07/18/2013 4:00PM

Saratoga notes: Dilger trying to beat mentor Pletcher in Sanford Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
All in Blue enters the Grade 2 Sanford off a 6 1/4-length win in his career debut at Belmont Park.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Michael Dilger, the pupil, will take on his former boss, Todd Pletcher, the teacher, when he sends out his undefeated New York-bred 2-year-old Wired Bryan in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Sanford Stakes.

Wired Bryan and Pletcher’s equally impressive debut winner All In Blue are part of a stellar field of seven juveniles drawn Thursday for the six-furlong Sanford, the first major open race for 2-year-olds during the Saratoga session.

Dilger, 35, was a member of the original class of Darley’s Flying Start, a two-year international management-training program for students hoping to land positions in the Thoroughbred racing industry. After graduation, Dilger spent seven years working for Pletcher before striking out on his own in January.

Wired Bryan is a son of Stormy Atlantic who cruised to a 7 1/4-length debut victory over an overmatched field of statebreds going five furlongs at Belmont Park on June 19. He is owned by his breeder, Anstu Stables Inc.

“Obviously, we were very pleased with his first effort,” said the Irish-born Dilger. “He really couldn’t have run any better than he did. We never really extended him in the morning. We left a little bit for the race, which we like. For that reason, I expect him to move forward off his first start, and the extra distance shouldn’t be a problem. He’s a New York-bred, and he’s just broken his maiden at Belmont, so this is an opportunity for us to take a step up into stakes company and see how he fits. He’s in good form, we’re happy with him, and we’re going to take a shot.”

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Dilger spent the last several springs on the road with many of Pletcher’s top Triple Crown contenders, so he’s no stranger to important races. But this summer will be his first full-time experience at Saratoga, and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“This will be my first stakes opportunity, and to have that come at a place like Saratoga is very exciting,” said Dilger, who has 18 horses stabled at the Oklahoma training track, less than a furlong from Pletcher’s barn. “We have 18 horses, six of them being New York-breds, so coming here to Saratoga just fits, but it certainly means we are starting at the top.”

Wired Bryan and All in Blue will be joined in the Sanford by Debt Ceiling, who has won all three of his starts, including the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes, Jake’s Magic Hat, Southern Blessing, Hollywood Talent, and Yes Liz.

Ron the Greek works toward Whitney

Ron the Greek, the runner-up to Fort Larned in last year’s Whitney, worked four furlongs in 49.50 seconds Thursday over the Oklahoma training track in preparation for this year’s Whitney on Aug. 3.

Ron the Greek, working in company with the two-time winner Profetiza, broke off slightly in front of Profetiza, went his first quarter in 24.93, and finished in 24.57, about two lengths in front of his workmate.

“I thought it was a good work; gave him some company just so he would do a little more,” trainer Bill Mott said.

Ron the Greek began the year with a victory in the Sunshine Millions Classic but has lost his last three starts, including a 10 1/4-length defeat when third to Fort Larned in the Stephen Foster.

Abstraction injured, out for year

Abstraction, a lightly raced 3-year-old son of Pulpit, suffered a condylar fracture to his left foreleg during a workout at Churchill Downs last Sunday and will be sidelined the rest of the year, trainer David Carroll said Thursday.

Abstraction won the Federico Tesio Stakes in April at Pimlico and was third to Code West in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs on June 15. His work last Sunday was in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 28.

“He had three screws inserted,” Carroll said at Saratoga, where he’s brought five horses for the summer. “Hopefully, he can make it back. It’s sickening for everybody, especially for the owner.”

Abstraction is owned by Len Riggio’s My Meadowview Farm.

Rydilluc points to Hall of Fame

Rydilluc, who suffered his first defeat on turf when eighth as the favorite in the Virginia Derby, will be pointed to the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes here Aug. 9, trainer Gary Contessa said.

Contessa said Rydilluc simply didn’t handle the turf at Colonial Downs, made soft by showers that hit the area that afternoon.

“The turf was a swamp; I don’t think he handled it,” Contessa said. “Edgar [Prado] and I talked about it before the race and were concerned about it being soft, but you can’t ship him all the way to Virginia and scratch, not having tried.”

Contessa said Rydilluc returned to training Thursday and “looked perfect.”

Before the Virginia Derby, Rydilluc had won his previous four starts on turf, including the Grade 3 Palm Beach at Gulfstream and the inaugural Penn Mile at Penn National.

“We’ll keep him here and find a nice, firm turf course for him,” Contessa said.