07/22/2011 12:00PM

Saratoga: Grade 1 winners Gayego, Jersey Town scratched


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Friday's $75,000 James Marvin Stakes lost a bit of its luster earlier in the day when three of the original 11 scheduled starters were scratched, including Grade 1 winners Jersey Town and Gayego. Maryland invader Ravalo also will not run.

Trainer Barclay Tagg cited the strength of the field and the fact Jersey Town is recovering from a minor foot injury suffered during a workout several weeks ago as the reason he chose not to compete in the James Marvin.

"Coming off a 10-month layoff, I'd like to find an easier spot for his first start back," said Tagg. "In addition, he sheared a frog off his foot not too long ago, and my blacksmith advised it would probably be better to wait a little longer before he races."

Tagg cited the Grade 1 Vanderbilt on Aug.6 as a possible alternative for Jersey Town's return.

"I'd prefer to find something easier for his first start back than the Vanderbilt, but it at least it's a Grade 1 race that is," said Tagg. "The one today is a Grade 1 race that isn't."

Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, cited the heat as the principal reason Gayego was skipping the James Marivn.

"It was just way too hot today," said Mettee. "It's not appreciably different than yesterday. In fact he also took our other horse, Abtasaamah, out of the fourth race today."

Gayego, said Mettee, "is 6 years old and has never been a great horse in the heat before."

Mettee said the Vanderbilt could also be a possible option for Gayego's first start since the Firebreak Stakes in Meydan on Feb. 10.

"Six furlongs is too short for him, and we also have Bank Merger for the Vanderbilt, but we have to start him back somewhere," said Mettee.

Three of the 2-year-old fillies originally entered in Friday's feature race, the Grade 3 Schuylerville - Five Star Momma, Dorothy's Aurora, and Flashy Lassie - were also scratched.