SARATOGA SPRINGS — Trainer Christophe Clement stood for a post-race TV interview on Friday, then tried to pull a closing kick equivalent to his horse’s finish away from the waiting media.
“Listen, he ran well, Joel Rosario, life is good, see you later,” he said.
Not so fast.
Stopped for further comment, Clement praised the trip charted by his favorite jockey, Rosario, that allowed the New York-bred City Man to pull out a 2 3/4-length win at betting odds of 12-1 in the Grade III Forbidden Apple at a mile on the inner turf course at Saratoga Race Course.
The victory had an added twist of appeal for Clement, since he trained Forbidden Apple, a four-time graded stakes winner who took the Grade I Manhattan at Belmont Park in 2001.
“It was very unlucky last time, he was always trapped. Today, it worked out. Great trip,” Clement said. “He’s been a bit unlucky lately, so it was fun to have a good trip and he won well. It’s fun to win the Forbidden Apple, because I did train Forbidden Apple.”
“I was very comfortable,” Rosario said. “For a second, I was between horses passing the three-eighths, but he was handling everything fine. He put in a good run today.”
City Man, who beat open company in a stakes race for the second time this year, was coming off a traffic-troubled seventh in the Kingston for New York-breds on May 30.
Prior to that, he lost by 18 lengths on a yielding turf in the Grade II Fort Marcy at Belmont.
“The ground killed him [in the Fort Marcy]. Also, he just had no racing luck whatsoever in his last race,” Clement said.
“Turning for home when we started moving, I got lucky and got out in front of them,” Rosario said. “Chad’s horse [Public Sector, trained by Chad Brown] was outside me, and it looked like every time I asked him [City Man] to do something, he was moving forward.
“Sometimes, he’s a funny horse, but he was OK with that [traffic] today. He did great.”
Trainer Jonathan Thomas liked this spot for his filly Empress Tigress.
He liked it even better when the clear favorite, Twilight Gleaming, scratched, and even better still when Empress Tigress won the Coronation Cup by a half-length on the Forbidden Apple undercard.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Empress Tigress backed up her nice career debut win at Woodbine on May 22 with a stakes win at Saratoga.
With the scratch of Twilight Gleaming, the Coronation Cup lost the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
“We were kind of waiting to bring her up here because I loved the five and a half [furlongs] aspect of this race, so it was the right time,” Thomas said. “The scratch definitely reinforced staying in for sure. A filly like Twilight Gleaming coming out made it an easier decision to stay in. She [Empress Tigress] was training well and you only get these opportunities so many times, so you have to take advantage of them.”
“This is the first time on the grass, and she definitely loved the grass,” Velazquez said.
SECRET OATH WORKS
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas sent Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath out for a breeze in preparation for the July 23 Coaching Club American Oaks, and she went five furlongs in 1:00.01 on the Oklahoma Training Track with jockey Luis Saez in the irons.
“It was an excellent work,” Lukas told the New York Racing Association. “Luis was real pleased with it, too. I couldn’t have asked for a prettier work. She got a tremendous run into it. I wanted her to get a good run at the [five-eighths] pole, so she worked probably five and a half furlongs.”
As smoothly as Secret Oath’s work went, Saez had an adventure on his hands when he later attempted to breeze Ethereal Road, who is pointing to the Jim Dandy on July 30, for Lukas.
Ethereal Road worked in company with Major Blue, and Major Blue was the only one who emerged from the fog on the second turn.
“When he got to the fog, Luis said he went to the outside fence on him, so he pulled him up,” Lukas said. “He’s fine and jogged back. He can pull that kind of stuff. He’s got a bit of an attitude.
“He got maybe three-eighths [of a mile], so I’ll give him a few days and take him back over there. We’re still pointing for the Jim Dandy.”
PICK 6 CARRYOVER
Through two days of racing, no one has hit the Pick 6, so there is a double carryover of $532,907 into Saturday’s card.
Friday’s $1 Pick 6 returned $1,527 for bettors who selected five of six winners correctly.
Only three horses were covered in the final leg, but the winner of the 10th race, Khali Magic, was not among them.
Saturday’s Pick 6 sequence begins in race 6 at 3:55 p.m.
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Categories: At The Track, Sports