08/01/2012 5:16PM

Saratoga: Jersey Town tests tender feet in prep for Vanderbilt


Provided his feet don’t fail him between now and Sunday, Jersey Town will return to the races in the Grade 1, $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.

Jersey Town, the 2010 Cigar Mile winner, has had chronic foot issues throughout his career, but this year they have limited him to just one start. On Wednesday, Jersey Town worked four furlongs in 48.04 seconds over Saratoga’s main track and afterward trainer Barclay Tagg said the horse should be fit enough for his first race since March 31, when he was second in the Sir Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream.

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“He ought to have enough in him now,” Tagg said. “He had a race under his belt in March, then I just had so many foot problems with him. Every time I turned around he had another abscess or quarter crack. He’s an old arthritic thing, but he loves to run.”

Jersey Town has run just once at Saratoga, but finished second to Jackson Bend in the Grade 1 Forego here last Sept. 3.
Jersey Town gets in the Vanderbilit with 116 pounds, five pounds less than Metropolitan Handicap winner Shackleford, whom Tagg wasn’t thrilled to see be supplemented to the race.

“I didn’t really like that but what can I do?” Tagg said. “He’s going to run in the Forego too and that’s why I wanted to get this race under his belt. Jersey Town is a good horse and if he’s feeling good enough that day maybe he can do it anyway.”
Others expected for the Vanderbilit are Emcee, Justin Phillip, and Rothko.

Ever So Lucky possible for King’s Bishop

Ever So Lucky, third in the Curlin Stakes on July 27, could shorten up to the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at seven furlongs, trainer Jonathan Sheppard said Wednesday.

Sheppard said he felt Ever So Lucky “ran a respectable race” in the Curlin but that the “mile and an eighth might be a little further than he wants to go.”

Sheppard said the seven furlongs of the King’s Bishop would be a good fit for Ever So Lucky, though he’s not sure about the competition.
“Whether he needs to run back in a Grade  1 I’m not sure,” Sheppard said. “Otherwise, we’ll look out of town.”

NYRA to debut new-fan initiative

The New York Racing Association has partnered with America’s Best Racing in a program designed to educate casual fans about Thoroughbred racing.

The inaugural Racing 101 Fan Hub offers hands-on tutorials on the fundamentals and nuances of wagering from a number of professional horseplayers from America’s Best Racing, a multi-media platform developed by the Jockey Club.

Located near the festival tent in the backyard picnic area, the fan development initiative will be introduced on Saturday and Sunday. The area will be open beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Saratoga will also host the Racing 101 Fan Hub on the weekends of Aug. 18-19 and 25-26.