Thursday, August 24, 2017

Forever Unbridled Leads Oaklawn Contingent at Saratoga Saturday

Major stakes winner Forever Unbridled headlines the Oaklawn-raced contingent for Saturday’s stacked 13-race card at Saratoga. The program features seven stakes races, with Forever Unbridled entered in the $700,000 Personal Ensign (G1) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.

Forever Unbridled won the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) last year at Oaklawn before finishing third in the Personal Ensign. In her only start this year, she won the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) June 17 at Churchill Downs for owner/breeder Charles Fipke and trainer Dallas Stewart.

Forever Unbridled (7-2 in the program) is scheduled to break from post 4 Saturday under Joel Rosario and carry equal top weight of 123 pounds.

Also entered in the projected five-horse field is Eskenformoney, who finished second in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 18 at Oaklawn. Topping the Personal Ensign field is Songbird, a multiple Eclipse Award winner.

Probable post time for the Personal Ensign, which goes as race 6, is 1:23 p.m. (Central).

Also on the card is the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles and $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds at 7 furlongs.

A dozen horses are entered in the Travers, including Lookin At Lee, who finished third in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn. Lookin At Lee also ran two other times at Oaklawn, finishing third in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20 and sixth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18.

Lookin At Lee is scheduled to break from post 8 Saturday under five-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. Lookin At Lee is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who has led the Oaklawn standings eight times since 2007.

Also entered in the Travers are winners of each Triple Crown race – Always Dreaming (Kentucky Derby), Cloud Computing (Preakness) and Tapwrit (Belmont), the 7-2 program favorite. Lookin At Lee was the only horse to compete in all three Triple Crown races, finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, fourth in the Preakness and seventh in the Belmont.

Probable post time for the Travers, which goes as race 11, is 4:44 p.m. (Central). All starters carry 126 pounds.

The H. Allen Jerkens (formerly the King’s Bishop) has drawn a field of nine, including 2-1 program favorite American Anthem for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. American Anthem, 10th as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, has won his last two starts, including the $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) at 7 furlongs June 10 at Belmont Park.

The H. Allen Jerkens, which is race 8, has a probable post time of 2:35 p.m. (Central).
 
Straight Shooter

Breeders’ Cup Classic candidate Cupid was a three-quarter length winner of the $75,000 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes Wednesday at Del Mar for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. It was the fifth career stakes victory (all at different tracks) for the 4-year-old son of Tapit, who was purchased for $900,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Cupid, who is owned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, won the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) last year at Oaklawn. He is 2 for 2 this year, also winning the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes (G1) May 27 at Santa Anita.

In addition to the Rebel, Cupid won the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) at Indiana Grand and $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) at Mountaineer last year.

Cupid ($2.80) was the 2-5 favorite in the Harry F. Brubaker and covered a mile over a fast track in 1:36.41. He was ridden by Rafael Bejarano. Overall, he has won 6 of 11 starts and has earned $1,683,873.
 
Finish Lines

Defending champion Joyous Lady, who began 2017 with a fifth-place finish in an April 2 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn, won the $100,000 Shelby County Stakes for female sprinters Wednesday at Indiana Grand. Oaklawn-raced She Mabee Wild was third. … Remington Park opens its meeting Friday, with owner Danny Caldwell trying to complete his fourth consecutive personal triple crown. Caldwell has led the standings at his annual circuit of Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows and Remington Park every year since 2014. … Cistron, winner of the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn, drew the rail for the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes Saturday at Del Mar. Probable post time for the 1-mile Shared Belief, which goes as race 7, is 7:10 p.m. (Central). … Oaklawn raced Moe Candy and Kobe’s Back are entered in Saturday’s ninth race at Del Mar, the $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at 7 furlongs. Probable post time is 8:10 p.m. (Central). ... Oaklawn-raced horses entered Saturday at Canterbury Park include Storm Advisory (main track only) and Way Striking in the $50,000 Brooks Fields Stakes at a mile on the turf and Hot Shot Kid in the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby at a mile on the turf. During this year’s Oaklawn meeting, Storm Advisory won the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Feb. 4, Way Striking was a two-time allowance/optional claiming winner and Hot Shot Kid broke his maiden April 15, the first of five consecutive victories entering the Mystic Lake Derby. Probable post times for the Brooks Fields Stakes (race 2) and Mystic Lake Derby (race 4) are 6:33 p.m. (Central) and 7:35 p.m. (Central), respectively. … High North, a 2-year-old half-brother to Benner Island, is scheduled to make his career debut in the first race Saturday at Saratoga, a maiden-allowance sprint. High North (6-1 in the program) is owned by John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs and trained by Brad Cox. They teamed to finish second in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11 at Oaklawn. Benner Island and High North are both out of multiple stakes winner Spacy Tracy, who finished seventh in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Azeri Stakes (G3) in 2011. The winner, Havre de Grace, was named 2011 Horse of the Year. Azeri runner-up Blind Luck was the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, when her five victories included the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn. High North, a $230,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase, is by champion sprinter Midnight Lute. Probable post time for Saturday’s first race at Saratoga is 10:35 a.m. (Central).
 
 

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