08/16/2012 4:38PM

Saratoga: Prince Will I Am nearing comeback

Email
Tom Keyser
Prince Will I Am, unraced since June 2011, has had five workouts since arriving in Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. − Prince Will I Am, a Grade 1 winner who has been away from the races since June 2011, is getting close to making a comeback.

On Wednesday, Prince Will I Am had a sharp five-furlong breeze in 1:01.64 over Saratoga’s main track, making up several lengths on a stablemate who started well out in front of him. It was the fifth work for Prince Will I Am since he arrived in Saratoga.

“I couldn’t be more pleased, and I am excited about his return,” trainer Michelle Nihei said. “We’re sort of biding our time to find the right spot for a comeback race. I don’t really want to throw him into big company off a year layoff.”

Prince Will I Am won the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont in 2010 and won the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream in 2011. He last started in the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont in June 2011, finishing last.

“There are lots of things that plague a horse that runs that much, that hard since he was 2,” Nihei said. “We had some little issues we knew were there and some issues we suspected were there. I think more than anything time off was going to help.”

Jackson Bend works for Forego

Jackson Bend worked four furlongs in company with stablemate Mountain Eagle in 49.39 seconds Thursday over the Oklahoma training track. Winner of the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in the spring, Jackson Bend is preparing to defend his title in the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 1. Exercise rider Maxine Correa was aboard for the work.

“I was happy with the work,” trainer Nick Zito said. “He went easy. He was just galloping. I’ll come back with something a little quicker next week. I’m just keeping him slow and easy for now.”

In last year’s Forego, Jackson Bend rallied to score a 3 1/4-length win over Jersey Town for the first of his two career Grade 1 wins. He recently finished fourth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 3 James Marvin on July 20.

Zito is also readying Fort Loudon for the Grade 1 King’s Bishop here next Saturday. Fort Loudon, who finished fifth making his local debut in the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 29, is scheduled to have his final work for the King’s Bishop on Saturday.

* Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard kept alive his streak of winning at least one race at Saratoga every year since 1967 when History Boy ($7.70) took Thursday’s $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Brian Crowley rode the winner, who covered 2 3/8 miles in 4:35.36.

* Awesome Feather, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2010, worked a sharp half-mile in 49.28 seconds over the Oklahoma training track Thursday. She got her last quarter in 24.20 seconds. Trainer Chad Brown remains noncommittal on where Awesome Feather would make her next start.

* Ashland winner Karlovy Vary returned to training after suffering a gash that required 15 stitches outside the tendon of her right foreleg during the running of the Nani Rose Stakes on July 29. Trainer Rusty Arnold said he is considering the Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park on Sept. 15 as a prep for the Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 7.

− additional reporting by Mike Welsch