At least one horse that finished in the money in the Haskell Invitational Sunday is a good bet to run in the Travers Stakes later this month at Saratoga Race Course.
While the racing world awaits the next move for Triple crown and Haskell winner American Pharoah, the Aug. 29 Travers is the likely next race for Haskell third-place finisher Upstart, trainer Rick Violette told the New York Racing Association.
The Haskell was Upstart’s first race since a shocking last-place finish in the Kentucky Derby’s field of 18.
“I think we can move forward for the Travers; the pace will be a little bit different, as well,” Violette said. “We made the decision to run [in the Haskell], but it would have been interesting to run in [the Jim Dandy]; the race shape was totally different. I think we would have been on the bridle [in the Jim Dandy], just off the pace, and we might have had something to say. If that’s the group that shows up for the Travers, I think we’ll have some fun.”
Moving a giveaway day to Monday — usually a lightly attended day at the track — off a weekend paid off in a big way for NYRA, as paid attendance was announced at 34,597. Duffel bags were given away at the track.
Lady Shipman continued her winning ways with a dominating 3 1⁄4-length victory in the $100,000 Coronation Cup.
Back in against fellow 3-year-old fillies after beating older horses in her previous start, Lady Shipman ran 51⁄2 furlongs in 1:00.85, two-tenths of a second off the inner turf course record.
Ridden by Eduardo Nunez for trainer Kathleen O’Connell, Lady Shipman paid $3.40, $2.70 and $2.40 as the 3-5 favorite in a field of nine.
In the co-feature, African Oil swept from last to first on the far turn and held on to win the rescheduled $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes by 1 3⁄4 lengths over Selection Sunday. Originally carded for July 30, the 2 1⁄16-mile steeplechase event was postponed due to heavy rain.
She’ll be back
Thieves Guild, winner of Sunday’s $100,000 Caress, may run again at Saratoga. According to NYRA, trainer Jimmy Toner said Monday morning that he’ll look at the $100,000 Smart N Fancy for fillies and mares 3-and-up on Aug. 30. The turf race is the same 51⁄2 furlongs as the Caress.
“We’ll just wait and see. There’s one at the end of the month if I want to run her back,” Toner said. “We’ve just got to plot out a course for her.”
Lea, from Claiborne Farm and trainer Bill Mott, went four furlongs in 49.68 seconds on the main track Monday morning in preparation of Saturday’s Grade I $1.25 million Whitney.
Lea began his 6-year-old season taking the Grade III Hal’s Hope on Jan. 10 at Gulfstream Park.
“He was good; he was very good,” Mott said. “He worked normal, kind of what we expected and wanted. It’s all we were looking for, real smooth. He’s still on track for the Whitney. That’s the plan.”
The drawing for the Whitney will be held at 6 tonight.
Meanwhile, Mott said Japan, which finished third in the Jim Dandy, will be nominated for the Travers.
Trainer Adam Rice had his first-ever starter Sunday at Saratoga — Don’t Be Salty in the sixth. Aboard — His sister, Taylor Rice.
Don’t Be So Salty, a son of Tiz Wonderful, broke well. As the field of 2-year-old turf sprinters rounded the turn, Don’t Be So Salty hugged the rail, still a few lengths off a torrid pace, but Rice guided him into the clear. At the wire, Taylor Rice had her first win of the meet, while her brother had his first win ever here.
“It was a dream come true,” said Adam Rice. “It’s still pretty surreal; I’m just excited that it worked out. I was just hoping to send a horse to Saratoga and not get embarrassed. He ran his eyeballs out.”
Rice is the nephew of trainer Linda Rice.
“My aunt has been right there beside me,” he said. ”I come to her a lot, and after he worked at Saratoga, I asked her for advice. She told me to trust my instincts.”
Longtime New York-based jockey Mike Luzzi has been given the OK by doctors to return to riding. Luzzi, the Eclipse Award winner for outstanding apprentice rider in 1989, was sidelined after suffering a broken leg and pelvis in a paddock accident at Aqueduct in November.
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