07/21/2010 12:45PM

Saratoga trainers to keep an eye on


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – While Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Rick Dutrow, and Linda Rice are likely to be near or at the top of the Saratoga trainer standings, there are a number of lesser-profile trainers who could enjoy success at the Spa this summer.

In alphabetical order, here’s a look at five horsemen to watch:

Chad Brown : A former assistant to Bobby Frankel, Brown won six races here in 2008 and five last year. With 85 horses split between here and Belmont Park – and coming off a Belmont meet where he had 11 second-place finishes – Brown appears poised for a breakout Saratoga meet.

Some of those runner-up finishers who figure tough when they run back include Fiscal Stimulus, Speight of Hand, and Kid Kate. Day of Destiny, a good-looking 3-year-old maiden winner at Gulfstream, is likely to return to the races by the end of August, Brown said.

Margarita Friday, a maiden winner at the end of Belmont, could clear an allowance condition or two at this meet.

Brown said what will separate an average meet from a great meet will be the performance of his 2-year-olds. Too Clever By Half, a $200,000 2-year-old in training purchase runs in Friday’s seventh.

Other juvenile prospects include the New York-bred filly Yawkey Way; Cedar Grove, a daughter of Speightstown and Cold Hearted Babe, a daughter of Silver Trainn; and Special Action, a half-brother to 2009 Saratoga debut winner Aikenite, Silver Medallion, and Best Action.

Brown said he plans to be aggressive in the claiming ranks, an example may be Unbridled Fury, a $300,000 purchase running for a $25,000 tag in Friday’s nightcap.

Will Phipps : A former assistant to Bill Mott, Phipps (no relation to the philanthropic Phipps family) went out on his own at the end of 2008. He’ll have 18 horses stabled at Saratoga, including many New York-breds and 2-year-olds.

Doe Run has a win and two seconds since being transferred to the turf and fired a bullet work over the training track July 13.

Tom and Connie D’Ambra’s Trade Wind Farms make up about half of the Phipps stable. Ryvit, a 3-year-old son of Tapit, is a maiden who is looking to run 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Phipps said Ryvit was suffering from some hind-end issues, but “I think we have him figured out now,” he added.

Other Trade Winds runners to keep an eye out for include Bink’s Forest, a 2-year-old son of Street Cry, and Cientifico, a New York-bred 2-year-old who is a full-brother to three-time winner Scientist. Scientist is sidelined for the year.

Cops Fever is only 1 for 17, but that win came at Saratoga last August. Phipps said this week that Cops Fever has been “training as well or better than I’ve ever seen him,” Phipps said.

Phipps has some horses for the Steinbrenner family’s Kinsman Stable, including Fancy Point, a daughter of Point Given who could be turf or dirt, and Cuatro d’Oro, a son of Medaglia d’Oro.

My Queen and Cee’s Fast are a pair of 2-year-old fillies Phipps trains for Audley Farm, which also owns the filly Night Spirit, a claimer who was one of Phipps’s two winners at the Belmont meet.

Dominick Schettino : Had a huge Belmont meet, with 13 wins, 12 seconds, and 7 thirds from 56 starters, but still has ammunition to continue his winning ways at Saratoga where he won 4 races from 23 starters last summer. Schettino will have 28 horses stabled at Saratoga, with another eight downstate at Belmont.

Schettino’s meat-and-potatoes horses are in the claiming and New York-bred ranks, with the likes of Felinefelon, Il Senatore, Tropical Sunset, Xela, and Bishop of Nola all expected to start at the Spa. Lovely Promise, who won a maiden race last summer at Saratoga, is another one to watch.

Schettino will make a rare appearance in a Grade 1 stakes on Saturday when he saddles Connie and Michael in the Coaching Club American Oaks. Connie and Michael was transferred from Ken McPeek to Schettino by owner Anthony Bonomo – whose son Anthony Bonomo Jr. is Schettino’s assistant – following her second-place finish to Devil May Care in the Mother Goose.

Eve of Destruction, an unraced 3-year-old filly by Malibu Moon, is one Schettino is high on.

Schettino has some 2-year-olds he is looking forward to running, including Bangzoomtothemoon, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Malibu Moon out of the unraced dam Kona Kat, who is a sister to champion sprinter Kona Gold; Who’s On the Case, a New York-bred daughter of Tiznow; and Total Destruction, a half-brother to multiple Grade 3 winner American Lion, who likely won’t be ready until the end of the meet.

“We should have a decent meet,” Schettino said.

John Terranova : With roughly 60 horses split between Saratoga and Belmont, Terranova has the stock to carry on the momentum off a huge Belmont meet where he went 11-4-8 from 43 starters as well as erase the memory of last year’s 0-for-22 Saratoga stand.

Zonga Zing, who overcame trouble to finish second in a first-level allowance race July 2, is targeting a similar spot Saturday. Always a Party, who improved significantly when transferred to the turf, should be live in a first-level allowance race. Zaphyra, who won a second-level allowance going a mile, would look salty if a third-level allowance on July 30 goes.

Saint Jen and Little Miss Macho should give Terranova some ammunition in the claiming ranks.

Terranova will be represented in stakes with Prioress winner Franny Freud targeting the Aug. 7 Test and General Maximus pointing to the Grade 2 Amsterdam on Aug. 2. Terranova’s top sprinter Wall Street Wonder, has not excelled in the heat this summer and is only questionable to get a start at the Spa.

Call Me Swift, a daughter of Bernardini, and Shout Out, a son of Indian Charlie, are a pair of juvenile prospects to watch from this barn.

“I’d be surprised if the horses didn’t run well up there,” said Tonja Terranova, assistant to her husband.

Jimmy Toner : Toner has only won 3 races from 56 starters at Saratoga the last five years but is coming off a solid 6 for 17 meet at Belmont. Toner will have 12 horses at Saratoga, with another 12 based at Belmont.

Toner appears top heavy with 3-year-old turf fillies. La Cloche, a daughter of Ghostzapper out of the Grade 1 winning dam Memories of Silver, won a maiden race on turf when blinkers were added June 27. Mesa Fresca won a maiden race when trying turf for the first time. Toner plans on putting Much Rejoicing, a daughter of Distorted Humor out of the Grade 1 winning turf mare Soaring Softly, on the grass in Saratoga. Much Rejoicing has won on dirt and synthetic and is coming off a 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn.

Stormandaprayer will likely be pointed to an allowance race after finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Prioress.

Cherokee Speed, a 5-year-old male, has finished second in the first-level allowance ranks three straight times. He was beaten a nose in Saratoga last year, one of five second-place finishes Toner had from 15 starters.

Toner is high on 2-year-olds Winter Memories, a half-sister to La Cloche by El Prado; Diamond Willie, a son of Exchange Rate; and Empiricist, a full-brother last year’s Personal Ensign winner Icon Project. Empiricist could make it to the races late in the meet.