Trainer Lisa Lewis said her filly Rosa Salvaje is good off a layoff.
But before winning Monday’s feature, the inaugural $100,000 Shakespeare Caress, she had never run off a layoff this long.
In an allowance optional claimer Jan. 16 at Gulfstream Park, she ran what Lewis called her best race ever, but came out with a bad foot abscess. Under jockey Alex Solis, Rosa Salvaje showed no ill effects from the layoff, rallying to win by a neck over Holiday for Kitten.
“It took a long time to get her right again,” Lewis said. “But she’s always been a nice filly, she always tries hard, she hardly ever throws in a bad one. We knew she’d come down here and run hard.”
At 19-1, she paid $41.40 to win.
With Rosa Salvaje accustomed to five-furlong turf sprints instead of this 51⁄2-furlong trip, Lewis admitted to being a little nervous as Holiday for Kitten followed her filly through the stretch and past the early leaders.
“She’s won mostly on the lead, so when she lost the lead, I thought, ‘Well, .. .’ But that’s why you have Alex Solis,” she said.
Ballistic Sue and Well Deserved set the early pace, clearing the first quarter-mile in 21.08. Before they got that far, Page Springs broke from the rail and had her saddle slip under rider Oriana Rossi, causing the agitated filly to buck and lose Rossi. Neither horse nor rider were injured.
Trainer Dale Romans had
initially favored keeping 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford from racing until Sept. 1 in the Grade I $500,000 Forego, but has had a change of heart.
Romans told the New York Racing Association he will run in the Grade I $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on Sunday.
“The only thing that would change our plan is if we don’t like the way he is handling the track after he arrives at Saratoga,” Romans said.
The 4-year-old Forestry colt will fly in from Kentucky later this week. He has not raced since winning the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont on May 28. With wins in his last two starts, Shackleford is 5-4-1 from 16 career starts.
The spot is most notable because a win in the six-furlong Forego would make Shackleford the fifth horse since the graded-stakes system was introduced in 1973 to win Grade I races at six furlongs and also at distances longer than 11⁄8 miles. His Preakness victory covered 1 3/16 miles.
The other four horses were Ruffian (six-furlong Spinaway and Sorority in 1974, 11⁄2-mile Coaching Club American Oaks in 1975), Foolish Pleasure (six-furlong Sapling in 1974, 11⁄4-mile Kentucky Derby in 1975 and 1 3/16-mile Suburban in 1976), Precisionist (Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 1985, 11⁄4-mile Swaps in 1984) and Dancing Spree (Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 1989, 11⁄4-mile Suburban in 1989).
WHITNEY DRAW, WORKS
The draw for Saturday’s Grade I $750,000 Whitney will take place in the paddock from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, with the winner earning a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Endorsement breezed five furlongs on the main track in 1:04.52 for trainer Eoin Harty in preparation for the Whitney. In his previous work, he flew five furlongs in a bullet 58.96. Harty said he didn’t want him going quite so fast this time.
Fort Larned worked five furlongs in 58.69 for trainer Ian Wilkes in preparation for the Whitney. It was the second-fastest of 42 works.
For the Grade I $300,000 Prioress, Emma’s Encore worked four furlongs on the main track in 47.53.
THIRD’S THE CHARM
In Thursday’s Grade I $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial, one of two steeplechase races on the day, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Divine Fortune will try to win the race for the third straight year. The previous two years, it was a Grade II race.
The 9-year-old Royal Anthem gelding was second his last time out in the Grade I $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois Hurdle at Percy Warner Park in Nashville.
’DAN’ OUT OF WHITNEY
Successful Dan, winner of multiple Grade II races, has been declared out of the Whitney.
A filling in his left-front pastern has him headed instead to Lexington, Ky., to visit Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.
“I’ve been watching it, and it won’t go down, and it’s a place where he had an injury in ‘09 as a 3-year-old,” trainer Charles Lopresti told NYRA. “He’s not lame or anything; he’s been on the track every day. Even if it’s just a strain, we don’t want to take a chance like that. It’s sad; it’s unfortunate. He’s been plagued with nagging injuries all his life, and we haven’t seen the best of him.”
After beating Grade II winners St. John’s River and Acting Happy in a Thursday allowance optional claimer over 11⁄8 miles, Sea Island is pointing toward the Grade I $600,000 Alabama at 11⁄4 miles on Aug. 18.
“The one thing I do know about [Sea Island] is that she’ll go that far,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey told NYRA. “I’m not too sure some of the other ones want to run that far. The good thing about her is that if she breaks well, she can place herself where a horse like Questing is not going to get away from her. She wouldn’t have so much ground to make up. I’m looking forward to it. She’ll go back to the track [today] and hopefully all systems will be go.”
Sea Island broke her maiden at Aqueduct over a mile on April 13, then won a first-level allowance optional claimer at Belmont Park. She was fourth in the six-furlong Grade III Victory Ride on July 7 at Belmont before impressing at Saratoga.