07/26/2011 2:18PM

Saratoga: Whitney's two turns should be no problem for Duke of Mischief

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Mike Montgomery Photo
Duke of Mischief, winning the $1 million Charles Town Classic, was lured to Saratoga's Whitney by the race's $750,000 purse.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.– Duke of Mischief arrived by van from his home base at Calder on Tuesday to begin final preparations for the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney on Aug. 6 here at Saratoga.

Trainer David Fawkes had been on the fence for the past week regarding Duke of Mischief’s status for the Whitney before finally making the decision over the weekend to run. Duke of Mischief is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap after having won the $1 million Charles Town Classic earlier this spring.

“In the end I just felt we had to try him for that kind of money in a race of that status as well as he’s been running,” Fawkes said. “He may have moved a little prematurely in the Foster, that stretch is awfully long. We finished in front of both Flat Out in the Foster and Tizway at Charles Town and both those horses came back to win Grade 1 races, but around one turn. That’s one thing I’m hoping for, that those two are better around one turn than two. I already know my horse can handle two turns.”

The addition of Duke of Mischief brings the prospective starting lineup to at least nine for the Whitney. Along with Flat Out and Tizway, the field is also expected to include Apart, Giant Oak, Mission Impazible, Morning Line, Rail Trip, and Rodman.

Fawkes said regular rider Joe Bravo would again handle Duke of Mischief in the Whitney and would be in town to work him on Saturday morning.

Accompanying Duke of Mischief on the van ride from south Florida was Apriority, runner-up to Morning Line in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 9. Apriority was entered to run and would likely have been favored to win Calder’s Grade 2 Smile Sprint on July 9 but was scratched the morning of the race due to a foot abscess. Fawkes is hopeful he will be able to have Apriority 100 per cent and ready for the Grade 1 Vanderbilt on Aug. 7.

“I’ll work him next weekend and see how he goes,” said Fawkes. “He missed a little training but he’s super fit. As long as he works well and the foot is good, he’ll run in the Vanderbilt.”

Jersey Town appears sluggish

One horse who did not work to his trainer’s satisfaction earlier this week was Grade 1 winner Jersey Town, who went five furlongs in 1:02.83 over the main track on Monday. Trainer Barclay Tagg scratched Jersey Town, who has not started since upsetting the Grade 1 Cigar Mile in November, from the James Marvin Stakes on last Friday’s opening day program.

“He sheared the frog off his foot working at Belmont a few weeks ago,” said Tagg. “I did not like the way he worked yesterday and I don’t know if it’s his feet or he just doesn’t like this track.”

Tagg said his upcoming options for Jersey Town could include the Vanderbilt or the $100,000 Teddy Drone at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

“I put him in a little sprint stakes at Monmouth on the 31st, just something to get him started back, or he still could go in the Vanderbilt but if he can’t work faster than 1:03 I don’t want to run him,” said Tagg.