07/17/2012 12:31PM

St. John's River summers at Saratoga

Barbara D. Livingston
St. John’s River will start in a Saratoga allowance July 26, with an eye toward the Grade 1 Personal Ensign.

St. John’s River is one of three horses Louisiana Downs-based trainer Andrew Leggio Jr. will have stabled at Saratoga for the meet that opens Friday. She is being pointed to a conditioned allowance July 26 and from there could run in the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign on Aug. 26.

“If she does good in this allowance, that’s what we’re kind of shooting at,” said Leggio, who trains St John’s River for Dede McGehee.

St. John’s River, who last year missed by a neck in the Kentucky Oaks and won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks, has raced twice this season, both starts coming under Rosie Napravnik at Churchill Downs. St. John’s River was second in the Grade 2 La Troienne on May 4, then a distant third to Royal Delta in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis on June 16.

“She just didn’t run last time, and that’s not like her,” Leggio said. “Rosie said she didn’t have any life, for whatever reason. I don’t know. She came out of the race good. She’s healthy, training like a superstar over here.”

St. John’s River worked a bullet half-mile in 46.80 seconds at Saratoga on July 12. Leggio will be taking advantage of her nonwinner-of-three condition in the allowance. He said he also has brought an allowance horse and a maiden special weight runner to Saratoga.

Leggio has an 18-horse stable competing at Louisiana Downs, and this is the first time he has based at Saratoga. He has, however, raced there. Happy Ticket shipped to the upstate New York track in 2005 and won the Grade 1 Ballerina. And last year, St. John’s River ran at Saratoga, finishing fifth to Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Alabama.

“I’ve always come in here with the one horse and run and left,” Leggio said. “I came up two or three weeks with Happy Ticket, St. John’s River, but never did stable up here. This is my first time. It’s nice up here, the weather is good. In the morning, it’s around 60 degrees and in the afternoon, around 85. That’s good, especially when you’re from Louisiana.”

Leggio also has a small division of horses racing at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La.