Six other stakes race join Travers on today’s card at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Featuring nine of the best 3-year-old sprinters in the nation, the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens, formerly known as the King’s Bishop, is one of six Grade 1 races from seven stakes overall today at Saratoga Race Course, highlighted by the 148th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers.

Today’s card will be televised nationally from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 2 and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on NBC. The final stakes race of the day, the post time for the Ballston Spa is 6:20 p.m. as Race 12, following the Travers.

Entering from the barn of current meet leader Todd Pletcher and owners Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners is Coal Front. Purchased for $575,000 as a 2-year-old, the Stay Thirsty colt impressively won his debut by 6 ½ lengths going six furlongs on April 17 at Keeneland and followed up to take an allowance race on June 8 at Belmont Park. 

With Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons, the pair will leave from post 7.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle Shadwell Stables’ Takaful. Drawing post 2, Takaful will be ridden by current meet leading rider Jose Ortiz.

With Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard, American Anthem will leave from post 9.

Also looking to capitalize on a turnback in distance is Practical Joke who runs for trainer Chad Brown and owners Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence with Practical Joke.

Drawing the rail, Practical Joke will have the services of Joel Rosario.

Rounding out the field is the Arnaud Delacour-trained No Dozing, who enters off a win in the Concern Stakes on July 22 and Laurel Park; Phi Beta Express for trainer Danny Gargan and trainer Martin Cherry, who last out won by eight lengths on July 23; Ann Arbor Eddie for trainer Doug O’Neill and Reddam Racing; Tale of Silence for trainer Barclay Tagg and owner Charles Fipke; and Wild Shot for trainer Rusty Arnold and Calumet Farm.

Forego

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Grade 1, $600,000 Forego will be the midway point of seven graded stakes races on the Travers Day program as a field of 10 will run seven furlongs hoping to gain a berth to Del Mar in early November as part of the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series for the Grade 1, $1 million Sprint November 4 at Del Mar.

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Drefong will break from post 4, and reunites with jockey Mike Smith.

One foe set to try and catch Drefong in the late stages is multiple Grade 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits, who returns to make his fourth start of the year after his 3 ½ length victory in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint on the Stars and Stripes Day program.

Mind Your Biscuits will break from post 8, and will be ridden by Joel Rosario.

Live Oak Plantation’s Awesome Slew will look to build off his second place finish to Mind Your Biscuits in the Belmont Sprint. The colt by Awesome Again rallied five wide to settle 3 ½ lengths back, and returns to Saratoga two years after his fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Sanford, his second career start. With victories in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones, and the Grade 3 Commonwealth, he is still in search of his first Grade 1 victory after finishing sixth in the 2016 Haskell, and fourth in this year’s Metropolitan Handicap.

Awesome Slew will break from post 5, and will be joined by Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, who returns to ride after jumping aboard for the first time in the Belmont Sprint.

Others entered for the Forego are Irish-bred Ross from post 1 for trainer Peter Schiergen and jockey Andrasch Starke, Tom’s Ready from post 2 for trainer Dallas Stewart, and jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., Divining Rod from post 3 for trainer Arnaud Delacour and jockey Javier Castellano, Tale of S’avall from post 6 for trainer Barclay Tagg and jockey Manuel Franco, Tommy Macho from post 7 for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Luis Saez, and Very Very Stella from post 9 for trainer Jose Noda-Fernandez and jockey Carlos Hernandez.

Ballerina

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Paulassilverlining tops a septet of sprint fillies entered in today’s Grade 1 $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina at Saratoga. The seven-furlong main track event annually attracts some of the nation’s top fillies and mares — including victorious year-end champions Davona Dale, Maryfield, Lady’s Secret and Queena –and this year’s Ballerina dances to the same beat.

Trained by Chad Brown and owned by the powerful Juddmonte Farms operation, Paulassilverlining has proven to be a force in the division in 2017. Leading local rider Jose Ortiz, 8-for-12 when pairing with the seven-time graded stakes winner, returns to the saddle of Paulassilverlining from post three.

The most formidable threat to the favorite may come from her old barn. Trainer Michelle Nevin’s By the Moon enters the Ballerina on the strength of a solid third to Paulassilverlining in the Honorable Miss, losing by three-quarters of a length at the wire after a steady, gaining drive. A Grade 1 winner at two and four-time graded stakes winner overall, the 5-year-old dark bay mare reunites for the fourth consecutive race with Rajiv Maragh. The pair drew post four.

