08/21/2012 5:37PM

Saratoga: Lunar Victory seeks fifth straight

Barbara D. Livingston
Lunar Victory came off a 5 1/2-month layoff to win the $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes for New York-breds

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The flat feature on Thursday’s nine-race card – highlighted by the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Steeplechase – is a third-level allowance race going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. The New York-bred Lunar Victory tops the six-horse field as he seeks his fifth consecutive victory.

On July 23, Lunar Victory came off a 5 1/2-month layoff to win the $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes for New York-breds. He hadn’t run since winning an open-company first-level allowance race on March 3, a race in which he bled through Lasix.

[Complete coverage of racing at Saratoga: News, PPs, and video]

Lunar Victory, owned by Juddmonte Farms, was given time off and returned with a sharp effort in the Evan Shipman as he pressed strong early fractions en route to a 2 1/2-length victory.

“That was pretty impressive,” trainer Bill Mott said. “He was a little bit sharper than I thought he would be and a little bit closer than I thought he would be, although he appeared to be doing it easily. I hope he runs as well now that he’s had a race in him.”

Other contenders in the six-horse field include Golden Gulch and Self Control. Golden Gulch, trained by Eddie Kenneally, comes off a second-place finish in this condition to Cease, a horse who is Woodward-bound and who is 3 for 3 at Saratoga.

Self Control, trained by Chad Brown, won a second-level allowance at Belmont on July 7 going a one-turn mile. In addition to having a win at Saratoga, Self Control’s best lifetime Beyer Speed Figure came in a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream where he beat next-out winners Eye on Jacob and E.H. Indy.