08/01/2013 5:34PM

Saratoga notes: Vanderbilt attracts just five

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Barbara D. Livingston
Delaunay works at Saratoga getting ready for his role as highweight in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt may not be a Win and You'reIn race for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, but it is a prestigious Grade 1 race and a stepping-stone to the seven-furlong Forego later in the meet.

Yet despite all the compelling reasons to run in the six-furlong Vanderbilt, only five horses were entered on Thursday, led by 120-pound highweight Delaunay and his recent conqueror, Gentlemen's Bet.
 
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who sent out Majesticperfection to capture the 2010 Vanderbilt, will again be represented by Justin Phillip, the runner-up to upset winner Poseidon's Warrior, in last year's renewal of the Vanderbilt. Florida invader Bahamian Squall, who already sewed up a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint by virtue of his victory in Calder's Grade 2 Smile, and the hard-knocking veteran Caixa Eletronica complete the field.

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One trainer who is not surprised there is a small field in the Vanderbilt, but who has been looking forward to running in the race since arriving here last month from Kentucky, is Ron Moquett. He'll saddle Gentlemen's Bet, a winner of 5 of his 6 career starts whose lone defeat came at the hands of Justin Phillip in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap this spring at Oaklawn Park. Gentlemen's Bet defeated then division leader Delaunay in the pair's initial encounter when rallying to a 1 3/4-length decision five weeks ago at Prairie Meadows in the Iowa Sprint Handicap.

"I didn't think there would be a lot of people standing in line to hook Delaunay or the winner of the Smile," said Moquett. "But we're excited to try them, and we think we've got a good horse. We would love to be able to say we won this race. Our goal is the Breeders' Cup Sprint, and the main thing right now is to run in this race, come back good and go from there."

Majestic Hussar to run Sunday

Majestic Hussar, a pretty fast horse in his own right, flew over a lightning-fast main track after the renovation break on Thursday morning, working a half-mile in 46.71 seconds.

Majestic Hussar, who was sidelined by knee issues earlier this year, will launch his comeback under allowance conditions in Sunday's fourth race. He has not started since finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on Feb. 23.

"He's had a series of good works both here and back at Belmont and he's ready to run," said trainer Eddie Kenneally. "We'll take things one step at a time, but we'd like to get the job done off the layoff in the allowance, and then we'd definitely look at the King's Bishop."
The Grade 1 King's Bishop will be run on Aug. 24.

Twilight Eclipse works nicely

Twilight Eclipse, runner-up in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont on July 13, worked five furlongs in 1:04.13 over Saratoga's main track on Thursday as he prepares for a possible start in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer here on Aug. 17.

While the final time doesn't indicate a strong work, Twilight Eclipse galloped out very well, getting six furlongs in 1:16.42 and seven-eighths in 1:29.73.

Trainer Tom Albertrani said he and his owners, the West Point Thoroughbreds, are deciding between the Sword Dancer and the $400,000 American St. Leger, a 1 11/16-mile race in Chicago on the undercard of the Arlington Million.

Though Albertrani said he is leaning toward the Sword Dancer, he will monitor the field and course conditions for both races. Twilight Eclipse prefers firm ground. Earlier his year, he set a world record for 1 1/2 miles in winning the Pan American at Gulfstream in a time of 2:22.63.

Bettor gets $15K Whitney wager

Kevin Brockley, of Gansevoort, N.Y., will have the opportunity to place a $15,000 win wager on Saturday's Whitney Handicap Invitational as part of a month-long promotion in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Saratoga.

On each of the five Saturdays in August, one fan will get the opportunity to place a $15,000 win wager on a designated stakes race. The promotion is being underwritten by Marylou Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson.

"It is absolutely amazing, a phenomenal opportunity," Brockley said in a press release. "Wow, this has the makings of a good time."

Brockley will be presented the $15,000 in the winner's circle following the ninth race. The Whitney is the 10th.

Registration for the remaining $15,000 win wagers can be made at www.Saratoga150.com/contest.

Viewing stand to open Saturday

A viewing stand that will allow fans to watch morning training on the Oklahoma track will open Saturday and be open seven days a week through the end of the meet. Viewing hours will be from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The Whitney viewing stand, located at the eighth pole on the training track, will be able to accommodate approximately 49 patrons at a time. It is set back about 45 feet from the rail.
The stand was originally to be positioned in the middle of the far turn, but horsemen expressed concerned that horses could be easily spooked by people being in that area.

Fans will be able to access the Oklahoma track through the East Avenue entrance, and parking is free.

Marylou Whitney cut the ribbon Thursday morning and climbed the long staircase to the top of the stand.

"I hope you come with all your friends to this reviewing stand," Whitney said. "It's one of my favorite spots."

** Micromanage, third in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Sunday, will be pointed to the $350,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx on Sept. 2, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

- additional reporting by David Grening

Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Much appreciation to Mary Lou Whitney and her husband for their generous support of racing. Yes, I know they're swimming in money, but they didn't have to underwrite the bets and the viewing stand. Mary Lou's enthusiasm for racing and Saratoga in particular is refreshing. Hope she still has her big "society soiree" Fri. night before the Whitney 'Cap.