by NYRA Press Office
Following a third in her seasonal bow in the Grade 1 Just a Game on June 27 to stable mate Newspaperofrecord, reigning Champion Turf Mare Uni is a possibility to face colts in the Grade 1, $400,000 Fourstardave on August 22 at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Chad Brown, Uni suffered her only loss of 2019 in last year's Fourstardave, where she made up 17 lengths to finish third, beaten 2 ½ lengths to a track-record setting performance by Got Stormy. The 6-year-old daughter of More Than Ready solidified championship honors in her next two starts in taking the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland where she set a new course record for one mile on the turf and the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
"The only Grade 1 going a flat mile on the grass at Saratoga is against boys. Will we try it? Probably," said Bradley Weisbord of BSW/Crow Bloodstock, who manages Uni on behalf of owners Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables. "She was an unlucky loser last year to Got Stormy. We could take that route again this year and try to protect our title in the First Lady at Keeneland and the Breeders' Cup Mile."
Since joining Brown's all-star shed row in 2017 after beginning her career in France for Fabrice Chappet, Uni has placed in all but one of her 13 starts for the four-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner, including a total of eight stakes victories over six different tracks. Additionally, all of her last nine starts took place going a flat mile.
"She's won on soft turf before, but [jockey] Joel [Rosario] said she was struggling with the turf that day," Weisbord said of the Just a Game. "She probably needed the race. She had a splint issue in April and breezed four or five times heading into the Just a Game so she wasn't super cherry heading into the race and you have to be cherry to beat a filly like Newspaperofrecord. Hats off to Chad for getting her back to Grade 1 form. She'll be tough the rest of the year."
In 2018, Uni won twice over soft and yielding turf in the De La Rose at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Noble Damsel at Belmont Park. Although the turf was listed as "firm" for the Just a Game, there were rain showers in the Elmont area earlier in the program.
Uni, bred in Great Britain by Haras D'Etreham, is out of the Dansili broodmare Unaided.
Rockemperor who was a close second in the Grade 1 Manhattan to stable mate Instilled Regard, could target the Grade 1, $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic on September 5 at Churchill Downs.
The Brown-trained son of Holy Roman Emperor had dead aim on the pacesetters when four-wide at the top of the stretch under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, briefly took command within the final half-furlong, but was nosed out of victory by stablemate Instilled Regard.
"It's hard to know what his best distance his, but a mile and an eighth should hit him right over the head," Weisbord said. "We've gotten beat a lot in stakes, but what made that such a brutal beat was because he had the horses in front of him collared. I don't think the horse or Johnny saw Instilled Regard coming."
Still in search of his first North American victory, Rockemperor has placed in four of his five starts in the United States. He made his seasonal bow in the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic at Fair Grounds before being disqualified from second to third in the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham at Santa Anita.
Rockemperor is owned by Madaket Stables in partnership with Michael Dubb, Wonder Stables, Michael E. Kisber and Bethlehem Stables.
Bred in Ireland by Haras du Mezeray, Rockemperor is out of the Muhtathir broodmare Motivation and comes from the same family as multiple graded stakes winner on turf Yagli. Both hail from the prestigious lineage of prolific broodmare Best In Show.
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Xanthique possible for stakes action following allowance victory
Trainer Tom Morley said he was delighted to see Xanthique defeat a salty allowance group over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park on June 28 and could race the daughter of Into Mischief against stakes company next out.
Owned by VinLaur Racing, Xanthique secured a third career victory in 11 lifetime starts in the one-turn mile event which was her second start of the year and came after a second beaten four lengths to Madita on June 3. She made her last start of 2019 with a fourth as the beaten favorite in a one-mile allowance over the Keeneland turf.
Xanthique boasts a consistent record of 5-3-1-0 at Belmont Park.
"We sent her to Margaux Farm after her race at Keeneland and they did a phenomenal job with her," Morley said. "She didn't hold a lot of weight as a 3-year-old. She grew, got longer and carried more weight when she came back in. She's had to sit on go for a while. We had her on the AE list at Churchill twice. We never shipped her down there. She had been ready to run for a long time without getting to race, so I was extremely pleased when she did get to run finally. She ran an excellent second and showed a lot of guts. Then I rolled the dice with her. She's a better filly around one turn than two. I discussed with the owners and I said it might be a little quick to come back off the layoff, but she was in very good health and the race is the right race for her."
