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Take the Points in doubt for Sword Dancer
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Grade 1 winner Take the Points is suffering from an ankle issue that may force him to miss Saturday’s $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday.
Pletcher was forced to postpone a scheduled Monday workout for Take the Points after the colt wrenched an ankle. Pletcher said Take the Points would have to be able to work by Wednesday in order to make the race.
“We need it to get better quickly,” Pletcher said. “It’s not impossible. Right now, I’d say it’s 40-60. It looks better. If we can work Wednesday, he could still make the Sword Dancer. Otherwise, I’ll see if I can get him ready for the Arlington Million.”
The Arlington Million is scheduled for Aug. 21 and is run at 1 1/4 miles and over a course on which Take the Points won the Grade 1 Secretariat last year as a 3-year-old. Take the Points has yet to run 1 1/2 miles, the distance of the Sword Dancer.
Take the Points is winless in four starts this year, though he was disqualified from first in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Most recently, Take the Points finished second as the favorite in the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth on July 3.
Entries for the Sword Dancer will be taken Wednesday. Among those expected are Telling, last year’s Sword Dancer winner; and Grand Couturier, who won this race in 2007 and 2008. This will be Grand Couturier’s fifth consecutive appearance in the Sword Dancer. Al Khali, Bearpath, Expansion, Interpatation, Spice Route, Grassy, and Romp are expected to enter. Trainer Neil Drysdale is shipping both Marlang and Marsh Side from Southern California but would likely run just one, depending on course condition.
Vosburgh next for Majesticperfection
Majesticperfection, who passed his Grade 1 test winning Sunday’s $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, will make his next start in the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park on Oct. 2.
Majesticperfection won his fifth consecutive race in the Vanderbilt, running six furlongs in 1:08.63 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 115. In his previous race, Majesticperfection won the Iowa Sprint Handicap, running six furlongs in a track record of 1:07.24, earning a 117 Beyer.
“Honestly, we hoped we didn’t waste those fast times without a grade with him being a” stallion prospect, trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We wanted him to reproduce what he had previously done with this much at stake, and I’m very glad he did. We’re not getting better, I think we just stayed the same and hopefully we can maintain that.”
Big Drama, who chased Majesticperfection around the track and held off Bribon by a half-length for second, also is targeting the Vosburgh, according to trainer David Fawkes. Big Drama left Saratoga Monday by van and was headed back to Calder. Fawkes said while he is not looking forward to running against Majesticperfection again, there are very few, if any, six-furlong alternatives on dirt.
“I’d like not to run against that horse, but if you don’t go to Belmont, where do you go?” Fawkes said.
Connie and Michael works toward Alabama
Connie and Michael, who scratched out of the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24 due to a foot abscess, worked six furlongs in 1:13.46 on Monday morning over Saratoga’s main track. Her connections are hoping to get her to the Alabama on Aug. 21.
Connie and Michael flashed early speed in her work, going her first three furlongs in 35.51 seconds under exercise rider Carl Allsop before getting her last three furlongs in 38.95.
“She worked average,” trainer Dominick Schettino said. “You don’t see too many horses finishing on that track today. The track was a little on the deep side.”
Connie and Michael went out about 9:30 a.m. when the track is a little more chopped up from earlier activity.
“We try to miss the mad rush and that compromises how the track is,” Allsop said. “She wasn’t getting a hold of it on the inside, so we went to the three-path where she’s more comfortable. Plus, she’s carrying a little more weight than she carries in the afternoon. She had a right to get tired.”
Connie and Michael finished second to Devil May Care in the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont in June.
On Sunday, Alabama contender Devil May Care worked an easy half-mile in 51.24 seconds over Saratoga’s main track. It was her first breeze since winning the Coaching Club American Oaks by four lengths.
Oh baby, Pletcher’s on a roll
Pletcher ran his total of 2-year-old winners at this meet to seven when Hysterical Cat and Summer Laugh both won their debuts Sunday.
Hysterical Cat, a New York-bred son of Bluegrass Cat, ran five furlongs in 58.26 seconds, winning by 3 1/2 lengths and earning a 68 Beyer. Summer Laugh, a daughter of Distorted Humor out of the Grade 1 winning mare Summer Colony, won by 6 3/4 lengths, running 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.12. She earned a 73 Beyer.
Pletcher said Hysterical Cat would likely be pointed to a pair of New York-bred stakes at Finger Lakes, including the $100,000 Aspirant on Sept. 6 and the $200,000 New York Breeders’ Futurity on Oct. 2.
“That’s the logical thing to do, Bluegrass Cat is off to a great start, we’d love to have a stakes winner by him,’’ said Pletcher, who won the Grade 1 Haskell with Bluegrass Cat in 2006.
Summer Laugh, meanwhile, is a candidate for the Grade 1 Spinaway here Sept. 5.
“I thought she ran well enough and has trained well enough all summer to point for the Spinaway, assuming she continues to progress the same way she has been,” he said.
Overall, Pletcher is 20 for 59 in 2-year-old races this year through Sunday.
Pletcher figures to have the favorite for Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack with Position Limit, a 6 3/4-length debut winner at Belmont on July 14.
Mott wins Waya for third time
Changing Skies, under Kent Desormeaux, waited until the last two furlongs of the 1 1/2 miles to do her running, and run she did, sweeping past Liberally outside the eighth pole on her way to a 2 1/4-length victory in Monday’s $70,000 Signature Stallions Waya Stakes.
Casablanca Smile, whom Changing Skies had been following for most of the race, got up for second by a neck over Gold d’Oro. Liberally and Rcuandry completed the order of finish. Million Seller, Ballynoe, and The Gaillimh Girl scratched.
The winner was trained by Bill Mott, who won this race in 2007 with Nunnery and in 2004 with Bounding Charm.
Changing Skies, a 5-year-old daughter of Sadler’s Wells owned by Swettenham Stud, covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.46 and returned $4.50 as the favorite.