07/30/2012 1:46PM

Saratoga: Whitney contenders Fort Larned and Endorsement each get in a final work

Barbara D. Livingston
Endorsement gets his final work in on Monday before Saturday's Whitney.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Two of the nine likely starters for Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney, Fort Larned and Endorsement, got in their final work for the race over a fast main track here Monday. One went a little too fast, one went a little too slow, but in the end both camps were pleased with what they saw and looking forward to a big performance from their horse this weekend.

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Fort Larned, who upset Successful Dan to win the Grade 3 Cornhusker in his last start, sizzled five furlongs in 58.78 seconds before the renovation break while Endorsement, last of seven in the Grade 2 Suburban in his last start, was on cruise control throughout his easy five-furlong breeze in 1:04.65 a couple of hours later.

Fort Larned completed his final quarter in 23.75 and galloped out a strong six furlongs in 1:12.01 before pulling up seven-eighths in 1:26.28. Trainer Ian Wilkes said later that Fort Larned’s work was disrupted by another horse galloping too close to the rail as his horse entered the turn.

“It was a little faster than I wanted, but a horse galloping down near the fence really screwed things up for us,” said Wilkes. “He was only one or two paths off the fence near the three-eighths pole and my rider had to ride [Fort Larned] a little to make sure they got through there okay. At that point Fort Larned really accelerated, and once he’s in a rhythm, you don’t want to slow him down. But he walked off the track without a bother in the world and the work didn’t knock him out a bit. I’m looking forward to the race Saturday. It should really tell us where we stand in the division at this point.”

Trainer Eoin Harty said that his rider Lindsey Molina might have been a little too cautious aboard Endorsement, who had worked 58 and change here one week earlier.

“It was a little slower than I wanted, but he looked good doing it,” said Harty. “He’s really been a different horse than he was prior to each of his last several starts. This time we got a chance to get him here a couple of weeks in advance of the race rather than ship in 48 hours on top of it. It usually takes him a while to settle into a new environment, but we’ve been able to take him to the paddock every day this past week and he’s much more relaxed than he was before the Suburban.”

Fort Larned has been assigned 117 pounds and Endorsement 115 for the Whitney. Ron the Greek is expected to go postward the starting highweight under 120 pounds in a field that should also include Hymn Book (118), Rule (116), Flat Out (116), Caixa Eletronica (116), Trickmeister (116), and Hunter’s Bay (115).