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Saratoga: Justin Phillip, Fast Bullet form potent pair for Zayat in Forego
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – While most of the attention on his stable will be focused on Paynter in Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodward, owner Ahmed Zayat is likely to double his chances to win Saturday’s Grade 1 Forego on the same card at Saratoga.
As of Tuesday, Zayat was planning to run both Fast Bullet and Justin Phillip in the $500,000 Forego, a potent 1-2 punch that figures to be heavily favored in the seven-furlong race.
“As of now it looks like both will enter,” Zayat said.
Fast Bullet, who hasn’t run since beating Justin Phillip in the Grade 2 True North on Belmont Stakes Day, was shipped last week from Bob Baffert to D. Wayne Lukas. He has not had an official workout since Aug. 13 at Betfair Hollywood Park, though Lukas said Tuesday, “I let him breeze through the lane” Monday morning.
Lukas said Fast Bullet had “very good works” for Baffert before shipping and he didn’t feel it necessary to give him another big move.
“Baffert will work one a little harder than I will,” Lukas said.
Lukas said Luis Saez will ride Fast Bullet. Lukas and Saez teamed up last week to win the $1 million Travers with Will Take Charge.
Justin Phillip, trained by Steve Asmussen, is coming off a two-length victory in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, running a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure.
“Steve wants to run,” Zayat said. “He thinks he’s doing really well. Last year, he ran in the Vosburgh and was flat. He thinks he needs another run.”
Others pointing to the Forego include Jackson Bend, Lea, Sage Valley, Saratoga Snacks, and Swagger Jack. Possible runners include Jake N Elwood and Strapping Groom.
Gary Sciacca said Irad Ortiz Jr. was the leading candidate to replace the injured Joel Rosario on Saratoga Snacks.
Turallure still a go for Baruch
Though still shaken up from the ontrack death of Kris Royal in Sunday’s ninth race, trainer Charlie LoPresti said Tuesday that Turallure would run in Saturday’s Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap.
LoPresti said Kris Royal, who suffered fractured sesamoids during the running of the ninth race, was the first in-race fatality he had in his training career. Another horse in the same race, Sarava’s Dancer, also suffered the same injury and had to be euthanized.
“It takes the wind out of your sails,” LoPresti said. “That’ll be in your mind for a while.”
Without much rain, the turf course became very hard during the course of the meet. There have been a combined 187 races run over the two turf courses – including seven steeplechase races. There was some rain late Monday, which LoPresti found comforting.
“The turf’s hard and it’s fast but I think after the rain I feel a little better about it,” he said. “It’s got a little bit of give in it. Maybe we’ll get some more before it’s all over.”
LoPresti said Julien Leparoux will ride Turallure, replacing the injured Jose Lezcano. Leparoux rode Turallure to victory in the 2011 Bernard Baruch and was already coming to ride Successful Dan in the Woodward.
Others pointing to the Baruch include Paris Vegas, Silver Max, So Long George, Tetradrachm, and Za Approval.
Corfu sharpens for Hopeful
Despite two seemingly hard races, Corfu continues to thrive at Saratoga. On Tuesday, over a sealed, muddy Oklahoma track, Corfu worked four furlongs in 48.86 seconds with a final quarter in 23.60 in preparation for a start in Monday’s Grade 1 Hopeful. Corfu, with jockey John Velazquez up, worked in company with Sound of Freedom, a runner-up in his debut.
“I thought it was an exceptional work,” Pletcher said. “One of the things I noticed with him the few times we’ve had off tracks up here this summer is he seems to like an off track. That’s one of the reasons I decided to go ahead and breeze him; didn’t want to get off schedule.”
Corfu, winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on Aug. 11, will be making his third start in basically five weeks in the Hopeful.
“He bounced out of the Saratoga Special to the point where we had to take him back to the track a day earlier than we normally would because he was absolutely full of himself,” Pletcher said.
All in Blue, who was fourth in the Grade 2 Sanford on July 25 after stumbling at the start, worked four furlongs in 49.21 in company with King Cyrus. All in Blue had his previous work on the turf, but Pletcher and owner Jack Wolf of Starlight Stable elected to give All in Blue another shot on dirt.
King Cyrus, an 11-length maiden winner here on Aug. 5, is possible for the Hopeful, pending a conversation between Pletcher and Elliott Walden, president of owner WinStar Farm. The Iroquois at Churchill on Sept. 7 is another possibility.
Ramseys ties owners’ mark
Ken Ramsey’s quest to be leading owner at the sesquicentennial Saratoga meet will be realized.
Heading into the final week of racing, Ken and his wife, Sarah, have won 18 races – equaling a Saratoga meet record established by Zayat Stables in 2007 – nine more than Darley Stable and Klaravich Stable.
Pletcher is virtually assured of his fourth straight and 10th overall Saratoga trainers’ title as he holds a 32-21 lead over Chad Brown heading into the final six days. With a strong final week, Pletcher could threaten his single-meet win total of 38 set in 2011, the first year of the expanded 40-day format (though only 39 cards were run).
Pletcher’s 2013 meet includes 13 stakes victories, highlighted by four Grade 1’s – the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama with Princess of Sylmar; the Whitney with Cross Traffic ;and the King’s Bishop with Capo Bastone. Pletcher has also won 12 maiden races for 2-year-olds.
Javier Castellano will win his first Saratoga jockey title. He entered the final week with 54 wins, 13 more than Joel Rosario, who is out for the remainder of the meet with a broken foot. John Velazquez has 39 wins.
PAYNTER ROCKS & HAS ALREADY PROVED HIMSELF MANY TIMES!!!! HE'S A MIRACLE HORSE & NOBODY BETTER SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE STUPID WOODWARD B/C HIS JOCKEY JUST DIDN'T WANT TO PUSH HIM IN THAT SLOP!!! LUUUUUVE U PAYNTER!!!! :) XOXOXOXO
Paynter is an AWESOME AMAZING MIRACLE HORSE & as far as the Woodward, heck I'm glad his jockey didn't try to push him in the slop!! Paynter has already proved himself & he's one of my very FAVORITES!!!! PAYNTER ROCKS!!!! :) LUV U PAYNTER!!!! X0X0X0X0 :)
At 7 furlongs it's worth taking a shot against Fast Bullet. Justin Phillip ran big in the Vanderbilt, but he has never been a very consistent horse and if you watch that race, you'll notice that he enjoyed a perfect, stalking, outside trip in a small field that had a lot of pace in it with Delaunay up front.
leparoux replacing lezcano on turallure. have read nothing on drf.com about lezcano being injured. know his horse broke down on sunday. don't you think a jockey who is ranked sixth in the country in earnings is deserving of some mention about an injury?
I don't have Justin Phillip's PPs handy. Has he ever strung two stakes victories together? I'm thinking no...
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Lukas is the master at 5:30 am works in the Saratoga fog so don't be surprised if Fast Bullet is ready. Remember he worked WTC that way also. Personally I hope Jackson wins it. Zayat still haspaynter
Congrats to all the would be champions at the spa in particular Javier as he rode some nice races
they did but you don't read the form every day so you missed it. Essentially the owner made the call because he wanted a few more horses with Lucas. An obscure reason but that was what was reported.
When will racing get rid of 1-1A entries? Such an ancient rule and causes more issues then protects the public. Its year 2013 now, would have been a much better betting race.