08/20/2013 2:16PM

Saratoga: Let Em Shine has time to get acclimated before King's Bishop

Benoit & Associates
Let Em Shine's connections are hopeful the California shipper will run better in Saturday's King's Bishop than he did in his first trip to New York in June for the Woody Stephens.

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The California speedster Let Em Shine, beaten one length when fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park, has returned to New York to run in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop at Saratoga.

Let Em Shine arrived last week, and on Monday worked four furlongs in 48.51 seconds over Saratoga’s main track.

“He did it real easy,” trainer Adam Kitchingman said. “We shipped in a little too late when we went to Belmont. I wanted to get him here a little earlier and get a work over the racetrack and see if it might help.”

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Let Em Shine certainly didn’t run poorly in the Woody Stephens, setting a hot early pace before giving way and finishing behind Forty Tales, Declan’s Warrior, and Clearly Now.

“I thought he ran really good; gutsy effort with the pace he put on,” Kitchingman said. “Bit of a tough beat.”

Kitchingman said Mike Smith would ride Let Em Shine for the first time in the King’s Bishop. Edwin Maldonado had ridden him to three victories in five starts, including a 4 3/4-length score in the Came Home Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 11.

Others expected for the King’s Bishop include Bad Hombre, Central Banker, Declan’s Warrior, Forty Tales, Majestic Hussar, Mentor Cane, Salutos Amigos, and possibly Capo Bastone and No Distinction.

Fast Bullet joins Lukas barn

Fast Bullet, the freakishly fast but fragile 5-year-old, was shipped Tuesday from Southern California to Saratoga and will now be trained by D. Wayne Lukas, owner Ahmed Zayat confirmed. Fast Bullet, previously trained by Bob Baffert, is under consideration for the Grade 1 Forego here on Aug. 31.

“I have horses with Wayne,” Zayat said by phone from Del Mar, where he watched Paynter work for the Woodward. “We have six or seven babies with him. We started that relationship this year.”

Zayat said he wants Lukas to give him a report on how Fast Bullet trains before deciding whether to run him in the Forego.

“I don’t know if I’m going to run him or not,” Zayat said. “He runs every four or five months.”

In his only start this year, Fast Bullet won the Grade 2 True North on Belmont Stakes Day, earning a 110 Beyer Speed Figure.

Zayat also has Justin Phillip under consideration for the Forego. Justin Phillip comes off a victory in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt here on Aug 4. Zayat said that Steve Asmussen, trainer of Justin Phillip, wants to run.

“I think he’s sitting on a bounce,” Zayat said. “We’ll discuss it and see what will happen.”

Asmussen aims pair to Hopeful

Trainer Steve Asmussen said Tuesday that he is pointing impressive maiden winner Big Sugar Soda and Sanford runner-up Southern Blessing to the Grade 1 Hopeful here on Sept. 2.

On Tuesday, Southern Blessing worked five furlongs in 1:01.37 in company with the 4-year-old stakes-winning filly Vuitton.

Asmussen, sitting atop a stable pony in midstretch, waved his arm at the exercise riders in the stretch to make sure they finished the work.

“I could tell he was about to look at his watch and be happy,” Asmussen said. “I wanted him to be sure to just stay on to the wire. He’s a very easy-going horse.”

Southern Blessing won his debut at Churchill before finishing second to Wired Bryan in the Sanford.

Big Sugar Soda finished third in his debut at Churchill before winning a maiden race by 8 1/4 lengths here on July 22.

Asmussen said Candy Dandy came out of his fifth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special with a chip and has already undergone surgery to have it removed. There is no timetable for his return.