Palace Malice will not run in the Grade I Woodward on Saturday.
The colt worked four furlongs in :48.67 on the main track Sunday at Saratoga Race Course, but trainer Todd Pletcher said he will skip the Woodward in favor of the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.
“I thought it was a kind of standard 48-and-change work for him,” Pletcher said before conferring with owner Cot Campbell to make a decision. “Mr. Campbell is going to call me later today, and we’ll have a discussion about future plans.”
Pletcher later told the Daily Racing Form he was skipping the Saratoga race.
READY THIS TIME
After missing the Fourstardave earlier in the meet because he had not yet rounded into form after colic surgery in the spring, two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan turned in his final breeze before a possible start in the Grade II Bernard Baruch here on Saturday.
Wise Dan completed the four-furlong work in :47.92 for trainer Charles LoPresti.
“He went out in a minute and change after they said they followed him out in 13 [1:13] for three-quarters, and then he went 1:26 [for seven furlongs].
“It was foggy, so I couldn’t see it, but I knew he worked good because I had him in my binoculars and I was trying to find him, and everywhere that I thought he would be, he was ahead of my binoculars.”
LoPresti said he may run Wise Dan in the Bernard Baruch, or he may skip it to run in the Grade I Woodbine Mile on Sept. 14, a race he has won the past two years.
THE MORNING AFTER
Artemis Agrotera is doing well after her stalking victory in the Grade I Ballerina, which she won by 6 1⁄2 lengths to move to 3-for-3 at Saratoga.
“I’m very happy with what I’ve seen,” trainer Mike Hushion said. “The usual: Ate up, bright. It’s good. Legs are good. Good first day.”
Hushion said he will consider a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint or just training up to the race.
After winning the Grade I King’s Bishop on Travers Day on Saturday, The Big Beast is still without a next target. The step up from an allowance win to this company was a big one, and trainer Tony Dutrow said he needed to see proof of the colt’s ability before figuring out his next step.
He saw it in the win, which rewarded the trainer and all who work with The Big Beast for their work with the horse that is large and in charge.
At 17-1 hands, it’s difficult to contain him when he wants to get loose; and he wants to get loose. So Dutrow had a pony accompany The Big Beast to the paddock before the King’s Bishop, then had that pony accompany him back to the barn afterward.
“He gets loose almost every day, so you’re trying to find a way to control him as safely as possible,” Dutrow said. “He’s done well with the pony. We’ve spent a lot of time with him in the paddock, and he’s done well that way, so we asked for permission to take him to the races that way, and it worked out really, really good.”
Shug McGaughey’s Abaco finally secured that big win that had barely eluded her in so many other graded stakes, capturing the Grade II Ballston Spa.
“I was very, very pleased with Abaco,” McGaughey said. “She had been knocking on the door and deserved to win a race like that. She ran hard and finished hard; we were tickled with that.”
Abaco is now pointed toward the Grade I Flower Bowl at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.