Updated on 09/17/2011 11:47AM

Statebreds face own tough triple


The Big Apple Triple, which begins next Saturday with the $100,000 Mike Lee at Belmont Park, is proving difficult to win.

The series for 3-year-old New York-breds was created in 1999 when three restricted stakes, the Mike Lee, New York Derby, and Albany, were linked together. The closest a horse has come to winning the Big Apple Triple was in 2000, when Image Maker captured the first two legs.

The seven-furlong Mike Lee is followed by the $125,000-added New York Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race at Finger Lakes on July 26. The final leg is the $150,000 Albany, a 1 1/8-mile race Aug. 20 at Saratoga.

A $250,000 bonus will be paid to the owner of a horse who can sweep the series.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide would have been a strong favorite to win the Big Apple Triple, but as Dennis Brida, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, said, "A horse like Funny Cide has bigger fish to fry."

Funny Cide's summer targets are the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park Aug. 3 and the $1 million Travers at Saratoga Aug. 23.

Among the Big Apple Triple hopefuls are Bossanova, who finished third in the Grade 3 Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland April 6, and Acceptable Venture, who won a seven-furlong first-level allowance race against statebreds by 10 1/4 lengths June 7 at Belmont. In his stakes debut, Acceptable Venture finished second in the Rushaway at Turfway Park on March 22.

"The Big Apple Triple is a good deal, but it's a hard thing to [win]," Brida said. "It should be interesting this year, because there are a lot of New York-breds out there that don't get recognized because other horses have been the focus of attention."

American Chance to stand in Argentina

American Chance, who stood the 2002 breeding season at Questroyal Stud in Hudson, N.Y., will shuttle to Argentina this summer to stand at Haras La Providencia.

American Chance, a 14-year-old son of the late New York sire Cure the Blues, has progeny earnings in excess of $8.1 million from six crops of racing age. Among his stakes winners are Devine Wind, American Halo, and Gregorian Chance.

American Chance, who is out of the Seattle Slew mare American Dance, retired in 1994 after four years of competition with a record of 10-8-4 from 37 starts and earnings of $847,977. His biggest wins came in the Grade 2 Jersey Derby at Garden State Park, the Grade 2 Forego Handicap at Saratoga, and the Grade 3 Lafayette at Keeneland.

State begins certifying horse farms

Buttonwood Farm in Rhinebeck, which is owned by Albert Fried Jr., and Caladon Farm in Saratoga Springs, owned by Don and Carmella Nitchman, are the first New York farms to be certified by the New York State Horse Health Assurance Program.

Both will be identified by a sign provided by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets recognizing them as exceptionally well-managed farms.

To qualify for such a designation, the farms had to complete a lengthy "Certification Self Study" form and be evaluated by a field representative from the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

All New York equine farms are eligible to apply. For more information, contact Dr. Lyda Denney at (315) 829-4282.

Saratoga sale seeks nominations

Nominations close on July 25 for the inaugural fall mixed Thoroughbred sale in Saratoga Springs on Oct. 11.

Jeffrey T. Minton of J.T. Minton Auctions will conduct the sale, which will feature weanlings, yearlings, broodmares, horses of racing age, and selected seasons and shares.

To nominate to the sale, call J.T. Minton Auctions at (518) 587-3169.