Tuesday, March 21, 2006 12:00 AM
Lane’s End preparations continue
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 21, 2006 . . . With the Lane’s End Stakes set for Saturday at Turfway Park, pre-race preparations, decisions, and maneuvers continue.
Todd Pletcher will saddle three starters on the day, including Tahoe Warrior in the Lane’s End. Owned by Edgewood Farm, the horse has run exclusively on grass. “Tahoe Warrior is training well,” said Pletcher. “He is coming into the race the right way, and we saw this winter that some horses with decent grass form have been able to transfer that over with success onto the Polytrack.” On raceday, Pletcher will be in Dubai to saddle Host in the Duty Free and Magna Graduate in the World Cup.
Pletcher will send Capozzene to the Grade III Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup and High Cotton, the likely favorite, to the Rushaway Stakes. All three Pletcher trainees will arrive at Turfway on Wednesday and head to the track for a look at Polytrack. Jockey Chris DeCarlo will fly in to ride all three.
With A City breezed at the Churchill Downs training track on Monday, going five furlongs in 1:01.80. “I just got off the phone with [trainer] Mike [Maker], and he told me the horse breezed super,” said owner Ron Peltz of Equirace.com. “He couldn’t be coming into [the Lane’s End Stakes] any better.”
Equirace.com purchased With A City privately after a race at Calder. “I had been tracking this horse a long time,” said Peltz. “When the opportunity came up we took it, with the Lane’s End in mind.” With A City finished seventh in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, exiting the race with a slight lung infection, but Peltz said he’s “100 percent now” after treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. “He was a little farther back in that race than he wants to be. We expect him to run a lot better on Saturday.”
Canadian-based trainer Mark Casse will have a pair of runners in action on Saturday at Turfway Park, Seaside Retreat in the Lane’s End Stakes and Top Notch Lady in the Bourbonette. In each case, Casse is hoping to get a line on his horses after a winter spent at Tampa Bay Downs.
“There’s a fork in the road, and I’m trying to figure out whether to take a right and head north with them to Toronto, or take a left and head to Lexington and Louisville,” said Casse.
Turfway’s Polytrack surface was one factor in steering Seaside Retreat to the Lane’s End. “He’s probably a better turf horse than anything else,” said Casse. “They say horses that like grass seem to do well over Polytrack. My horse ran once on grass and won, and the horse he beat that day [Bears Kid] came back and won the Summer Stakes.”
Seaside Retreat finished fifth behind Bluegrass Cat last time out in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, and Casse feels his colt can improve on that performance. “He didn’t care that much for Tampa,” said Casse. “It’s a speed favoring track, and Seaside Retreat made a middle move and flattened out. I think Turfway might suit him better.”
Compared to most 3-year-olds, Lane’s End probable Malameeze is a Polytrack veteran. In four starts at Turfway, he has a win, two seconds and a fourth, and even though he did not win his last two races at Turfway, the WEBN Stakes and the John Battaglia Memorial, trainer Bobby Barnett felt both efforts were more than satisfactory for taking a shot at the $500,000 Lane’s End purse.
“Our colt will run real well,” said Barnett. “He’s sort of a late blooming colt. Hopefully he’ll really bloom on Saturday. I think the added distance will help him.”
Malameeze was second in the one-mile WEBN Stakes on February 4 and fourth, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths, in the March 4 John Battaglia Memorial. Stabled at Turfway, Malameeze worked five furlongs last Saturday in a bullet 1:02 flat at the track. He will gallop up to Saturday’s race.
Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup runneth over
Helen Pitts intends to send Lady Danza to the Bourbonette and reports that her charge is “doing super. I actually just got off the plane with her from Florida, arriving at Churchill Downs," Pitts said Tuesday. "We thought this would be a good spot to run her, and although the race is coming up much tougher than I originally thought, you can't choose who you run against. She has a win over the Polytrack surface in September, so we know she likes it, and we'll see what happens." Brice Blanc has the call.
In addition to In a Flash in the Lane’s End and Sadler’s Trick in the Rushaway, trainer Patrick Biancone will saddle Sabatini in the Bourbonette.
Sabatini has not run since finishing second in the Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita on January 7. She is light on experience with only three career starts, but Biancone says that was somewhat by design. "You need to give them a break and prepare for the spring," he said. "You cannot just run, run, run. She's a very good filly and I look for a good effort."
Sabatini has had four works about a week apart over Turfway's Polytrack, concluding with a six-furlong breeze in 1:16.80 on March 17. Julien Leparoux will ride all three Biancone entries.
Dallas Stewart says Lemons Forever will start in the Bourbonette Breeders' Cup. "She's doing fine," he says. "She came out of her last race nicely." Lemons Forever worked four furlongs in :47.60 at Churchill Downs, the fastest of 10 at the distance. David Flores will be in from California to ride Lemons Forever, a daughter of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid.
Entries for the Lane’s End Stakes will be drawn Thursday at Turfway’s annual Call to the Post luncheon. First post on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. Gates open at 10:00 a.m.