08/06/2013 5:00PM

Saratoga: Lukas to tackle turf stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Optimizer has shown an affinity for Saratoga's turf course.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will be active in both upcoming graded turf stakes here, sending out Skyring against defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan in Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap and Optimizer against Boisterous in the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on Aug. 17.

Skyring upset the Grade 2 Dixie at 24-1 on Preakness Day before finishing sixth behind Big Blue Kitten in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth on July 6. The U.N. was run at 1 3/8 miles, while the Fourstardave is run at one mile.

"I don't know if he wanted to run that far. He didn't seem sharp," Lukas said about Skyring's race in the U.N. "He had a chance. He was there and he hung. I personally like him a little shorter at a mile or a mile and an eighth. Granted, we're going into the deep end of the pool this time with some of those that are in there, but at a mile he should be effective."

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Gary Stevens had ridden Skyring in his last two starts, but he will be in England to ride this weekend. Junior Alvarado will ride Skyring, who at 118 pounds will get 11 pounds from Wise Dan.

Optimizer has shown an affinity for Saratoga's turf course, winning his career debut here and getting beat a neck in the With Anticipation Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2011. Last year, he won a first-level allowance race going 1 3/16 miles over the course.