Saratoga: Lukas mapping out new course

He missed in the $1.5 million Grade I Whitney, but on Aug. 30, reigning Travers champion Will Take C

He missed in the $1.5 million Grade I Whitney, but on Aug. 30, reigning Travers champion Will Take Charge will make another bid to return to the winner’s enclosure in the Grade I Woodward.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said last year’s champion 3-year-old was in good shape exiting his third-place finish in the Whitney, and is ready to come back for another run at Saratoga Race Course.

“He came out of the race well,” Lukas told the New York Racing Association. “We’ve got to get a better trip and a different scenario, but the horse is doing super.”

After the Whitney draw, which landed Will Take Charge on the rail, Lukas had said he wasn’t thrilled with his post position. On Thursday, he said the dirt that was kicked in Will Take Charge’s face as he had to work for position didn’t help, either.

“He’s got that big, white strip on his face, and you couldn’t even tell what color he was when he pulled up,” Lukas said. “He took a lot of flack.”


The field for the $100,000 Birdstone, covering 13⁄4 miles on the dirt, was strung out down the stretch with no horse closer than 7 1⁄4 lengths from another.

Micromanage, the 1-2 favorite trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, spent nearly two minutes just behind pacesetter Irsaal before showing some great reserve energy. Micromanage went on to win by 81⁄2 lengths, Irsaal coming across second and 15 1⁄2 lengths in front of third-place Slim Shadey.

“We always felt like he was a horse that would handle the longer distance,” Pletcher said.

Micromanage returned $3.00, $2.50 and $2.10 in the win under jockey Javier Castellano. Irsaal paid $4.50 and $2.90, while Slim Shadey paid $2.90.

“The main thing Javier and I talked about was getting him into a nice, comfortable gallop, in a nice rhythm,” Pletcher said.

He was so pleased with the long-distance ability of Micromanage that he may try him on the turf.

“One thing we’ve kicked around is trying him on the grass at some point,” he said. “There’s a lot more opportunities on the turf at these distances, so at some point, we might give that a whirl.”


An on-line auction offering a weekend package at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 will benefit Equine Advocates, which is home to more than 80 rescued equines at its farm in Chatham.

The weekend includes three nights at a luxury apartment in Saratoga from Aug. 29 through Aug. 31, a round of golf, a golf cart and lunch at Saratoga Golf and Polo Club on Aug. 30 or Sept. 1, and a clubhouse box at the finish line at Saratoga for the 123rd running of the Spinaway Stakes on Aug. 31.

To make a bid, go to items/601202. Bidding ends on Aug. 20th at 1 p.m.


Cat Feathers won the Mrs. Ogden Phipps steeplechase stakes for the second time, having also won it in 2012.

The 6-year-old mare stayed within a couple lengths of the pacesetting Brillant Match through the first 1 1⁄2 miles of the 2 1⁄16-mile race, then pulled slowly away through the last 4 1⁄2 furlongs to win by 3 3⁄4 lengths.

Cat Feathers returned $10.80, $5.50 and $3.40 in the win. Kisser N Run finished second and paid $3.50 and $2.70, while Brilliant Match dropped to third to pay $2.90 to show.


Mechanicville’s Chad Brown will send out Bobby’s Kitten for today’s Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame after the 3-year-old lost touch early with the leaders in the Grade I Belmont Derby on July 5, then made a move, but failed to fire in the stretch. He previously had won the $500,000 Penn Mile.

The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame is 1 1⁄2 furlongs shorter than the 1 1⁄4-mile Belmont Derby was.

“It was too far for him,” Brown said. “Once it was apparent the horse wasn’t going to be effective at a mile and a quarter, Javier [Castellano] took care of the horse and got him back. He’s been training real well since, and I think this race fits him good.” . . .

Trainer Dallas Stewart will work Unbridled Forever, the runner-up in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks, this morning in preparation for a return in the Grade I Alabama on Aug. 16. Saturday, he will send out Commanding Curve to breeze for the first time since a fourth-place finish in the Grade II Jim Dandy, beginning his training up to the $1.25 million Grade I Travers on Aug. 23. He is talking to owner Charles Fipke about the possibility of moving 2013 Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul to the turf.

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