Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Entry box fills up for opening day at Spa
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Judging by the entry box, horsemen are excited about the upcoming Saratoga meet.
A total of 127 horses were entered for Friday's 10-race opening-day card at Saratoga, which will run 40 days through Labor Day. The feature is the Grade 3, $100,000 Schuylerville Stakes for juvenile fillies, but the best race on the card may be the $75,000 James Marvin Stakes for sprinters, featuring the return to the races of Grade 1 winner Vineyard Haven.
Seven juvenile fillies were entered for the Schuylerville, including the multiple stakes winner Final Mesa, who drew the outside post. However, Final Mesa was entered as part of a coupled entry along with Spa Sunrise. Wesley Ward, who is the trainer and part-owner of both fillies, named Eibar Coa on both, so one must scratch. Whom Ward decides to run will have a significant impact on the race.
Final Mesa has won all three of her starts, including two stakes. Spa Sunrise defeated males winning a New York-bred maiden race at Belmont.
"I'm going to wait until the Form comes out online, talk it over with my partners, and make a decision," Ward said.
Ward acknowledged that a potential sale of Final Mesa could impact her participation in the race. Since a horse can't be sold after entries -- that would necessitate a scratch -- Final Mesa would run for the Ice Wine Stable.
Stopspendingmaria, who drew the rail for the six-furlong Schuylerville, won her second start by seven lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher, while Let's Get Fiscal won her debut by 5 1/2 lengths for trainer Rick Violette. Let's Get Fiscal breaks from post 3.
Le Mi Geaux, Dos Lunas, and Show Me the Bling complete the field.
Meanwhile, Vineyard Haven heads a graded-stakes-quality field of 10 in the seven-furlong James Marvin. Last year, Pyro finished second in the James Marvin and came back to win the Grade 1 Forego later in the meet for Godolphin Stable. Godolphin also owns Vineyard Haven, who won the Grade 1 Hopeful here in 2008 and the Grade 1 De Francis Dash last October. He has not run since finishing third as the favorite in last year's Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.
Graded stakes winners You and I Forever, Cool Coal Man, Friesan Fire, Le Grand Cru, and Atoned also are in this field.
* Unrivaled Belle, who defeated Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 2 La Troienne at Churchill Downs, worked four furlongs in 48.10 seconds over the Oklahoma training track Tuesday morning in preparation for the Grade 1 Ruffian here Aug. 1. In her most recent start, Unrivaled Belle finished second in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont.
On Tuesday, Saratoga clockers caught Unrivaled Belle in splits of 12.53 seconds and 24.63, and timed her galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.22.