Thursday, August 21, 2014

Inaugural Saratoga Showcase Day set for Sunday

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Contact: NYRA Press Office

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Inaugural Saratoga Showcase Day set for Sunday

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Highlighted by six stakes races worth $1.15 million, nearly 100 New York-breds will be competing on a special 11-race card for the inaugural "Saratoga Showcase Day" on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.


Captain Serious and Empire Dreams, the winners of the first two legs of the Big Apple Triple, will meet in the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds.


The 1 1/8-mile Albany completes the series, which also is contested at Belmont Park (Mike Lee) and Finger Lakes Racetrack (New York Derby).


Captain Serious, a homebred owned by Barry Schwartz, won his first three starts, all against New York-breds, before placing a pair of graded stakes.


In his third race, Captain Serious led the seven-furlong Mike Lee from gate to wire to prevail by three lengths over Empire Dreams in May at Belmont Park. He set the pace again when second in Belmont's Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Dwyer in July, giving way late to Kid Cruz, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length. Most recently, Captain Serious pressed the pace when third, beaten five lengths, in the Grade 2, 6 ½-furlong Amsterdam on July 26 at Saratoga.


Trainer Michael Hushion said the Albany's 1 1/8-mile distance and lucrative purse were the primary reasons why he entered Captain Serious in the Albany instead of taking on graded stakes competition again.


"It was an opportunity to find out how far he'll go, and it's $250,000," said Hushion. "He's a gelding, so we don't have to try to establish him as a stallion."


Hushion added that getting Captain Serious to relax will be important in the Albany, his first start around two turns.


"I'll leave it up to the rider, wherever he finds him," said Hushion. "With the two turns, I just want him to have him in his hands a little bit and get him comfortable."


After finishing second in the Mike Lee, Empire Dreams won his route and two-turn debut, the New York Derby, by 2 ¼ lengths. His accomplishments also include a score in the NYSS Great White Way in November at Aqueduct Racetrack.


"He settled and he had a good position," said Tom Albertrani, who trains Empire Dreams for West Point Thoroughbreds. "There was a lot of crowding at the start, but it didn't really affect him. He just sat off the leaders and finished up strongly the last eighth of a mile. Stretching him out, he really seemed to benefit from the two turns. He really seems to appreciate the extra ground. We always wanted to stretch him out, but we never had the chance to do it sooner."


The Albany field also includes Eye Luv Lulu, Little Daddy, Free Mugatu, Effinex, So Lonesome, and Fox Rox.


Patricia Generazio's multiple graded stakes winner Discreet Marq headlines a probable field of five for the $150,000 Yaddo Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up.


The 4-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat has made six of her last seven starts in Grade 1 stakes, including a win in the Del Mar Oaks last August. Trained by Christophe Clement, Discreet Marq was most recently third in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes on July 19 at Saratoga, finishing a half-length behind Somali Lemonade and a neck behind Stephanie's Kitten.


"She's raced in four Grade1's in a row," Clement said. "I wanted to get an easier race for her. The Yaddo will be a little easier than the [Grade 2, $250,000] Ballston Spa on Saturday. She's doing great; I'm excited to see her run.


"It won't be an easy race, but hopefully an easier race," he added. "And then she can go from there, maybe to the Grade 1 [Flower Bowl]."


Discreet Marq, to be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., will break from post position five and will be challenged in the 1 1/16-mile contest on the inner turf by Patsy Symons' Effie Trinket.


From the barn of Richard Violette, Effie Trinket is set to break from the rail under jockey Jose Ortiz. The 4-year-old Freud filly has faced graded company in four of her last five starts, including a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs last fall. Most recently, Effie Trinket finished sixth in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Parx on July 8.


"She's coming off a subpar effort at Parx, which was probably my fault," said Violette. "She's kind of refreshed up here and she's training great. If she's back to her very genuine self, then I think we'll have some fun. It's a small field, but I think it's a pretty talented bunch."


Trainer Chad Brown has entered Dayatthespa into the Yaddo, but is expected to run the mare in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa on the Travers Day undercard.


Also set for the Yaddo are Miz Owell, Unbelievable Dream and Mah Jong Maddnes


A field of salty older turf horses is set to run in the $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank, which will feature the return of graded stakes winner King Kreesa.


King Kreesa, now under the care of David Donk, was previously trained by Jeremiah Englehart for owners Gerald and Susan Kresa. The son of King Cugat has been remarkably consistent in his career, hitting the board in 12 of 17 turf starts and earning more than $650,000.


