07/21/2008 11:00PM

Two biggies square off in Sanford


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It'll be the big speed figure versus the big price tag when Notonthesamepage meets Desert Party in Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford Stakes for juveniles at Saratoga.

Notonthesamepage, a son of Catienus, finished third in his debut over Keeneland's Polytrack on April 4, but came back 26 days later to win a Churchill Downs maiden race by three lengths, running 4 1/2 furlongs in a track-record 50.12 seconds. He earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest figure assigned to a 2-year-old this year.

"He looked like right from the start he wasn't the greatest, but with every work he'd get better and better and better," said Wesley Ward, who trains Notonthesamepage for owner/breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey. "That's what happened in his two races. We got to Keeneland, I expected him to win and he got flat outrun. He moved forward from that race and he just exploded in that second race. Since the race, we planned for the Sanford. He's done everything right."

Notonthesamepage is working sensationally for his first start in 85 days, firing two bullet works over the Saratoga main track, including five furlongs in 58.43 seconds July 17.

At $2.1 million, Desert Party was the sale topper at February's Fasig-Tipton selected 2-year-olds in training sale at Calder. He was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley Stable and turned over to trainer Eoin Harty. Desert Party won his debut by 3 3/4 lengths over Arlington Park's Polytrack, overcoming post 10 in the 11-horse field. He ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.97 seconds and earned a 71 Beyer.

"His debut was visually impressive," Harty said. "I don't think the time was outstanding, but he did it from the 10-hole, which is virtually impossible to win from at Arlington."

Harty doesn't see making the transition from the synthetic track to Saratoga's dirt track as an issue. Desert Party worked five furlongs in 1:00.07 on the main track Saturday.

"I don't think that'll be as big a question as the competition he's facing," said Harty, whose horse will be ridden by Edgar Prado from post 3.

Bobby Frankel purchased Vineyard Haven privately after that son of Lido Palace won his debut on June 28 at Calder for owner/trainer Lynne Scace. Frankel, who sold part of the colt to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, said he would look at the field before deciding to run.

Dagnabit, winner of the Tremont, and maiden winners Bullion Cache, Officer Ipod and Phosphorescent complete the field.