A series of enhanced security protocols have been announced for the Grade I $1 million Travers on Aug. 25 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
“The Travers Stakes is the highest-profile race of the world-class Saratoga meet and will be conducted with integrity and high standards for equine safety,” board chairman John Sabini said in the statement. “These protocols, which will help ensure that horses are kept safe and secure prior to the race, were put in place in consultation with equine safety experts, prominent trainers and track management.”
Horses participating in the Travers must be on the grounds Aug. 22; horses will have out-of-competition blood testing taken Aug. 22; horses will stay in their trainers’ current barns/stalls, which will be monitored at all times by additional security personnel; and a full daily veterinarian’s record of all medications and treatments given to horses from noon Aug. 22 until the race is run will be provided to the Racing and Wagering Board, and the board will post these records on its website each day.
The New York Racing Association will cover the costs of these additional protocols, with the exception of the out-of-competition blood testing.
Similar measures were taken for the Belmont on June 9.
SANTA ANITA CHOSEN
The Daily Racing Form is reporting the 2013 Breeders’ Cup will be hosted by Santa Anita, which was the site in 2008 and 2009, and will host this year’s renewal Nov. 2-3.
The other tracks that were being considered for 2013 were Churchill Downs and Monmouth Park. Monmouth officials announced recently that while they were not explicitly told they had been passed over for 2013, they had been encouraged to apply for 2014.
SPORTSWRITER A WINNER
Sportswriter showed he may indeed be a good turf runner by winning Wednesday in the mile-long $100,000 New York Stallion Series Cab Calloway Division at Saratoga Race Course.
He broke his maiden in his debut at Saratoga last year at 51⁄2 furlongs on the turf, but has missed the board in his four turf races since. He has run off the turf with mixed results, and was 91⁄2 lengths back in his last grass race, two starts back on good turf at Belmont.
“It was always in my mind . . . we bought him for the grass,” trainer Rudy Rodriguez said. “We were a little disappointed the way he ran the last time, but I know he can run. Javier [Castellano] gave him a perfect ride, too, so that was good.”
Favored King Kreesa (3-5) broke with the lead, but conceded it to Image of Disco entering the backstretch. At the top of the stretch, King Kreesa retook the lead, but Castellano guided Sportswriter from an inside track wide of the leaders and pushed the right button, sending him on to win by a neck over King Kreesa, with Sleepy Freud another 21⁄4 lengths back in third.
“I just wanted to see him running from behind,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the way I want to see him, because last time we hooked up with the favorite, and I guess we were on the inside. Everything worked out perfect for us this time. It was very good.”
Union Victory won her third straight race for owner Roddy Valente of Loudonville, but she won’t win another for him as she was claimed by Rich Schosberg for $35,000 after taking the sixth race on the card.
“She’s as game as they come. I probably lost her, I don’t know. I was sure somebody was going to claim her,” Valente said in the winner’s circle. “But she was game the day we bought her, and she’s getting better, so whoever has her after this, I wish them a lot of luck.”
Just as he expected the Indian Charlie filly to be claimed, he also expected Marvelous Margaret, trained by Carlos Martin, to push her.
“Carlos Martin’s people told me they were going to take it to her. And I said, I understand that, but this filly, when she’s headed, she gets more game,” Valente said. “It showed in the last race down at Monmouth. When they came to her the last time, I thought she was going to give it up, but she tries harder. So I was actually glad when they went at her throat.”
AFLEET BIRD OK
The horse vanned off after the first race Monday, Afleet Bird, underwent a successful procedure following its displaced right-front condylar fracture and will live, though it will not race again.
Saratoga Central Catholic grad and trainer Teresa Pompay seems to have found the preferred surface for 3-year-old Momentum Investor. He was beaten by a half-length at the wire in a 51⁄2-furlong turf sprint as the 3-2 favorite, but has now been close in two turf sprints at Saratoga this year, finishing 13⁄4 lengths back in a maiden claimer on opening day.
On dirt in his first two career starts, he was a distant eighth in a sloppy debut at Gulfstream Park and a distant fifth at Monmouth in May.
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard has had a winner at Saratoga every year back to 1967, but has yet to find the winner’s circle at this meet.
Today’s card opens with the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps, in which Sheppard’s 12-year-old mare Sweet Shani has the chance to extend Sheppard’s streak. She will be ridden by Brian Crowley in the 21⁄16-mile steeplechase at 7-2 on the morning line.
She has been running no more than three races per year for the last four years and will make her second start of 2012. She won twice in three starts last year, and she was fifth in the Grade I New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase at Saratoga.
‘TONI’ LOOKS FOR ANOTHER
The feature stakes race on today’s card is the $100,000 New York Stallion Series Statue Of Liberty Division, with 2-1 morning-line favorite I Bet Toni Knows and 3-1 Why Take a Chance bookending the field from post positions 10 and 1. It is a mile on the turf for 3-year-old fillies who are eligible for the New York Stallion Stakes.
I Bet Toni Knows enters off her first stakes win, the New York Stallion Series Cupecoy’s Joy on June 3 at Belmont.