Foot bruise stops Bustin Stones
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Bustin Stones, the undefeated Grade 1-winning New York-bred, was scratched from Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap because of a bruise in his right front foot, trainer Bruce Levine said.
Levine said he first noticed a problem Friday afternoon after Bustin Stones schooled in the paddock. Back at the barn, Bustin Stones had some heat in his right front foot, but Levine said that the horse has had that issue from time to time. When Levine got to the barn Saturday morning, however, the heat was noticeably worse.
"His foot was on fire," Levine said. "I could throw up."
Levine hoped that Bustin Stones would miss only three or four days of training. During that time, Bustin Stones would stand in a tub twice a day, once with hot water and Epsom salt and once with cold water and Epsom salt. While Levine would like to run Bustin Stones in the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont on Sept. 27, he would also like to run him in a race before then. He all but ruled out the Grade 1 Forego here on Aug. 30.
"I can't afford to miss two or three weeks of training," Levine said. "I used to have time, now I'm running out of time."
Bustin Stones has won all six of his starts, including the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. His career has twice been interrupted by knee injuries. In May, Bustin Stones was forced to miss the Metropolitan Handicap because of illness.
Having to scratch out of the Vanderbilt was a blow to owner Roddy Valente, who lives about 20 minutes south of Saratoga and was planning to bring a large contingent of friends and family to the track.
"I was awake all night," said Valente, who had been informed by Levine on Friday afternoon there was something amiss. "As much as I wanted him to run up here, there's some nice races left for him, and hopefully we can make the Breeders' Cup."
Bustin Stones was the second big name to drop out of the Vanderbilt this week. On Wednesday, Fabulous Strike developed an injured foot as well and was not entered.
Good report on Indian Blessing
Trainer Bob Baffert woke up Saturday morning on the West Coast to some very good news from the East Coast. A phone call from Tanya Terranova informed Baffert that his Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old filly, Indian Blessing, couldn't have looked any better working five furlongs in 59.75 seconds for next Saturday's Grade 1 Test Stakes.
Baffert sent Indian Blessing to John and Tanya Terranova just days before her second-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park on June 7. She has been in their barn ever since, with Saturday's work her first at Saratoga this summer. Indian Blessing won her career debut at the Spa nearly 11 months earlier.
With exercise rider Simon Harris aboard, Indian Blessing came out on the track immediately after the renovation break on one of the busiest training mornings local clockers said they have ever experienced. Breaking off at the five-furlong pole, Indian Blessing covered her first three furlongs in 36.34 seconds before coming home a final quarter-mile in 23.41 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.82, according to Daily Racing Form.
"Bob said he wanted a nice strong five-eighths, and for her to gallop out three quarters in around 1:12 and she just about hit it right on the money," Tanya Terranova said. "And she was on complete cruise control the whole way. She's done just great since she's gotten up here and is happy as can be. Bob was very pleased when I called and told him about the work."
Indian Blessing will go off a prohibitive favorite in the seven-furlong Test coming off an easy 5 1/4-length triumph in the Grade 1 Prioress over a muddy track at Belmont Park four weeks earlier. A small field is likely for the race and is also expected to include J Z Warrior, Ms Margaret H., Palanka City, Sweet Hope, and Tequilas Dayjur.
Munnings wins at first out
Trainer Todd Pletcher's $1.7 million juvenile Munnings got his career off to a good start with a 2 1/4-length victory over the highly regarded Just a Coincidence in Saturday's second race.
Munnings, a son of Speightstown, was purchased by Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier at the February Fasig-Tipton select 2-year-old sale at Calder.
"He doesn't have a lot of family, but it was hard to ignore how good he worked at Calder for that sale," said Pletcher.
Despite hitting the side of the gate at the break, Munnings set fractions of 22.21 and 44.92 seconds while hard pressed by Just a Coincidence from the outset of the six-furlong maiden special weight dash before edging well clear through the final furlong. Munnings completed the distance in 1:09.84 under jockey John Velazquez.
"He ran well, and we think a lot of him," said Pletcher. "Our first thought now is if he comes out of the race well he'll have enough time to return in the Hopeful."
Coa, Garcia appeal suspensions
While the stewards did not make any change to the order of finish of Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George Stakes, they did suspend two jockeys in the race for careless riding.
Eibar Coa, who rode the winner, My Princess Jess, and Alan Garcia, who rode fourth-place finisher Receipt, both received three-day suspensions. For being appealed, however, the suspensions would increase to seven days if they are upheld, as will most likely be the case.
Coa, aboard My Princess Jess, bulled his way through horses at the eighth pole of the Lake George, at which point jockey Julien Leparoux took up on his horse, Stealin' Kisses, who appeared to be tiring at that point.
D. Wayne Lukas, the trainer of Stealin' Kisses, called the stewards from the winner's circle on Friday to inquire about the incident, and was invited up by the stewards on Saturday to view the race with them. He did not do so.
Meanwhile, Garcia was suspended for allowing his horse to drift into the path of Mousse Au Chocolat, who stumbled and nearly unseated jockey Christophe Lemaire, who finished last as the favorite.
Braulio Baeza, the New York Racing Association steward, said the stewards felt My Princess Jess was much the best, which is why they didn't take her down.
Meanwhile, trainer Barclay Tagg said My Princess Jess came out of the race a little tired and would skip the Lake Placid here and point to the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont on Sept. 6.
* Red Rocks, who beat Curlin in the Man o' War at Belmont on July 12, worked four furlongs in 51.40 seconds Saturday over Saratoga's main track. Red Rocks, trained by Mark Hennig, is pointing to the Sword Dancer here on Aug. 16.
* When Baronial won Saturday's third race, he became the ninth winner from as many foals produced by the undefeated champion Personal Ensign. The win came on the day Saratoga held the Whitney Handicap, a race Personal Ensign won in 1988. Baronial is owned and bred by the Phipps Stable and trained by Shug McGaughey.
- additional reporting by Mike Welsch