More than simply a Pas de Deux, this year’s Ballerina also features Carina Mia, who looks to improve upon a third-place finish last year as the even-money favorite. Carina Mia drew post five under freshly minted Hall of Fame inductee Javier Castellano.

Chester and Mary Broman’s Highway Star will try to extend her perfect 3-for-3 record at the seven-furlong distance when the Rodrigo Ubillo trainee breaks from post seven under Angel Arroyo.

Owner and trainer Happy Alter’s swift Curlin’s Approval brings her Florida heat to Upstate New York on the heels of a stellar 4 1/2-length victory in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Princess Rooney on July 1 over this distance. Luis Saez, aboard for all three of her graded stakes tallies, rides from post two.

The field is completed by Fred Allor’s Princess Rooney runner-up Distinta, who breaks from the rail under Manuel Franco and has not won since taking the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita in 2015.

Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A small but stellar field featuring a quartet of Grade 1 winners are set to gather for the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa today at Saratoga Race Course.

Trainer Chad Brown is a two-time winner of the Ballston Spa, finishing first with Dacita in 2015 and Zagora in 2012. He will send out the trio of Sheep Pond Partners’ Lady Eli, Juddmonte Farms’ Antonoe and Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Roca Rojo.

Lady Eli has drawn the rail with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano rides Antonoe from post 5 while Joel Rosario rides Roca Rojo from post 2.

Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Time and Motion’s regular rider all last year through her third-place finish in the Grade 3 Beaugay May 13 at Belmont Park, will be back in the irons. She will leave from post 3.

Dickinson, will start from the outside post with Paco Lopez aboard.

Completing the field is Stuart S. Janney, III homebred On Leave with meet-leading rider Jose Ortiz up for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.

Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS — With the imposing presence of dual champion and nine-time Grade 1 winner Songbird entered in today’s Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign, a compact yet talented field of five fillies and mares is set to contest the race at 1 1/8 miles.


Named in honor of the Phipps Stable’s homebred champion, who never tasted defeat in 13 career efforts, the Personal Ensign is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar in November.


Dual Grade 1 winner Forever Unbridled was third in last year’s Personal Ensign and was also third in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup after closing strongly to come up short to Beholder and Songbird by 1 ¼ lengths in total.

Coffeepot Stables’ Flora Dora will depart from the rail under Florent Geroux.


Waterford Stables’ Going For Broke gets the services of Irad Ortiz, Jr., along with a six-pound break in the weights, and post Post 3. Eskenformoney, a two-time Grade 3 winner in 25 previous efforts, completes the field for Star Light Ladies Racing and trainer Todd Pltecher and she will be partnered with Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano.

Sword Dancer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Niarchos Family’s Irish-bred Erupt will be looking for his second Grade 1 win in as many starts as he headlines a diverse field of seven in the Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer for 3-year-olds and up.

One of six Grade 1 races on Travers Day, the 43rd running of the Sword Dancer, contested at 1 1/2 miles, is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf on Nov. 4 at Del Mar. Carded as Race 10, it is part of an impressive list of stakes leading up the 148th running of the Grade 1 Travers presented by NYRA Bets.

Erupt will have the services of jockey Stephane Pasquier from post 6.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Idaho, who has exceed $1 million in earnings and has won twice at 1 ½ miles, and will have jockey Ryan Moore in the irons from the outside post. 

Trained by Chad Brown, Money Multiplier will be returning to the Spa for the first time since finishing second to stablemate Flintshire in last year’s Sword Dancer. He will leave from post 5.

Woodslane Farm’s Sadler’s Joy and jockey Julien Leparoux will break from post 3.

Florent Geroux, who piloted Hunter O’Riley to the Bowling Green win, will have the return call from post 4. 

Bigger Picture with Jose Ortiz will ride from post 2.

Frank Conversation finished sixth Bowling Green after he lost his tongue tie mid-race. The 4-year-old Quality Road colt will get another chance at the Spa in drawing the rail for trainer Doug O’Neill. Mario Gutierrez will ride the 4-year-old Quality Road colt. 

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