08/23/2011 3:42PM

Saratoga: J C's Pride gearing up for Hopeful Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
J C’s Pride works an easy four furlongs in 48.86 seconds on Tuesday at Saratoga as he prepares for a start in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – J C’s Pride, who turned in a record-setting performance winning his maiden earlier in the Saratoga meet, breezed an easy four furlongs in 48.86 seconds early Tuesday in his penultimate work for the Grade 1 Hopeful on Sept. 5, closing day of the season.

Working shortly after 6:30 a.m. over a racetrack decidedly slower than after the renovation break a couple of hours later, J C’s Pride went his opening quarter in 23.98 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:02.65.

“I just wanted to give him an easy work this morning,” trainer Bobby Barbara said. “He’ll have a big five-eighths with a stronger gallop out next Monday or Tuesday, depending upon the weather. He’s never been a fast work horse in the morning. He’s very laid back and relaxed around the barn and when working in the morning, but he’s a different horse when the afternoon comes.”

J C’s Pride could go postward favored in the Hopeful after earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure for his 3 1/4-length maiden triumph July 27. J C’s Pride finished second, 3 1/2 lengths behind the undefeated Overdriven, in his only other start 26 days earlier at Belmont Park.

“I’ve had a lot of nice horses in my career, but I’ve never had a 2-year-old like this,” Barbara said. “I’ve been practically sleeping with him the last two weeks, and I’m going to be a nervous wreck for the next 12 days waiting for the race.”

Roman Treasure works for Victory Ride

Roman Treasure, who finished third after setting the pace in the Grade 1 Test, worked a half-mile in 48.58 after the break Tuesday and will make her next start Saturday in the Grade 3 Victory Ride.

“She just went a comfortable half-mile, but finished her last three-eighths in 35 and 3,” trainer Mike Hushion said. “I went over with high expectations for the Test, so I was a little disappointed when she finished third, but after looking back and considering the way the track was playing that day it wasn’t a bad race. It looks like about 90 percent of the field for the Victory Ride has speed, but she has real speed so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

A field of nine to perhaps as many as 11 3-year-old fillies is expected for the Victory Ride and also includes Funny Sunny, Honey Chile, Hot Summer, Jealous Girl, Maple Forest, Moon Buzz, Oflee Wicked, and Valiant Passion.

Hushion is in the midst of a big meet. He got his seventh and eighth winners over the weekend when B Shanny won a 2-year-old maiden special weight race Saturday and Lovely Lil registered an easy victory Monday in the Union Avenue Stakes.

B Shanny, a New York-bred son of Street Cry, finished a disappointing second when bet down to 4-5 against statebreds in his debut but rebounded to defeat a strong field of open horses Saturday.

“He was extremely studdish and green in his first start but got it together the other day,” Hushion said. “We’ll bring him back in the Champagne. Ramon [Dominguez] said after the race the other day that the extra distance can only help him.”

Hushion said he’ll look at the Gallant Bloom for Lovely Lil’s next start. Lovely Lil overcame trouble at the break but still cruised to a one-sided victory in the Union Avenue.

“Heaven forbid she should have a race without any trouble,” Hushion said.

Both B Shanny and Lovely Lil are owned by Barry K. Schwartz.

Hushion’s eight wins had him in a dead heat for fifth in the trainer standings with Bill Mott heading into the final two weeks of the meet.

“I’m just enjoying the upside of the roller-coaster ride right now,” Hushion said.

Emerald Beech points to Glens Falls

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard has four fillies and mares nominated to the Grade 3 Glens Falls on closing day, but said he’s only likely to start one, the red-hot Emerald Beech, who has won three in a row, including a 12-furlong overnight stakes here earlier this month.

“It’s a big step up, but she’s a winner over the course and at the distance, and [Alex] Solis gets along with her nicely,” Sheppard said. “There’s a lot to gain, like some graded black type, and not much to lose by trying her in there.”