While Xanthique is likely for stakes action in her next start, the whereabouts are still unknown.
"Stakes action somewhere," Morley said. "She's already stakes placed so it's important that we can get her a stakes win."
In her lone stakes effort, Xanthique was third in the restricted Riskaverse last August at Saratoga, where she finished 1 ½ lengths to Catch a Bid.
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Clement sends White Flag to Connaught Cup (G2); Decorated Invader on target for Hall of Fame (G2)
Multiple graded-stakes placed White Flag, trained by Christophe Clement for Robert S. Evans, will ship north to Woodbine for Saturday's Grade 2 Connaught Cup.
The 6-year-old War Front horse has made two previous trips to Woodbine finishing third in the 2017 Grade 2 Nearctic and third in last year's Grade 1 Highlander. He enters the seven-furlong sprint over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course from an even fifth in the Grade 1 Jaipur contested June 20 at Belmont.
"He's training very well," said Clement. "I think the distance is a great distance for him going seven-eighths."
West Point Thoroughbreds, William T. Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning's Grade 1-winner Decorated Invader continues to train well towards the Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall Of Fame at nine furlongs on the Saratoga turf on July 18.
The Declaration of War bay captured the Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine in September and closed out his campaign with a closing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita. He is undefeated in two sophomore starts with wins in the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream in March and the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge on June 20 at Belmont.
Decorated Invader breezed a half-mile in 48.28 Monday on the Belmont main track and Clement said the colt is ready for his next battle.
"He worked on Monday and went OK," said Clement. "He'll run next week in Saratoga in the Hall of Fame."
Decorated Invader is also targeting the $500,000 Saratoga Derby, first leg of the Turf Triple Series for 3-year-olds slated for August 15, which is expected to feature the first matchup with stablemate Gufo, a fellow Declaration of War progeny who won the Grade 3 Kent last out at Delaware Park.
Clement will unveil Harrell Ventures, Kenneth G. Beitz, Gail P. Beitz, and West Point Thoroughbreds' Classic Colors in Saturday's opening race, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden sprint on Big Sandy.
The Street Sense bay, out of the unraced Tale of the Cat mare Flaunted, was a $170,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale.
"She's trained forwardly," said Clement. "I'm not sure if she's a sprinter as such, but she is ready to run. We will probably have to stretch her out next time, but she has done everything right so far."
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Saratoga Race Course Week 1 stakes probables
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Grade 3, $100,000 Schuylerville
Probable: Beautiful Memories (Mark Casse), Dayoutoftheoffice (Timothy Hamm), Hara (Antonio Sano), Moochie (John Robb), Queen Arella (Roderick Rodriguez), Quinoa Tifah (Juan Alvarado), Thoughtfully (Steve Asmussen)
Possible: Xtrema (Keith Desormeaux)
Grade 3, $100,000 Peter Pan
Probable: Candy Tycoon (Todd Pletcher), Caracaro (Gustavo Delgado), Celtic Striker (Ray Handal), Country Grammer (Chad Brown), Mo Hawk (Rodolphe Brisset), Modernist (Bill Mott), Mystic Guide (Michael Stidham)
Possible: Hockey Puck (Eric McClellan), Money Moves (Pletcher), Skyscanner (Jeremiah O'Dwyer)
Friday, July 17, 2020
$85,000 Shine Again
Probable: Bella Ciao (Sano), Blamed (Mott), Estilo Femenino (Asmussen), Honor Way (Charlton Baker), Indian Pride (Brown), Slimey (David Cannizzo)
Possible: Gotham Gala (Arnaud Delacour), Lady Kate (Eddie Kenneally)
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Grade 1, $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks
Probable: Altaf (Brown), Antoinette (Mott), Crystal Ball (Bob Baffert), Velvet Crush (Brisset)
Possible: Blame Debbie (Graham Motion), Tempers Rising (Dallas Stewart)
Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall Of Fame
Probable: Decorated Invader (Christophe Clement), Domestic Spending (Brown), Field Pass (Mike Maker), Mr. Kringle (John Terranova)
Possible: Moon Over Miami (Mott), Sunsation (Kelsey Danner)
Sunday, July 19, 2020
$150,000 Lake Placid
Probable: Cat's Pajamas (Motion), Lashara (Casse), Onyx (Alvarado), Speaktomeofsummer (Clement)
Possible: Sweet Melania (Pletcher)