07/25/2013 4:41PM

Saratoga notes: Amsterdam to see Woody Stephens rematch

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Barbara D. Livingston
Forty Tales (far left) beats Declan's Warrior (right) in the Woody Stephens.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A weekend full of graded 3-year-old stakes that began Friday with the Curlin and was to continue Saturday with the Jim Dandy will end late Sunday afternoon when a field of seven sprinters assembles for the Grade 2 Amsterdam.

The 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam, a key prep for the Grade 1 King's Bishop later in the meet, will bring together Forty Tales and Declan's Warrior, who finished first and second seven weeks ago at Belmont Park in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens.
   
Forty Tales brings a three-race win streak into the Amsterdam for trainer Todd Pletcher and the Perretti Racing Stable LLC, having also won the Grade 3 Derby Trial going a mile at Churchill Downs on April 27.

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"He seems to have found his niche as a middle-distance, come-from-behind sprinter," said Pletcher. "Turning back to 6 1/2 furlongs, if there is an honest pace in front of him, it should be okay."

Forty Tales will break from post position 2, just inside Declan's Warrior on Sunday.
"I think he's going to fall back, and he doesn't mind dirt in his face, so the inside post should be okay," said Pletcher.

There should be plenty of pace for both Forty Tales and the late-striding Declan's Warrior to shoot at, especially with the undefeated Rainbow Heir in the lineup. Rainbow Heir has led at every call in his four previous victories, including the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth on July 4.

Mico Margarita also exits a Grade 3 win, at Calder, where he rallied to capture the Carry Back earlier this month.

Salutos Amigos, who scratched from the Quick Call Stakes on the turf Friday, Mentor Cane, and Florida invader Cat Five Hurricane complete the field.

Pletcher has pair of maiden winners

Pletcher warmed up for what could be another big weekend by sending out the winners of both 2-year-old maiden races on Thursday's card, the highly regarded Corfu and Our Amazing Rose, each going off as an odds-on favorite.

Corfu, a $675,000 purchase at the Barretts March sales, had all he could handle from another first-time starter, Pure Sensation, before winning his debut under John Velazquez.

"There were some really fast colts in there, and they got after him the first part," said Pletcher. "He got a little tired, like they all do, but I thought all in all it was a good effort."

Pletcher said a stakes will be in order for Corfu's next start, mentioning the Grade 1 Hopeful or the Sapling as possible options.

Pletcher was equally pleased with Our Amazing Rose's performance.

"It thought it was terrific," said Pletcher. "She broke well and was able to pick up the leader pretty handily around the turn. It seemed like she did everything we could have hoped for."

Pletcher said the Grade 1 Spinaway on Sept. 1 could be next for Our Amazing Rose.

Seal Cove gets a win

Seal Cove posted his first victory in 2013 when he outfinished Grade 1 winner Turallure to capture Wednesday's sixth event, a competitive high-level optional-claiming race that figures to serve as a prep for either the Grade 1 Fourstardave or Grade 2 Bernard Baruch later in the meet.

Seal Cove, a stakes winner to end his 2012 campaign, had finished off the board in two previous starts this season, including a fourth in the Grade 3 John B. Connally at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas.

"I had to do some work on his feet after the race in Texas to start the year, and the rain we got over the last couple of days helped because the course wasn't so speedy today," said trainer Shug McGaughey. "But he's a nice horse and I'm not surprised he won by any means."

McGaughey said the Baruch would definitely be an option for Seal Cove's next start.

Trainer Charles LoPresti was disappointed in the result but pleased by the performance of Turallure in Wednesday's co-feature. Turallure, who suffered similarly close setbacks in both the 2011 Breeders' Cup Mile and the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile the following spring, was shuffled back to last leaving the backstretch then had to come widest into the stretch with his closing surge.

"That's the race I've been looking for from him," said LoPresti, referring to the fact Turallure had finished off the board in his three starts since returning from a layoff earlier this spring.

McGaughey also reported that Point of Entry, who came out of his victory in the Grade 1 Manhattan with a condylar fracture in his left hind cannon bone, could resume training as early as next week.

"He started in the aquacizer on Tuesday, we took another set of X-rays today, and hopefully if all that looks good, we'll put the tack back on him, maybe in the next week or so," said McGaughey on Wednesday.
     
Moment in Dixie may try Ballerina

Moment in Dixie returned to the winner's circle for the first time in 13 months Wednesday when she won a seven-furlong allowance race by 2 1/2 lengths.

Moment in Dixie had won her first two starts but had been frustrated in stakes company, finishing second in pair of overnight stakes last year and last in the Grade 1 Cotillion.
On Thursday, trainer Jimmy Toner said he would consider running Moment in Dixie back in the Grade 1 Ballerina depending on the composition of the field.

"It's a consideration," Toner said. "It's seven-eighths, she's run over the track, the timing's good. If it's a big field, I wouldn't run. If it's a light field I'd take a look at it."

Moment in Dixie earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure for the allowance win.

◗ Clear Pasaj won a three-horse photo from even-money favorite Willet and the late-running Miss Valentine to register a nose victory in Thursday's $100,000 Lottsa Talc Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. Clear Pasaj, who captured the Dancin Renee Handicap in similar front-running style eight weeks earlier at Belmont, was ridden to victory by Jose Ortiz for trainer Bruce Levine and paid $10.

- additional reporting by David Grening