Updated on 09/17/2011 12:13PM

Velazquez takes cue from Cordero


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In his day, Angel Cordero was the undisputed king of Saratoga, winning 11 consecutive riding titles and 14 overall. But even Cordero could not do what his protege John Velazquez has done at this meet.

When Velazquez won Sunday's second race aboard Read the Footnotes, it was his 42nd win of the meet. That eclipsed Manny Ycaza's record of 41 wins during a 24-day meet, set in 1959. Velazquez went on to win two more races Sunday and one on Monday to finish the first 24 days of the meet with 45 victories from 147 mounts.

"I think it's a great accomplishment," said Velazquez, who is represented by Cordero. "I think it makes [Cordero] proud too."

Velazquez now can set his sights on Jerry Bailey's single-meet record 55 wins set in 2001.

"If Todd keeps rolling the way he is, I might hit 60," Velazquez said, referring to trainer Todd Pletcher, who has a Saratoga meet-record 30 wins and for whom Velazquez rides first call. "That would be a huge accomplishment. I'm not pointing to it. If it happens, it happens. I would be happy to hit 50."

Cordero, who retired in 1992, said he had always targeted Ycaza's record. But the best he could do was win 36 races in 1967.

With 45 wins, Velazquez is 14 ahead of Jerry Bailey with 12 days left in the meet. Velazquez won the 1998 Saratoga title, but only because Mike Smith missed the final seven days after being injured.

Three-year-old filly title up for grabs

With the disappointing performances of Spoken Fur and Bird Town in Saturday's Alabama Stakes, the 3-year-old filly crown is suddenly up for grabs.

While Bird Town and Spoken Fur remain the front-runners, the Test winner, Lady Tak, and the Alabama winner, Island Fashion, must be considered in the mix as well.

Trainer Bobby Frankel said Spoken Fur, who won the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, could make her next start on turf in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 7.

"I think she's got a good style for the turf," Frankel said.

Bird Town, who won the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn, stepped on herself in the Alabama but was not injured, according to trainer Nick Zito. Zito said Bird Town did bleed a little bit, though.

Zito said Bird Town would probably run one more time this year, but he was not sure which race. The Gazelle, on Sept. 6, may be too close, Zito said.

"We're probably going to look for one major race," Zito said. "I don't know which one, but there's enough around. I'm going to have to run huge in it."

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Lady Tak, said Saturday's result has him thinking his filly has a chance to be divisional champion. Asmussen has Lady Tak nominated to Sunday's seven-furlong Ballerina, but he is leaning more to running her in the nine-furlong Gazelle. On Monday, she worked five furlongs in 1:01.74.

"We need to run in a place that gives her the opportunity to be 3-year-old champion," Asmussen said. "It's possibly going to be necessary to prove herself over a mile and an eighth in a Grade 1 race. If we can win the Gazelle, it'll put everything into whoever finishes the year out the best."

Trainer Barclay Tagg said he would point Island Fashion to the Gazelle, but was somewhat concerned about running her back in three weeks. "I'd rather have that four or five weeks away," Tagg said.

Frankel unhappy with Wild Spirit's assignment

Trainer Bobby Frankel has been pointing Wild Spirit to Friday's Grade 1, $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap since she won the Delaware Handicap on July 20. But after the weights came out, Frankel said he might switch gears and run Sightseek instead.

Frankel was upset that Wild Spirit, who is 2 for 2 in this country, picked up five pounds off her Delaware Handicap victory and must carry 122. What infuriated him more is that she was assigned 121 for the July 27 Go for Wand and essentially picked up a pound for not running. Meanwhile, Sightseek, the 11 1/2-length winner of the Go for Wand, picked up two pounds from that victory and was assigned highweight of 123 pounds. Racing secretary Mike Lakow assigns the weights.

"I don't understand how she picked up a pound for not running,' Frankel said. "Have you ever heard of anyone picking up five pounds before? Sightseek was weighted right because [Lakow] didn't know I was going to run."

A short field is expected for the Personal Ensign, run at 1 1/4 miles. Summer Colony, who won this race last year, will carry 120 pounds. Miss Linda (114) and Passing Shot (111) are the only other definites. Annatoga (112) is possible.

Trainer Mark Hennig is in search of a rider for Summer Colony after learning that Gary Stevens, injured in a spill in the Arlington Million, will be out for about one month.

Johnson: No plans for Volponi

Trainer Phil Johnson said Volponi, who finished second in Saturday's Saratoga Breeders' Cup, came out of the race in good order, but that he has not decided where the horse would run next. Johnson said Volponi was bumped by Blue Boat at the head of the stretch Saturday.

Johnson had previously said he would look at the Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 3. On Monday, Johnson said he had not ruled out trying Volponi on the turf, where he is a multiple graded stakes winner.

Meanwhile, trainer Allen Jerkens said he had not decided where the Saratoga Cup winner, Puzzlement, would make his next start. "I haven't thought about anything," Jerkens said. "I'm still enjoying the race.'

Jimmy Jerkens, trainer of the Saratoga Cup's third-place finisher, Iron Deputy, would be pointed to the Woodward on Sept. 6.

Speaking of the Woodward, Mineshaft, the Pimlico Special and Suburban winner, worked five furlongs in 1:01.11 Sunday over the main track as he gets ready for the Woodward.

Harlan's Holiday's retirement near-certain

Harlan's Holiday, who finished last in Saturday's $300,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap, tore his medial suspensory branch in his right hind leg during the race. After discovering the injury immediately after the race, trainer Pletcher said the 4-year-old would probably be retired to stud, and that the announcement was "just a formality."

"He's on anti-inflammatories, and he is comfortable," Pletcher said. "He's been walking 45 minutes in the morning and a half-hour in the afternoon. He jogs sound."

Pletcher said Harlan's Holiday, owned by Jack Wolf's Starlight Stable, was to be retired at the end of the year.

Wolf said Monday that Harlan's Holiday's leg would be scanned again, and that it looks unlikely he will return to racing

Tweedside 50-50 for Ballston Spa

Tweedside worked on the Oklahoma grass course on Monday for Pletcher, who said the mare is 50-50 to run in Saturday's $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Tweedside, working in company with stakes winner Ocean Drive, covered a half-mile in 49.96 seconds over a firm course. Ocean Drive, whose time was 49.98, is being pointed to the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 7.

Pletcher said Tweedside has been fighting a foot bruise and he wants to wait a couple days before committing to the Grade 3 Ballston Spa. Entries for the grass race will be taken Wednesday.

Raging Fever third

Grade 1 winner Raging Fever finished third as the 6-5 favorite in a money allowance race that served as the feature on Monday's card.

It was the fourth consecutive loss for Raging Fever, who won the Grade 3 Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct in April.

Literary Light, who broke through the gate and survived a speed duel with Lilah, won the race by a head over Lilah. It was a half-length back to Raging Fever, who raced in third position throughout the six-furlong race.

* Jockey Richard Migliore was struck in the face by Positively Wild, his mount in Monday's sixth race, who reared at the start of the race. Positively Wild left the gate far behind the field and was pulled up. Migliore took off his remaining mount in the last race.

* Jerry Bailey, who took off his mounts on Sunday and Monday, is expected to return on Wednesday, his agent, Ron Anderson said. Bailey is named on four mounts Wednesday.

* Jorge Chavez took off his last two mounts on Monday because he was suffering from a migraine.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson