07/31/2013 5:18PM

Saratoga: McPeek aiming high with Java’s War

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Barbara D. Livingston
Java’s War, with Danny Ramsey riding, trains at Saratoga on Wednesday, preparing for a Travers start.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Last year, Ken McPeek took a swing for the fences and connected big-time when his Golden Ticket dead-heated with Alpha for first in the $1 million Travers Stakes.

It looks like McPeek is getting ready to step into the batter’s box again in this year’s Travers Stakes.

McPeek said Wednesday that Java’s War, most recently last of four in the Swaps at Hollywood Park, is being pointed to the Travers, where he is expected to meet Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Belmont and Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice, and Haskell winner Verrazano.

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McPeek, who trains Java’s War for owner Charles Fipke said, “Mr. Fipke wants to see him win a Grade 1 on dirt, and I’m going to give him every opportunity to try it.”

McPeek said he trained Java’s War a little differently for the Swaps, wanting to get him closer to the pace than he had been in previous races, including his victory in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.

“We tried to get him to have a little more speed, and we’ve been doing gate work to add to that,” McPeek said. “It stepped him backward instead of forward. We’ll get him back to his old running style. He’s beaten Palace Malice, he was second to Verrazano. It’s a matter of getting him back on form. He’s not far off.”

Java’s War, a son of War Pass, defeated Palace Malice by a neck in the Blue Grass in April. Before that, he finished second, beaten three lengths by Verrazano, in the Tampa Bay Derby.

“That was his first race of the season,” McPeek said. “He was just getting going.”

McPeek said he had not yet finalized a jockey assignment for Java’s War, who has been ridden by Julien Leparoux in his last three starts.

Meanwhile, Golden Ticket, who won last Saturday’s Prairie Meadows Handicap by eight lengths, is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic with one more start beforehand, McPeek said.

“We’re taking the easiest route to get him to the Classic as possible,” McPeek said. “We don’t want to bang heads with any of the toughies until then. We’ll run him one more time somewhere, still undecided.”

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B More than 1 year ago
Use the DRF or Equibase for obtaining past performances and read Handicapper's Edge for more in depth coverage of racing. The Blood-Horse also can be interesting and if you want to see a race that you missed without knowing the winner in advance, this you can do on the Blood-Horse site by ignoring the articles and scrolling down to their race replay section, something that you cannot do on the DRF site as all of their replays are included in the article about the winner.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
(In regards to the "DRF Plus" membership being required to read the featured article...) When I was first getting interested in this sport, the Daily Racing Form cost $1.25; one had to tear them apart along a perforation then fold it back together. I used to buy one everyday, just to have the charts and the workouts. Since the advent of the Internet and the development of the DRF web page, I don't have to do that anymore. Especially since there are other sites like Equibase that provide that information for free. Now, the Form is $7 (or more). Who can buy one everyday? They don't even have the charts or workouts anymore. Is it any wonder that they are looking for other means of making a buck? This is the way I see it: DRF is in the business of selling information. The value of this information is directly tied to the popularity of the sport. The value is also tied to the accuracy of the information. Added value could be obtained if the information actually aided the picking of a winner. To rectify the situation, the easiest topic here is to increase the accuracy of the data. Invest in providing Trakkus systems at all race tracks and derive your information directly from the system. Eliminate the errors from human subjectivity of the chart callers. Further, in cases where fog obscured the vision of the chart callers accurate data would not be an issue. Still keep the format the format of reporting lengths back at points of call, but report fractional times in tenths of seconds. To further enhance the value of this information, I am sure that the Trakkus system could provide recorded velocity at each point of call (as the fractional time is merely a reflected average of the horse's speed for that panel). Still keep the Beyer Speed figure, as the track variant can be derived by calculating the final time where the 100 point score was awarded and comparing it to a standard parallel time chart. Perhaps increasing the accuracy of the information will resolve the issue about providing a better opportunity to win for those that will actually read it. When people start winning, perhaps the popularity of the sport will increase. However, the sport has to compete with garbage like casino gaming and lotteries; people don't understand racing but they understand garbage, I guess...
Benjamin H. More than 1 year ago
Greedy B A S T A R D S?
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Just trying to make a buck, but they need to be proactive in assessing how to do it. What they are looking for is to make more money without making an investment. Could this be because they feel that the curtain's about to come down somewhat on horse racing? That would be my guess. You need to invest money to make money. DRF is already heavily invested in this sport. They need to commit or fold.
Cavonnier More than 1 year ago
It's an absolutely sad day and time when horseracing is experiencing such tough times, that one of the identifiable publications is sticking it to its loyal fan base. By trying to charge members/casual readers, to the sport, money to read/use things that have been FREE for years, is criminal. I am not sure about the economic hardships the DRF must be experiencing, but charging the loyal racing fan extra, for traditionally free material, is a stroke of absurdity. I find it over ironic the number of complaints read on this web-site about how unusually high take out numbers for tracks is killing the sport's growing popularity. This high take rate is something that has been condemned by this site and its numerous writers. So with being known and understood, what does the DRF decide to do, in a critical time of the sport, lets charge the average/loyal racing fan for our content. Please defend how you at DRF are any different than the racetrack RIPPING off the public with high take out rates and now charging silly rates for use on your website? See the hypocrisy that exists in this sport, is killing it. Those who are entrusted with helping the sport, the DRF, is slowly continuing to kill the sport through its GREED! Shame on this website and those who support this change. At the risk of your loyal readers and horse racing fans, you are putting money in your pockets at the expense of those who support this site and sports, the fans! Thank you DRF for contributing to the demise of the sport through your greed!
Rich Blaho More than 1 year ago
Wow! And people want to know why horse racing is losing fans. Well let's revisit McPeek's quote from above “We’re taking the easiest route to get him to the Classic as possible,” McPeek said. “We don’t want to bang heads with any of the toughies until then. We’ll run him one more time somewhere, still undecided.” Are you kidding me. Horse racing fans are so tired of short fields in claiming races much less Graded Stakes where there is an odds on favorite. Kenny, we need big fields, rivalries and something to make us go to the track to watch and bet. Do you really believe avoiding the "toughies" with Golden Ticket helps this game?
Benjamin H. More than 1 year ago
Never been a big fan of McPeeks. He seems like a big P R I C K IMO!
B More than 1 year ago
This dude is dreaming!
Benjamin H. More than 1 year ago
He's a P R I C K?
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
It's more of a nightmare.
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
Not the classic...daggone GT would win the dirt mile, he has no chance in the classic
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Has Fipke lost his mind? The dirt is not Java's friend & McPeek is simply enabling the owner. A synthetic track is where this horse is going to succeed. This is like telling your child that he has no choice but to be a lawyer when he has aspirations to be a calculus professor.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Has Fipke lost his mind? The dirt is not Java's War's friend & McPeek is simply enabling the owner. A synthetic track is where this horse is going to exceed. This is like telling your child he has no choice but to be a lawyer when he has aspirations to be a calculus professor.
RJay64 More than 1 year ago
It's pretty sad that soon we have to pay to read news articles like these, that don't even give any handicapping tips.
B More than 1 year ago
Don't pay. I'm not. Instead read Handicapper's Edge, which offers far more in depth coverage and The Blood-Horse site also offers quite a bit.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Buy the 'Little Green Card - A Winner in Every Race'.