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Street Cry to skip Suburban and wait for Whitney
ELMONT, N.Y. - Street Cry, whose authoritative victory in the Stephen Foster Handicap put him atop the handicap division, will skip next Saturday's $500,000 Suburban Handicap and instead point to the $750,000 Whitney Handicap on Aug. 3 at Saratoga, his connections said Thursday.
The Suburban also lost Grade 1 winner Include, who is also being pointed to the Whitney, according to trainer Bud Delp.
Tom Albertrani, the assistant trainer for Godolphin Racing, said Street Cry - who also won the Dubai World Cup - would probably do better with more than three weeks between starts. Also, the Whitney is a Grade 1 compared to the Grade 2 status of the Suburban.
"It does come up a little quicker than you'd probably like, that's why we're considering the Whitney," said Albertrani, noting that the Whitney is seven weeks from the Stephen Foster. "He's doing fine. We're just going to take one race at a time with him and just try to make a program after the Whitney to get to the Breeders' Cup."
Albertrani said E Dubai, who finished fourth in the Brooklyn Handicap, could run in the Suburban. On Thursday, he worked five furlongs in 1:00.02, the fastest of 12 works at the distance.
"It's a possibility," Albertrani said. "We still think maybe the horse might be better at a mile and an eighth and a mile and a quarter might be stretching him a little bit."
From Maryland, Delp said that there is nothing amiss with Include, who finished third in the Massachusetts Handicap, but he'd just prefer to wait for the Whitney.
"He's fine," Delp said. "We're thinking about the Whitney depending on who's in there and how it's going to shape up. Our main objective is the Breeders' Cup and we want to have a fresh horse for that."
Street Cry's defection frees up Jerry Bailey to ride Lido Palace in the Suburban.
With Street Cry and Include out of the Suburban, the field is expected to be comprised of Macho Uno, Lido Palace, Evening Attire, Seeking Daylight, Country Be Gold, and possibly E Dubai and Saint Verre.
England's Legend returns in New York 'Cap
England's Legend, who has not been out since finishing 11th as the 5-2 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, will seek to defend her New York Handicap title in the 59th running of that race on Thursday.
Her victory in last year's New York Handicap as well as the Beverly D. - and a solid second-place finish to Lailani in the Flower Bowl - vaulted her to favorite status in the Breeders' Cup. After setting the pace for the first mile, England's Legend tired to finish 11th in the 12-horse field.
"She was over the top by then," trainer Christophe Clement said. "She had a great year until then."
Bailey will ride England's Legend in the New York Handicap.
Clement said he would also run Volga in the New York Handicap. Volga, who ran fifth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, made a successful 4-year-old debut, winning a third-level allowance race here on June 13.
Both England's Legend and Volga worked on the turf Thursday. England's Legend went five furlongs in 1:01.25, Volga a half-mile in 52.02.
Others expected to run in the New York Handicap, run at 1 1/4 miles, are Golden Corona, Janet, Owsley, and Tweedside.
Express Tour returns in Tom Fool
Express Tour, unraced since a 10th-place finish in last October's Breeders' Cup Mile, will make his 4-year-old debut in Thursday's $150,000, Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap.
The last time Express Tour raced over Belmont's main track, he won the Jerome Handicap by 5 1/2 lengths in September. Albertrani said Express Tour wasn't doing well when he returned to Dubai following the Breeders' Cup.
"He wasn't training very good when he got there," he said. "He always took time to acclimate when he shipped. He did well leading up to the [Kentucky] Derby, but after that he fell apart on us. It took him awhile for him get good again. Right now, he looks very good."
On June 19, Express Tour drilled six furlongs in 1:11.02 out of the gate. He came back Thursday with an easy half-mile in 53.02 seconds.
Others pointing for the Tom Fool are Affirmed Success, Appealing Danger, Left Bank, Southland Blues, and Summer Note.
Forbidden Apple in Poker
Clement will also have a strong hand in the Poker Handicap when he sends out Forbidden Apple in the one-mile turf race. Forbidden Apple is 7-3-1 from 13 starts over Belmont's turf course. He has earned $1,035,060 of his career $1,134,860 at Belmont.
Forbidden Apple is coming off a second-place finish behind Beat Hollow in the Manhattan Handicap, his first start of the year.
"I thought he ran a great race," Clement said, adding that the Bobby Frankel-trained Beat Hollow "had first run on me and Bobby's horse could be the best turf horse in the country."
On Thursday, Forbidden Apple breezed a half-mile in 49.85 seconds over Belmont's turf course.
Others pointing to the Poker are Shibboleth, Navesink, Volponi, and possibly Stratton, Capsized, and Catchy Word.
Tremont moved to accommodate jockeys
Saturday's Tremont Stakes was carded as the fifth race (3:04 p.m. post) to enable jockeys Jorge Chavez and John Velazquez to ride in the Molly Pitcher Handicap at Monmouth Park (5:08 post).
Chavez will ride Desert Warrior and Velazquez will ride Hussar in the Tremont. Both riders - and trainer D. Wayne Lukas - will then take a 20-minute helicopter ride to Monmouth, where Chavez will ride Spain and Velazquez gets on Summer Colony in the Molly Pitcher. The riders must be in the Monmouth Park jocks' room an hour before post.
Lukas, who trains Desert Warrior and Spain, will accompany the two jocks to Monmouth.
The estimated cost of the roundtrip is $2,500. Velazquez will pay a third and Lukas will pick up the remaining two-thirds.
Aqueduct open for training during Spa
For the first time, Aqueduct's dirt tracks will be open for training during the Saratoga meet. Normally, during Saratoga, the horses stabled at Aqueduct transfer to Belmont so that maintenance work can be done at Aqueduct.
This year, New York Racing Association officials have more work to do on barns at Belmont, so Aqueduct will house 350 to 400 horses.