07/26/2013 4:40PM

Saratoga: Joha back on short notice for Sir Cat


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Joha, narrowly beaten by Notacatbutallama in the $100,000 Solar Splendor Stakes on July 13, wheels back in two weeks to run in Sunday’s $100,000 Sir Cat Stakes at Saratoga.

Joha, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at 2, finished 10th in the Grade 3 Hill Prince in June before the game front-running effort in the Solar Splendor.

“First race back, in the Hill Prince, he hadn’t run in a long time,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. “He wasn’t 100 percent so we thought we’d give him a race. He came out of that race 100 percent, a lot fitter, a lot tighter.”

Albertrani said while Joha is running back on short notice, he preferred that spot to the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes on Aug. 9.

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“From here maybe we could go to the next level,” Albertrani said.

The biggest threats to Joha on Sunday would appear to be Winning Cause, the Lexington Stakes winner, and Play It Loud, who was beaten a neck by Notacatbutallama in the Hill Prince.

Midnight Taboo bypasses Curlin for Sunday allowance

Midnight Taboo, who was entered in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes on Friday at Saratoga, was scratched from that race on Friday morning to instead compete in an $87,000, first-level allowance on Sunday. Both races are at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Midnight Taboo, whom Todd Pletcher trains for Mike Repole, most recently finished 12th of 14 in the Belmont Stakes. He has won just once in four starts, that victory coming against maidens at Aqueduct in April.

“We threw him into the deep end of the pool for the Belmont,” Pletcher said Friday morning. “It makes more sense to run him in an allowance race, since he has that condition, and build him up to something more down the line. He’s a nice horse, and he’s been training well.”

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

Midnight Taboo was second in his only prior start at Saratoga, in his debut last summer at age 2.

The field also includes Norumbega, who disappointed as the favorite in an optional claimer at Belmont on June 22, but who comes back with Lasix for the first time. He defeated maidens on the main track going 1 1/8 miles here last summer.

Dance to Bristol in Honorable Miss

Dance to Bristol, a winner of five consecutive races, including the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap at Belmont last out, tops a field of seven entered for Monday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap at six furlongs. Dance to Bristol, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Speightstown, has a record of 8-7-0 from 16 starts and has earned $500,880 for owner Susan Wantz and trainer Ollie Figgins III. She will break from post 4 under Xavier Perez.

The Honorable Miss, the local prep for the Grade 1 Ballerina here on Aug. 24, drew Grade 2 Vagrancy winner Glorious View, and recent listed stakes winners Burban, Munnings Sister, and Livi Makenzie. Promise Me a Cat, also entered in Sunday’s $100,000 Regret Stakes at Monmouth, and Classic Point, complete the field.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman