Saratoga Barn Notes


Fields taking shape for next weekend's stakes

Next weekend's stakes feature a trio of Grade 1 races, headed by the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap on Saturday, August 7. Expected to run in the 1 1/8th mile race is the nation's top older male, Quality Road, who is undefeated in three starts this year and coming off a powerhouse performance in the Grade 1 Met Mile.

Likely to challenge the 4-year-old Elusive Quality colt are Grade 1 Stephen Foster winner Blame, 2-0-0 in two starts this year; Grade 2 Suburban Handicap winner Haynesfield, who is on a four-race win steak, and 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Musket Man and Redding Colliery are questionable, according to Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA).

Also on Saturday is the $250,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs, which is likely to feature Franny Freud, who has won her last four starts including the Grade 1 Prioress by a combined margin of 19 ½ lengths, as well as Grade 1 Acorn winner and Prioress runner-up Champagne d'Oro. They are likely to be joined by Belle of the Hall, Christine Daae, Katy Now, Lovely Lil, Pica Slew and Tidal Pool. Harissa is questionable.

Targeting Sunday's feature, the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at six furlongs, are Big Drama, Bribon, Gayego, Majesticperfection, Mambo Meister, Smokey Fire, and Temecula Creek. Joining the Vanderbilt on the card is the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss for filly and mare sprinters, in which last year's Grade 3 Victory Ride and Grade 2 Top Flight winner, Sara Louise, is expected to make her 2010 debut. The six-furlong race is also likely to draw Hour Glass, One Smokin' Lady, Pretty Prolific and Secret Gypsy. 

Lisa's Booby Trap running for her namesake in Loudonville

Although she was scratched out of last weekend's Grade 1 Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks, the undefeated Lisa's Booby Trap is expected to make her first stakes start in Saratoga in next Friday's $70,000 Loudonville for 3-year-old fillies.
The Florida-bred daughter of Drewman is named for owner/trainer Tim Snyder's late wife, Lisa, who died of cancer on December 24, 2003.

"She was on some heavy medication at the end, and she kept telling her mother 'Don't worry, I'm coming back as a horse,' Snyder said. "She was a wonderful woman."

Snyder purchased the filly privately in January for $4,500. She is blind in her left eye, and arrived with some ankle problems. The ankle issue was corrected with some rest and different shoes - she wears a hind shoe on one of her front feet - and the blindness doesn't seem to bother her.

Lisa's Booby Trap made her first start at Finger Lakes on May 24, leading from gate to wire in a six-furlong maiden race, which she won by 2 ½ lengths. She has run twice since, wiring a pair of Finger Lakes allowances by a combined margin of 19 lengths. Snyder knows that running in stakes company at Saratoga is tough, but he believes it's time to see what the filly is made of.

"I wanted to start from the beginning and take it step, by step, by step - like a boxer," Snyder said. "At Finger Lakes we built her confidence, and her heart."

Friday morning, Lisa's Booby Trap worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.34 over the main track immediately after the renovation break. Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who Snyder said would ride the filly in the Loudonville, was aboard for the work.

"She did it well and the jock said he liked her, which is a good sign," Snyder said with a smile. "He told me she was a stone runner, which I knew, but it's nice to get the double OK, especially from a top rider like that."

Mott celebrates birthday in style (as usual)

Bill Mott, who celebrated his 57th birthday on Thursday, did so in typical fashion - by saddling a winner at Saratoga Race Course. When Devil by Design took the Lucy Scribner Stakes, it was the fourth time in the past five years, and 11th time in the past 18 years (two were dark days) that Mott has sent a winner on July 29.

"This race was originally scheduled for four or five days ago, but it didn't fill," he said. "I didn't really plan this. It just so happened that I got a live one in today."

The Hall of Fame trainer could continue the celebration this weekend as he saddles Proviso in Saturday's Grade 1 Diana and Unrivaled Belle as the favorite in the Grade 1 Ruffian on Sunday.

Proctor off to good start

Trainer Tom Proctor is off to a good start at the Spa, having won a pair of races with his first two starters: Queen of the Creek, who led from the start to win a turf allowance on Monday and Broken Dreams, who rallied to win an allowance on Wednesday, also on the turf.

Proctor, who trained One Dreamer to win the 1994 Breeders' Cup Distaff, had shipped horses from his Chicago and Kentucky stables to Saratoga for stakes races during the 1990s; however, it wasn't until 2008 he got stall space for the Saratoga meet.

"I decided to bring a couple of stakes horses a couple of years ago," said the 54-year-old Texan native. "We got a couple of seconds and thirds. We had a couple of close calls in the stakes races. I enjoyed being here last year and I thought my horses ran well. When they left here, they ran really well."

Those horses included Closeout, who finished second in the 2008 Madam Jumel Stakes and subsequently won the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park, and No Inflation, who was fourth in the Grade 2 National Museum Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes and then won the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park.

Proctor, who was 0-for-18 at the Spa in 2008 and 2009, had his best finishes from Keertana (second in last year's Grade 2 Lake Placid), Sly Storm (second and third in a pair of listed stakes), Silver Mountain (third in last year's John's Call), and You Go West Girl (second in the 2008 Yaddo).

Julien Leparoux bucking history at Spa

Julien Leparoux, the third-leading jockey at Saratoga Race Course going into Friday's card, is attempting to buck history and become the first rider who isn't based in New York to win the Saratoga jockey title since Laffit Pincay topped the standings in 1971.

"That'd be good, but we have a long way to go," said Leparoux of a possible riding crown. "I'm really happy with the way things are going and hope to keep winning races."

Leparoux, who won last year's Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey, suffered was injured in a spill in May's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, but was always hopeful he'd be back to health in time for Saratoga.

"The doctor was pretty confident I'd be able to ride at Saratoga, and I was lucky to get fit and be 100 percent ready for the meet," said Leparoux, who returned to action July 1.

Leparoux, set to ride Forever Together in Saturday's Grade 1 Diana, is also looking forward to guiding Warbling in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss August 8 and Informed Decision in the Grade 1 Ballerina August 28.

"And hopefully I can find a good 2-year-old filly or colt," he added.


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