08/06/2011 1:10PM

Saratoga: Sky Blazer looks sharp for Gleaming Stakes

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Sky Blazer comes into Monday’s Gleaming Stakes off an allowance win.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The threat of inclement weather over the weekend and into Monday prompted the racing office to tinker with Saratoga’s stakes schedule. The Signature Stallions Waya Stakes, originally scheduled – but not drawn – for Monday has been carded for Wednesday instead.

The Monday feature is now the $75,000 Gleaming Stakes and has been carded as the first race on a nine-race program that features four other races scheduled for the turf, many of which have a plethora of main-track-only entrants.

The Gleaming, for 3-year-olds at 1 3/16 miles, drew an evenly matched field of eight, plus two horses entered for main track only. Sky Blazer, trained by Barclay Tagg, hails from a family of marathon turf stakes winners and comes off a solid effort in a first-level allowance victory going 1 1/4 miles on June 29. Cheyenne Nation, fifth in that race, came back to win Saturday’s opener here.

Sky Blazer is by Sky Mesa out of the dam Highland Hope, who is a half-sister to marathon graded stakes winners Royal Mountain Inn, Highland Crystal, and Miss Josh, all of whom Tagg trained. Tagg thinks Sky Blazer has the kind of running style that will be successful at marathon distances.

“He’s got a great, big, long stride, he’s an easy galloper, he just gallops them to death,” said Tagg, who trains Sky Blazer for Joyce Young and Gerald McManis. “He likes going a route of ground.”

An intriguing member of this field is Canaveral, a English-bred son of Cape Cross who won his last two starts at 1 1/4 miles in Great Britain before being shipped to trainer David Donk three weeks ago. He has breezed twice over the Oklahoma turf course, including a bullet five-furlong move in 1:00 on Aug. 5.

“He’s breezed really well,” Donk said. “I’m not sure what his races were like in Europe; he’s not eligible for a whole lot without running in a graded stakes. He’s done everything right since he’s been here, we’ll get a good line on him.”

Trainer Graham Motion, who has 5 wins from 14 starters at this meet, sends out the uncoupled entry of Golden Causeway and Witor. Golden Causeway is 2 for 2 on turf and is coming off a last-to-first allowance win at Pimlico on Preakness Day, when he rallied from 18 lengths back despite a pedestrian pace.

Witor, a German-bred, is 2 for 2 since being stretched out in distance and having blinkers added to his equipment.

Motion said the distance is something Golden Causeway “should handle. The other horse is in there because it’s the only chance I’m going to get to run him at a distance.”

Motion also believes Witor would handle a turf course that has give in the ground, despite the fact he didn’t run well over it in Germany.

“Soft is bottomless, especially in Germany,” Motion said. “It’s unbelievable what they run on.”

Seal Cove, who is 2 for 2 on turf, Eternal Ruler, Prado Dash, and Rocky World complete the field.