08/29/2012 3:13PM

Saratoga: Jackson Bend uncertain starter for Forego

Barbara D. Livingston
Because of the aftereffects of a collision during training hours, Jackson Bend may not run in Saturday's Forego.

Jackson Bend made big news when he rallied to an easy 3 1/4-length victory to earn his first Grade 1 victory in last year’s Forego. It will be an even more amazing story if he can compete and successfully defend that title on Saturday.

Jackson Bend was one of eight older horses entered Wednesday for the  $500,000 Forego, which along with the $250,000 Bernard Baruch support Saturday’s main event, the Grade 1 Woodward. The Forego will be decided at seven furlongs over the main track, the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course.

Jackson Bend was knocked out cold just two weeks ago when he collided with another horse in a training mishap over the Oklahoma turf course. And although Jackson Bend has made a miraculous recovery from the accident, trainer Nick Zito said he will not make a final decision as to whether Jackson Bend will actually compete in the Forego until as late as the morning of the race.

“It’s still a hard decision because you never know what’s going to happen,” Zito said shortly after entries for the Forego were drawn early Wednesday afternoon. “All the tests keep coming back negative. We did an ultra-sound yesterday and he was as clear as a bell. All the X-rays and everything are good but you still never know the effects of what happened. He worked well the other day. We didn’t want to do a lot with him. He’s been fit all month. But it’s still hour to hour, minute to minute. I can’t commit but I like what I see so far and I entered him because there was no reason not to. We’ll just see what happens tomorrow.”

Junior Alvarado will be aboard Jackson Bend for the first time if he runs in the Forego.

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Jackson Bend drew post 2 in the Forego and will break two slots inside the likely favorite, Shackleford, who seeks to rebound from an eighth-place finish as the 6-5 favorite over a muddy track in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt on Aug. 5.

The remainder of the Forego lineup, from the rail out, consists of Jersey Town, Isn’t He Perfect, Pacific Ocean, Emcee, Caixa Eletronica, and Hamazing Destiny.

Data Link will be the 122-pound highweight and likely favorite when facing just six rivals in the Bernard Baruch. Data Link has not started since winning the Grade 2 Monmouth on June 10. He was scratched from the Grade 2 Fourstardave here earlier this summer due to the soft condition of the turf course.

Data Link breaks from the rail under John Velazquez and faces a lineup that consists of Crimson China, Queen’splatekitten, Dominus, Guys Reward, Sky Blazer, and Prince Will I Am.

Dominus will be making his turf debut for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Bernard Baruch. He worked a half-mile in 47.06 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course earlier this week.

“We worked him here on Monday and he worked very well on grass,” Pletcher said. “This kind of puts us in a position to open up some options. That doesn’t rule the Kelso out if we decide to go back to the dirt, but it could open up some other options.”