07/20/2011 1:44PM

Saratoga: Low-profile trainers could make an impact this summer

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Bob Coglianese
Apriority, trained by David Fawkes, is considered probable for the Alfred Vanderbilt on Aug. 6.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – There are some new faces in the trainers’ colony this year at Saratoga and while they don’t figure to contend for leading honors with the likes of Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, Bill Mott, and Linda Rice, they figure to send out their share of winners and perhaps at some nice prices.

In alphabetical order, here are some names to keep track of during the 40-day meet.

Mark Casse: The Canadian-based Casse is making a concerted effort to be a player this summer as he has brought 22 horses to Saratoga. Based on his success at Churchill Downs, where he had a 3-1-2 record from 6 starters, it would be wise to pay attention.

Casse, who went 0 for 7 last year here, has two runners on Friday’s opening-day card, including Delightful Magic, a 2-year-old Mineshaft filly owned by John Oxley who shows bullet workouts from the gate at Churchill and Saratoga. Another Oxley-owned 2-year-old, Stealcase, a son of Woodward winner Lawyer Ron, worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.45 seconds here Tuesday and is another juvenile Casse likes. Lockout, a son of Limehouse, ran second in an 11-horse field of maidens at Churchill on July 3 and will likely show up here. Funny Proposition, a debut winner at Churchill, is being pointed to the Adirondack Stakes here on Aug. 14.

In 2009, Casse won two grass races at Saratoga with longshots Storm on the Track and Skipadate and he has brought several horses for turf races here for this meet, including Silver Rock and Time Trial. In Friday’s nightcap, he sends out Hanson Heights, who won a pair of claiming turf races at Gulfstream in the spring when trained by Seth Benzel.

“We have 22 stalls and they’re full of runners,” Casse said. “We will be active, but I don‘t want to be just active I want to be successful.”

David Fawkes: Fawkes, based at Calder year-round, opened up a New York division this year and had a solid Belmont meet winning 7 races from 37 starters. He has never won a race at Saratoga, going 0 for 11 over four meets. That should change this year.

Fawkes said Apriority, runner-up in the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct and Grade 2 Churchill Downs, is tentatively being pointed to the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt here on Aug. 6. Fawkes has a 2-year-old half-brother to Apriority, Bahamian Squall, who could run here later in the meet. Fly to the Sky, a daughter of Lone Star Sky, and King and Crusader, a son of Lion Heart, are 2-year-olds that Fawkes is looking forward to running here. Dreamalot is a 3-year-old New York-bred colt by Bernardini who could be tough in a state-bred maiden event.

Valley of Avoca, a 2-year-old filly who won a maiden turf race at Belmont on July 14, could be a candidate for the P.G. Johnson Stakes here on Aug. 31.

Some older horses that Fawkes will run here are Wildcat Frankie and Perfection Plus. Horses in the claiming ranks to keep an eye on include Stormin Bud, Gudahi, Conway Hillbilly, and Miss Posse.

“I’m going to be aggressive,” Fawkes said.

Bob Hess: Another who opened up a New York string for the first time this year, Hess only went 2 for 13 at Belmont, but promises to be more active at this meet. He hopes to have about 25 starters here, beginning with Giarixa, who is entered in a $25,000 beaten claimer that goes as Friday’s finale.

Hess is bringing some horses back off a layoff at this meet, including Forest Station, a 3-year-old son of Forest Wildcat who has not run since winning his debut last October at Keeneland, and The Gaillimh Girl, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare who also has not run since last October at Keeneland.

Funny Sunny, a 3-year-old daughter of Sharp Humor, hasn’t run since winning a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream by 10 3/4 lengths in February.

Dreamingly, third as the favorite in a maiden turf race after taking a bad step, will get another chance in a turf maiden race at this meet.

Among the 2-year-olds Hess is looking forward to run are Corkage, a More Than Ready Filly who brought $300,000 at auction, and Fancy Farm, a 2-year-old son of Forest Grove. He also believes Tap a Bay Yankee deserves another chance after getting wiped out at the start of her debut at Belmont.

Lisa Lewis: Lewis isn’t new, but she could be poised to have a decent meet, or at least better than in 2011, when she arrived just days before the meet began and went 1 for 13.

Lewis, who trains privately for William Schettine, has a couple of 2-year-olds she’s looking forward to getting started, including Logan Street, a son of Shakespeare; Cattaraugus, a 2-year-old daughter of Straight Man; and Hudson Miracle, a 2-year-old New York-bred son of Sunriver.

Rosa Salvaje, who returned off a layoff to run fourth in a statebred second-level allowance race going six furlongs, might appreciate a turnback to 5 1/2 furlongs, a distance which Saratoga offers. Shakeira, beaten a neck and a nose in two starts off a layoff, is likely to break through the first-level New York-bred condition at this meet, perhaps as early as Sunday. Untamed Glory ran a decent race in her first start off an 11-month layoff at Belmont before stumbling at the start of a $35,000 claimer at Belmont on July 1.

Steve Margolis: Coming off a solid meet at Churchill Downs, Margolis will try his luck at Saratoga with a string of 22 horses.

“We have a diverse group, we have some maidens, some allowance horses, some claimers,” said Margolis, a former assistant to Howie Tesher.

Little Miss Holly, who won the Iowa Oaks on dirt, will try turf for the first time in the Lake George Stakes here on Wednesday.

Margolis picked up a few horses formerly trained by Donnie Von Hemel including Soultown, a 3-year-old Vindication gelding who finished second in a maiden race at Arlington with a 96 Beyer Speed Figure, and Feels Good, a 3-year-old New York-bred daughter of Vindication who finished fourth in her debut last year here when trained by Linda Rice.

Dubai’s Connection, Pistols at Dawn, and Storm in the Lake are allowance horses that Margolis believes will fit here.

My Wahoo, a Flatter colt; Notable Player, an Afleet Alex colt; and Cigar Street, by Street Sense, are among the 2-year-olds Margolis hopes to get started here. Look Who’s Ritzy is a half-brother to Hopeful winner Silver Wagon. Inny Minnie is a daughter of King’s Bishop winner Hard Spun.