On Sunday, Overdriven proved that he wasn’t overrated.
On Wednesday, J C’s Pride showed that he shouldn’t be overlooked.
Coming off a 3 1⁄2-length loss to Overdriven in a maiden race at Belmont park, J C’s Pride rolled to a track record of 56.54 for five furlongs in the third race at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Bob Barbara declined to stick J C’s Pride in a stakes race off that first good maiden race, but now, he said, he has to consider putting the son of Henny Hughes in the Grade I Hopeful on closing day.
If that’s the case, he could run into Overdriven again, after the Repole Stable colt easily won the Grade II Sanford on Sunday.
“I don’t know. The Hopeful’s seven-eighths, right? It’s something we’ve got to think about,” Barbara said.
“Nice horse. Very nice horse. I wanted him to break his maiden the right way, and he did it the right way today. We’ll take our next step from here.”
J C’s Pride’s single past-performance line jumped off the page, with Overdriven’s name on there. J C’s Pride dropped as low as 1-9 on the toteboard, and he went off at 1-4.
Henny Hughes retired a lightly raced, but accomplished, sprinter who won the Saratoga Special as a 2-year-old and the King’s Bishop at 3 at Saratoga.
Still, Barbara isn’t counting out the possibility that Henny Hughes’ son could stretch out longer than seven furlongs.
“His first race, he [Lezcano] sent him out of there,” Barbara said. “Even though he went 21, and 22 in New York, and he did it easy. He said if he was bearing down on him at the eighth pole, he would’ve went 55. That’s what the jock told me. I’m glad he didn’t.
“Even though he ran second to that horse the other day, it didn’t matter. He got a lot of good experience. It was beautiful, as good as it gets. We’ll go from here.”
The five-furlong record on the main track had been 56.71, set by Fabulous Force on Aug. 18, 1993.
Lisa’s Booby Trap, winner of last year’s Loudonville Stakes, worked a half-mile in a bullet 46.22 on the main track in preparation for Monday’s $75,000 Rachel Alexandra at seven furlongs.
The move, under jockey Dennis Carr, was the fastest of 34 at the distance.
Owned and trained by Tim Snyder, Lisa’s Booby Trap drew national attention last year when she came to Saratoga having won three straight at Finger Lakes, remaining undefeated with a six-length victory as the 3-2 favorite. She was 10th in the Riskaverse on the turf later in the meet, and closed out her 3-year-old campaign with a third-place finish at Finger Lakes.
Given six months off over the winter, Lisa’s Booby Trap — whose name was inspired in part by Snyder’s late wife, who died of ovarian cancer in 2003 — has won two of her three 2011 starts, all at Finger Lakes.
“She’s filled out since last year,” Snyder told the New York Racing Association. “Last year, she was kind of gangly. She’s just kind of peaking now. I think she should be undefeated this year, but for racing luck. But things happen.”
Snyder said if the 4-year-old Drewman filly runs well in the Rachel Alexandra, he would think about starting her in the Grade I Ballerina on Travers Day.
FROM THE FREEZER
Ice Box, runner-up in the 2010 Kentucky Derby and unraced since last October, will return to action Friday in a stakes-caliber allowance optional claimer at Saratoga.
“He’s obviously coming back after a lengthy period of time, and he’s doing very, very well,” trainer Nick Zito said. “We’re hoping he can regain some of his old >form. That would be nice, you know?”
Before finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, Ice Box won the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. After the runner-up finish by 21⁄2 lengths to Super Saver, he ran three times, never better than his fifth-place finish in his final race of the year, the Monmouth Cup on Oct. 9.
He had a chip removed from his knee and took time to get back into form, with what Zito described as a minor interruption during his training in Florida.
The third race on the card, it has filled with top-quality competition. There will be no easing back into form for Ice Box, who will be facing Convocation, Ron the Greek, Anak Nakal, Wilkinson and Northern Giant.
“This is Saratoga. That race is a stakes race,” Zito said. “Anywhere else, it would be a stakes race. It’s just, it’s Saratoga. That’s what makes it so special, so tough. I thought, let’s see how he does, and we’ll go from there.”
WIN FOR EPONA
The Capital Region-based Epona Racing Stable got its third Saratoga win since the partnership was formed, when Australis Princess held on in the seventh race at a mile and a sixteenth on the Mellon Turf Course.
“For local guys, it doesn’t get any better than this,” said Epona managing partner Brian Culnan, a Saratoga Springs attorney.
Epona co-owns Australis Princess with Clyde Jasinski and NRB Racing Stable.
It was her fourth start since being claimed in January.
“We claimed her thinking we’d keep her freshened up, get her ready for the turf,” Culnan said. “Last time, she had a tough race with a lot of speed in it, and we were fortunate when the other filly scratched out today so we could get loose on the lead. She won that way last year for her old connections.”