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Smuggler gets time to recuperate
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Smuggler, winner of the Coaching Club Oaks and Mother Goose, will be out the rest of the year, trainer Shug McGaughey said Friday.
Smuggler, owned by the Phipps Stable, missed the Grade 1 Alabama here Aug. 20 because of a high temperature, and McGaughey said she still has a recurring fever. Smuggler was shipped from Saratoga to the Phipps farm in Kentucky on Thursday.
"She's still sick and she will be off for a while," McGaughey said. "Her temperature kept going up, back and forth. She would get a temperature for no reason. We shipped her to Kentucky and we will try to figure out what's going on."
Smuggler, a 3-year-old filly out of 1995 champion filly Inside Information, missed the Alabama after developing a fever about 10 days before the race. At the time, McGaughey said he would point her for a fall return in preparation for the Breeders' Cup, possibly in next Saturday's Gazelle at Belmont.
With two workouts, on Aug. 22 and Aug. 26 here, it looked as if Smuggler would be on course for that return. But earlier this week her temperature spiked yet again and the decision was made to put an end to her 3-year-old season.
Hirapour solidifies credentials
Hirapour took a big step forward in his quest to repeat as the Eclipse Award-winning steeplechase horse with a resounding win in the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap on Friday.
Hirapour, a 9-year-old gelding, rated well off the early pace under jockey Matthew McCarron in the nine-horse field. McCarron began making his move with only a half-mile to run, and Hirapour took the lead for the first time after jumping the final fence. Hirapour drew away from Three Carat to win by 3 3/4 lengths, with Party Airs third. Hirapour ($4.50) covered 2 3/8 miles over a yielding turf course in 4:24.90.
The Turf Writers is Hirapour's fifth Grade 1 win and second of the year.
The win was emotional for McCarron and trainer Doug Fout.
McCarron broke his left arm in a spill in the first race of the meet. He had surgery two days later and immediately began physical therapy, hoping to return in time for the Turf Writers.
"It is certainly a fairy-tale ending, that's for sure," McCarron said.
Without McCarron, Hirapour was too close to the early pace in the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick here on Aug. 8 and finished third. He cut his knee badly in the race and needed stitches.
Hirapour gave Fout his first Turf Writers Cup victory, 30 years after his father, Paul Raymond Fout, won the race with the filly Life's Illusion. The elder Fout died on Aug. 16.
"The horse got hurt in the A.P. Smithwick and things didn't go his way," Fout said. "Then, I lost my dad in this meet. With this horse coming back and doing what he did, and with my father winning this race in 1975, it means a lot."
Hirapour will start twice more this year, in the Breeders' Cup and Colonial Cup.
May Night upsets P.G. Johnson
Making her first grass start, the maiden 14-1 longshot May Night caught My Interpretation with less than a sixteenth of a mile remaining to win the inaugural running of the $65,000 P.G. Johnson for 2-year-old fillies on Friday.
May Night ($31.80) and jockey Robby Albarado covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.61 over a yielding turf course. My Interpretation was a length back in second, and Dressed to Kill finished third.
Southern Protocol, the 5-2 favorite, was trapped on the rail in the stretch and unable to find running room, finishing fourth.
A daughter of Gulch, May Night is trained by Fred Seitz and owned by Seitz and Rabbits Foot Stable. This was the first win of the year in six starts for Seitz, who shipped the winner in from Kentucky.
Alinghi might face males at Keeneland
Alinghi, the 4-year-old Australian sensation who won the Grade 3 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap last Monday in her American debut, might face males in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 8, trainer Bobby Frankel said.
Frankel added that the long-term goal is the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park on Nov. 27.
Alinghi defeated males in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in Australia this year. A multiple Group 1 winner in Australia, she has earned almost $2.7 million. She was purchased for a reported $2.2 million by owners Alan Jones, John Leaver, and John Messara in the spring.
Frankel said if "everything stays well," Alinghi will remain in training until the middle of next year, and then she will be retired and sent back to Australia for the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere breeding season in August.
Simon to get Battle Won's brother
Earlier this week, as trainer Chuck Simon prepared Battle Won for a big test in Saturday's Grade 1 Forego, he couldn't help but look forward to a promising future addition to his stable - Battle Won's full brother.
At the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga preferred yearlings sale Aug. 9, Jay Manoogian, who owns Battle Won, purchased Hip No. 37 for $385,000. The colt is by Honour and Glory out of the Caller I.D. mare Call Her. Both were bred by Glencrest Farm in Kentucky.
Simon purchased Battle Won in May 2004 for $150,000 on behalf of Manoogian from owner Lazy Lane Farm. Battle Won was a gelding when he bought him.
"Anything [Battle Won] does enhances his brother's value," Simon said, adding, "We're not going to geld him."
Kimmel enjoys resurgence
From 1997-2001, trainer John Kimmel averaged slightly fewer than 10 wins a summer at Saratoga and even shared the training title in 1997 with 15 victories. From 2002-04, however, Kimmel's numbers took a sharp decline to where he went just 2 for 32 last summer.
Kimmel has returned to his winning ways here this summer, winning 6 of 21 starts through Thursday. He has also had a productive meet at Monmouth Park, where he had won 9 of 39 starts through Thursday.
Kimmel has a chance to end the Saratoga meet in style when he sends out Chestertown Slew in Sunday's Saranac Stakes and Love Match in Monday's Glens Falls Handicap. Both are Grade 3 events worth $100,000.
Chestertown Slew, a New York-bred son of Seattle Slew, has gone 3 for 3 since being transferred to the turf after his second career start. On July 24, closing day at Belmont Park, Chestertown Slew won a second-level statebred event by four lengths while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 94.
"After Richie [Migliore] rode him the first time on the grass and we came back and worked him on the dirt, Richie said he just feels so much more solid on grass than on dirt,'' Kimmel said. "Even though he has worked pretty well on the dirt before, he needs a track that has to be very tight. He just seems to get a better push behind when he runs on grass.''
Though the Saranac, run at 1 3/16 miles, will be farther than Chestertown Slew has run, Kimmel said he doesn't believe the distance will present a problem.
"He has got tremendous stamina,'' Kimmel said.
Love Match is 2 for 2 since Kimmel took over her training in late June. After winning a third-level allowance race at Monmouth, she returned 16 days later to win the Matchmaker. At 1 3/8 miles, the Glens Falls will be a distance test for Love Match, a 5-year-old daughter of Partner's Hero.
"Javier [Castellano] said the horse galloped out tremendously well,'' Kimmel said of the Matchmaker. "He said going further shouldn't be a problem. I said 'Well, let's give it a try.' ''
Kimmel has won recent allowance races at this meet with Seeking the Ante and Awesome Twist, who both could be in action next weekend at Belmont. Seeking the Ante is possible for Saturday's Grade 1 Gazelle, while Awesome Twist could run in Sunday's Grade 2 Jerome.
Kimmel is excited about his prospects for continued success in the fall and beyond. He has several New York-bred 2-year-olds by sires such as Cat Thief, Unbridled's Song, and More Than Ready. He credits the return of his long-time assistant, Loretta Lusteg, for helping to get things turned around. Lusteg, who had worked for Kimmel for 12 years, had quit to work for trainer Lisa Lewis for about a year.
"It was kind of nice to get Loretta back in action,'' Kimmel said. "It takes some of the pressures off me in trying to do so many things. We have such a good rapport after 12 years working together. I think we will get this operation back to where it used to be. We were always one of the leading outfits here in New York. I think we will assume that position again.''
- additional reporting by David Grening