07/28/2010 3:48PM

Weathered back with N.Y.-breds in Fleet Indian


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The last time Weathered raced at Saratoga, it was against Grade 1 competition last summer in the Go For Wand Handicap and Personal Ensign. When the hard-knocking mare returns to the Spa on Friday, she’ll find the opposition far less formidable taking on fellow New York-breds in the $70,000 Fleet Indian Stakes.

Weathered ran a respectable fourth behind Seventh Street in the Go For Wand and led to the far turn before fading to finish a well-beaten fifth in the Personal Ensign here one year ago. But she rebounded to capture a pair of statebred stakes at Belmont and Aqueduct and finish a good sixth following a slow start in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap, before tailing off a bit earlier this spring.

“She went off her form following the Barbara Fritchie, so we turned her out on the farm, freshened her up, and she’s ready to run again,” trainer Karl Grusmark said. “She’s training very well, and this looks like a good start to bring her back. We took a shot with her last summer in those two Grade 1’s, since we knew it would enhance her value if she could get lucky and hit the board in one of those races.”

The fastest member of the field is Meese Rocks who returned from a four-month layoff to beat open, optional claiming company at Monmouth Park on June 27. The victory was the fifth in the last seven starts for the speedy daughter of Rock and Roll, each of those wins coming with jockey Jorge Chavez aboard.

The key question Friday is whether Meese Rocks can carry her speed seven furlongs, something she has yet to accomplish during her 13-race career.

Trainer Michael Ferraro, like Grusmark, will ship over from Finger Lakes with a pair of contenders for the Fleet Indian, Sweet Lorena and Lovely Daniella.

Sweet Lorena owns a decided edge over the field in recent Beyer Speed Figures, although her best races dating back to last summer have come over the artificial surface at Presque Isle Downs and she also is unproven at seven furlongs.

Shine Upon returns to statebred company after suffering her first setback in four career starts against second-level optional claiming foes last month at Belmont Park. Shine Upon showed her affinity for the local surface when working a bullet five furlongs one week ago.

First post Friday is 2:30 p.m.