1 Diana winner, who worked four furlongs in 49.79 seconds over the Oklahoma training track, in company with Thunderous Lady.

Afterward, trainer Chad Brown said that Zagora would attempt to defend her title in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Diana.

“I thought she worked great,” Brown said. “I’m going to go ahead and try to defend her title.”

Zagora has won a trio of Grade 3 stakes this year, including the Gallorette at Pimlico on May 19. She emerged from that race with a popped splint bone, and missed about two weeks of training. Sunday was her fourth breeze since she resumed training.

“She’s not a very big filly," Brown said. "She’s very athletic, though. She kept her fitness well. She has run right from the beginning of the year. Who knows? Maybe a little freshening actually worked to her advantage.”

Others pointing to the Diana include Dream Peace, Hungry Island, Law of the Range, Tapitsfly and Winter Memories.

Rule and Flat Out, the 1-2 finishers from the Monmouth Cup on July 7, both worked toward the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap on Aug. 4.

Rule, working on the main track in company with Palace Music, worked four furlongs in 48.11 seconds.

“He seems to have come out of the race in good order,” Pletcher said. “We’ll see how he does this week, breeze him back. Right now I’d say he’s a candidate for the Whitney.”

Flat Out, runner-up in last year’s Whitney and winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, worked five furlongs in 1:02.61 over the Oklahoma training track. He went by himself and went his first quarter in 26.40 seconds and came home in 36.21 seconds.

“That’ll work,” trainer Bill Mott said afterward. “The horse is very sharp right now.”

Mott also reported that Royal Delta, winner of Saturday’s Delaware Handicap, arrived in Saratoga around 2:15 a.m. Sunday. She will be pointed to the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap here on Aug. 26.

Fort Loudon, who upset Trinniberg in the Grade 3 Carry Back at Calder on July 7, worked four furlongs in 50.27 seconds over the training track. Trainer Nick Zito, who recently received the horse, said he would be most likely enter the horse in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes.

My Miss Aurelia, last year’s champion 2-year-old filly, worked five furlongs in 1:00.70 over the main track, getting her final quarter in 24.08 seconds.

My Miss Aurelia has not run since winning last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Trainer Steve Asmussen has yet to pick out a return spot for My Miss Aurelia.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch

Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I would think Gemologist is going into the Jim Dandy. Hooking Paynter off a layoff isn't the best way to gear up for The Travers. Even though he may be gutsy enough and classy enough to win, it may take too much out of the colt and he is training so well. Why not take the softer spot and use The Jim Dandy as a Travers prep.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
gemologist is a nice horse but he is a paddler,so hes always a little vulnerable and pletcher trains so he is risky.but seabiscuit was a paddler and it did not stop him.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
David G.,you mean Handsome Mike, not Handsome Jack, and possibly Blueskiesnrainbows,who beat Nonios.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Haskell seems like a tough spot for a horse coming off a 3-month layoff. I doubt he goes and if he does I for one will not be betting him. Not because I don't like him, simply because of the 3 months off. Has Hansen ruled out the Haskell? I hope not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hansen won't run in the Haskell because it would prove that Hansen was ducking Bodemeister and Union Rags before they were ruled out. They want to make it look like they'd rather win the WV Derby than the Haskell. Yeah right. You guys aren't fooling anyone.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
you 'Anonymous' guys need to change your names. this is nuts. for all we know there may be 4 or 5 of you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
there are a lot of anonymous. Nobody knows why but my theory is that if you signed in under your email you come up anonymous because if it showed your name everybody would have your email address. I tried to comment one day. It said I had to sign in to something so I signed in to my email account. It let me post but comes up anonymous. I never chose for my name to be anonymous and I'm not sure how to change it so screw it. I guess I'll just have to be anonymous. There probably more like 20 or more anonymous posters. Not our choice. Would you want your email address given away on here?
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
No, I would not want my email address listed and every once in a while DRF "signs" me in as my email address but in those instances I'm also blocked from commenting. When it happens, I'm baffled. But, I am also baffled by the slew of Anonymous posts. It would help if each anonymous added their name (or an alias) at the end of their posts. I know that if I am ever signed in by DRF as anonymous, I will add my name to the end of my post. As you wrote "There probably [are] more like 20 or more anonymous posters. Not our choice." But it is your choice not to "sign" your posts. Also, there may be just a few people making multiple anonymous posts or a troll or two in the mix.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
simple, open a new gmail or other email address.
DRFInsidePost More than 1 year ago
>> Nobody knows why There are a couple of issues with "Anonymous." 1) The comment system is unable to pull in names or aliases from AOL accounts. (Most of the "Anonymous" posters show AOL logos.) The only solution is for that poster to sign in using Facebook, Twitter, a different email address, etc. 2) Sometimes, as MaryAnn describes in this thread, the comment system will fail to pull in the name of an established poster and they will show as Anonymous. This is a bug and is being worked on. >> I would not want my email address listed The comment system does not expose email addresses. It will show the name or alias associated with that account. - Editor
Steven Simonovich More than 1 year ago
I like Hansen but I think he's going to prove to be a better Miler in the long run. As a matter of fact, if he runs in this years BC, it will be the BC Mile. He can beat soft horses at 1 1/8th and be pretty good at 1 1/16th but I think a mile is his best distance.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Even better at 7F.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
I'd be surpised if Gemologist went in the Haskell. I still think he's going in the Jim dandy. Like the fact that Nonios is flying in. Would like so see him and Paynter should be a good race.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
My Guess as to where the top 3 yo's to run next. Haskell, Paynter ,Nonios, and possibly My Adonis, Dullahan Jim Dandy: Gemologist, Attigun, Fast Falcon, and maybe Alpha. WV Derby : Hansen and maybe My Adonis. Travers: Paynter, Attigun,
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
for JD,surprised u failed to mention your beloved Teeth Dog listed by D.Grening above as well as Prospective and Neck n' Neck. u missed Stealcase and Handsome Mike in the Haskell. in the Travers of course all the top 3yo want to run including Hansen and Gemologist. and the chance Bode could run in the Travers is not good but not zero,either.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
just pointed out horses that I think would go that have a chance to win it. the JD is turning out to be a dynamite lineup. Nobody including Pletcher wants to match up with Paynter which I stated as well. Love the fact that Nonios and Liason are making the trip East to see if they're good enough to beat the rest. This is key because if Nonios can beat Paynter, he'd know for sure that he's top quality and it would validate blueskiesandrainbows as a top colt. Liason running in the Jim Dandy should be tough, and I would not rule out Attigun, thats my sleeper. Believe Teeth of the Dog will point to the travers. If Liason wins the Jim Dandy and Baffert wins the Haskell that would give him top 3 colts in the nation with Paynter, Liason, and Blueskiesandrainbows, which by the way all ran against IHA int he SA Derby. Prospective should be good by I really thought he would step up in the Derby not taking short price on him. Gemologist he's gonna be the hyped up horse at a short price I'll take a shot against, and Alpha should run well also. JIm Dandy Attigun Liason Alpha Haskell Paynter Dullahan Nonios
Steven Simonovich More than 1 year ago
Gem can be a better horse now. Was getting better and was winning at the same time. The Derby was a toss. Bruised foot in the race. Well rested. Can run huge and post will be a major factor for me. Speed does very well in this race.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
Well stated and thought out Steven, I agree, don't really care which race he runs in the goal in the Travers, either win and a good showing and no injuries will get him there, why travel to NJ when he is at Spa, as TP stated the goal, nice to see JC on him in last workout, can't wait to see him run, so personally hope it is Sat rather than Sun.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
Dullahan ? Alpha is in the JD.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
His win in Wood was okay. Not super. He barely beat Ever So Lucky at CD and he fell of the Map. I tossed him in the K. Derby. Didn't think he faced much that simple. But he has right to have good season. He is fresh while others are ending form cycles or have ran in a lot grueling races.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Gemologist will dominate the rest of the year.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
unless it's Paynter, or no one or another horse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gemologist couldn't dominate A *SandBox* of 2 yr olds Girl_Trouble
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
don't know why Equibase has Gem's workout at 58.40 and drf at 58.67. take an average of the two or are they measured differently?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Really important?..... No not really.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
except, isn't 0.20 about one length ?
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
just like your opinion Big Jeff Girl_Trouble