The 6-year-old Lubash returns to Saratoga Race Course today attempting to win the $150,000 West Point for the second year in a row.
The race for New York-breds is scheduled for a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf course.
Lubash won in open company in May, when he was a half-length better than Bombaguia in the Grade III Fort Marcy, then ran into King Kreesa twice, finishing third in the Kingston and fifth in the Grade III Poker.
“He had been having some issues with his feet, but he’s on the way back, if not all the way back,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “Hopefully, he will be ready to run his race.”
The West Point field includes the very consistent Kharafa, who will break from the outside under Rajiv Maragh.
He has hit the board in eight straight, but is lightly raced in stakes company.
Kharafa was second to King Kreesa by 21⁄4 lengths in the Kingston, then came back with an allowance win at Belmont Park.
“That was really the deciding factor [to run in the West Point],” trainer Tim Hills said. “He’s been doing well since that race [Kingston], and this seems like a good spot.”
Hangover Kid returns to state-bred company for the first time in five races off a close third behind Big Blue Kitten and Teaks North in the Grade I United Nations.
Princess of Sylmar, owned by Schenectady native Ed Stanco, drew the No. 4 post in a field of six for Saturday’s Alabama.
The field, from the rail out, will be Tell a Great Story, Montana Native, Galloping Giraffe, Princess of Sylmar, Carnival Court and Black-Eyed Susan winner Fiftyshadesofhay.
Princess of Sylmar has won the Kentucky Oaks and the Coaching Club American Oaks.
Speaking of Big Blue Kitten and Teaks North, they’re in a big, wide-open field of 13 for the Grade I Sword Dancer on the Alabama card.
Big Blue Kitten is the co-topweight, at 123 pounds, with Boisterous off a win in the Grade I United Nations.
Boisterous won the Grade I Man o’ War after beating Big Blue Kitten by a length and a quarter in the Grade II Monmouth.
HOGY WINS TROY
Hogy outdueled Great Mills to win Wednesday’s co-feature, the $100,000 Troy for 3-year-olds and up at 51⁄2 furlongs on the the turf.
Great Mills, the 6-5 betting favorite, led all the way until Hogy drew abreast at the eighth pole.
They battled from there until Hogy and jockey Joe Rocco Jr. pulled away by a length and a quarter.
“It was real tactical,” Rocco said. “Around the turn, I saw the favorite was going kind of easy, so I figured I could squeeze on my horse and press him a little bit.
“He shot a head in front real fast, then I just hoped I hadn’t moved too soon. It ended up working out really good.”
McGAUGHEY ON “LEGENDS”
Trainer Shug McGaughey will be featured in the National Museum of Racing’s next “Hall of Fame Legends” program, a weekly series scheduled for Tuesdays during the meet.
McGaughey will appear at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
The series features 60-minute interviews by Jeff Carle of the Capital OTB Network, with opportunities for audience members to ask questions.
AROUND THE TRACK
There’s a stakes-caliber allowance race on today’s card in the ninth, where Teaks North is the 2-1 morning-line favorite if he runs there instead of in the Sword Dancer.
A Grade I winner in 2011, Teaks North opened the 2013 season with a win in the Sunshine Millions Turf on a yielding turf course at Gulfstream Park.
He won the Good Reward at Belmont Park and was second to Big Blue Kitten in the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth Park, a race he won in 2011. …
Successful Dan, second in the Whitney, breezed four furlongs in 49.73 as he continues to prepare for the Woodward on closing weekend.
“[Exercise rider] Damien [Rock] said he just dragged him around there the whole way,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said.
LoPresti said Successful Dan has shown no ill effects from having fallen on his side during the post parade for the Whitney, other than a small scrape on his hock.
“It didn’t amount to a hill of beans,” LoPresti said. “I’ve tried to figure out why that happened and how it happened. I led Wise Dan out there the other day, because I wanted to see what it was that caused that. I don’t know. Spomething spooked him, because he’s never been that kind of horse.” …
My Miss Aurelia, the 2011 juvenile filly champion, arrived in trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn Wednesday morning, but there are no immediate plans for a race.
She has been in Ocala, Fla. on Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet farm and has not raced since finishing third in March in the Grade III Azeri, beaten 51⁄2 lengths by Tiz Miz Sue. …
Will Take Charge worked five furlongs in 1:03.90 on the Oklahoma training track on Tuesday as he prepares for the Travers off his second to Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy.
“We won’t do much more,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “He’s dead fit. We’ve been running him through the Triple Crown, so we won’t have to do a lot.”