The 5-year-old gelding has not run since contesting the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile on December 8 at Sha Tin, in which he faded to 12th after dictating the early pace.


"[Hong Kong] racing just wasn't his style," said Donk. "He's a really nice horse, and Jeremiah did a phenomenal job with him. It's not going to be an easy spot - there's a lot of good New York-breds in that division - but I've got to start somewhere."


The West Point was not originally on Donk's radar, but changed his mind after some eye-catching works leading up to the race.


"I really didn't have this as an objective until three weeks ago; he worked really well and galloped out really well," said the trainer. "He's a little further along than I thought he might be. I pointed in this direction, and he's had three really solid works."


Trainer Christophe Clement will send out another very consistent turfer in Lubash, who has compiled a superlative record of 10-7-4 in 32 starts, with earnings upwards of $800,000.


Now a 7-year-old, Lubash has showed no signs of slowing down. He began his year with a victory in a statebred optional claimer, missed by a length in the Kingston in his next start, and then took a statebred allowance race by 2 ¼ lengths on July 13 at Belmont Park in his latest outing.


"My horse is a very fun horse; he's been amazingly consistent over the years," said Clement, who trains Lubash for Aliyu Ben J Stables. "He's always there and he's very reliable. I would not trade with anybody. Let's go."


Winner of the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap in his most recent start, Hangover Kid will go out for trainer Jason Servis and owner Four Tags Stable. The 6-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid won last year's West Point by a length, and nearly captured the Grade 3 Red Smith last fall at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Hangover Kid will be making a significant cut back in distance for the 1 1/16-mile West Point, as he is exiting the 1 ½-mile Bowling Green.


"I think he likes going longer," said Servis. "He ran hard the last few races; he hasn't bounced back completely to his old self. He's had a tough few races but he's all right, so we'll take a shot."


Winner of state-bred stakes at Aqueduct and Finger Lakes, Flipcup will make her Saratoga debut in the $200,000 Fleet Indian for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.


Flipcup Brew began her career in Canada before arriving in New York last December, winning the East View Stakes in her stateside debut. Runner-up in the Busanda to open her 2014 campaign, Flipcup captured the New York Oaks going 1 1/16 miles by a neck on July 12, returning to Woodbine to run second by a half-length in the Eternal Search Stakes on August 2.


Rajiv Maragh will ride Flipcup, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, from post 4 in a field of nine.


Alwaysinstilletos and Jcs American Dream, who ran second and fourth, respectively, in the New York Oaks, will try to turn the tables on Flipcup in the Fleet Indian.

Alwaysinstilletos won the Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes last September, while Jcs American Dream is winless since breaking her maiden against older horses in March at Aqueduct.


The field for the Fleet Indian, from the rail out, is: Alwaysinstilletos, Lucky Nancy E., Storied Lady, Flipcup, Star Grazing, Canal Six, Desert Valentine, Jcs American Dream and Easy Living.


Rounding out the stakes is a pair of races for 2-year-olds, the $200,000 Funny Cide, which will be run as race 2, and the $200,000 Seeking the Ante for fillies, which will be contested as race 5. Both are at 5 ½ furlongs.


Heading the field for the Funny Cide is the Michael Mareina-trained Bustin It, the lone stakes winner in the field of five. The Bustin Stones colt, second in his debut on June 13 at Belmont Park, returned a month later and posted a front-running seven-length win in the restricted Rockville Centre going six furlongs.


Rajiv Maragh will be aboard from post position 5.


Lining up alongside him will be Bullheaded Boy, a sharp maiden winner over a sloppy track on July 31 at the Spa; supplemental entry Upstart, who scored by 5 ¼ lengths on August 15; Good Luck Gus, winner of an off-the-turf maiden race on July 28; and the Chad Brown-trained Tax Package, winner of his debut on July 20.


With a graded stakes start on her resume, Evrybdymstgetstonz will face five others in the Seeking the Ante. Trained by Gary Contessa, the daughter of Bustin Stones was a sparkling six-length winner at odds of 23-1 in her first start on July 2 at Belmont Park, then returned on opening day at Saratoga to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Schuylerville after getting squeezed back at the start.


With John Velazquez riding from the rail, Evrybdymstgetstonz will take on recent maiden winners Myfourchix, Graeme Crackers, Nonna Jo and Hard to Stay Notgo, along with Quick Reward, most recently last of 12 in the Cassidy on July 12 at Gulfstream Park.



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