SARATOGA SPRINGS — As Saratoga Race Course heads into the second weekend of graded stakes, fields for the Week 3 stakes are beginning to take shape.
Although much of the attention will be on possible Travers horses in the Grade II Jim Dandy on Saturday, July 27, that card will also feature Mitole, one of the top horses in training in North America, in the Grade I A.G. Vanderbilt.
Trainer Luis Carvajal is weighing whether to tackle Mitole with Imperial Hint, who won the A.G. Vanderbilt last year, or waiting until Aug. 9 to run against lesser company in the Tale of the Cat.
“I think I’m a little short on time, and I want to make sure he’s fit enough,” Carvajal told the New York Racing Association. “I need to discuss with the owner, so not 100% sure where we’ll run yet.”
Imperial Hint last raced in March, when he shipped overseas for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. He was third behind X Y Jet.
Besides Met Mile winner Mitole, Diamond Oops, Firenze Fire, Mr. Crow and Strike Power are listed as probable by NYRA, and Imperial Hint, Heartwood, Recruiting Ready and Sweetontheladies are possible.
Probable for the Jim Dandy are Preakness winner War of Will, Tacitus, Global Campaign, Highest Honors, Laughing Fox and Tax. Highest Honors may run in the Curlin on July 26, instead.
That card will also include the Grade II Bowling Green, for which the probables are three from trainer Chad Brown — Focus Group, Olympico and Ya Primo — along with Admission Office, Argonne, Bigger Picture, Highland Sky, Hunter O’Riley, Sadler’s Joy and Zulu Alpha.
Sadler’s Joy has finished third in the Bowling Green the last two years, but used that as a steppingstone to a victory in the Sword Dancer in 2017.
The New York Racing Association will be keeping an eye on the forecast for this weekend, especially Saturday, when Saratoga Springs could be hit with a heat index in triple digits.
Delaware Park in Oceanport, N.J., has already canceled Saturday’s, in light of a National Weather Service forecast of temperatures in the 90s and a heat index approaching 110.
The cancellation came upon the recommendation of the Chief Commission Veterinarian of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.
The last time NYRA cancelled a card due to heat and humidity was Aug. 2, 2006.
Because of heavy rain, the first race on Wednesday’s card, a steeplechase allowance, was cancelled.
It will be made up as the first race on Sunday’s card, with a 12:30 p.m. post time.
Another horse was euthanized due to a training injury.
According to the New York State Gaming Commission’s Equine Breakdown, Death, Injury and Incident Database, Total Fidelity, an unraced 2-year-old trained by Tom Morley, broke her left front leg Sunday and was euthanized. Equibase.com lists her as having completed a timed four-furlong work on the Oklahoma Training Track.
There has been one death due to a racing injury, after Fight Night suffered a broken leg just past the wire while finishing second in the last race in Friday’s card.
Two horses died because of training incidents before the meet started, and another died of non-racing causes.
Besides Fight Night and Total Fidelity, one other horse stabled on Saratoga grounds has died since the July 11 opening day of the meet. On Monday, Overlord, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Gary Contessa, was euthanized after developing gastro-intestinal complications following surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Saratoga.
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