A field of seven was entered for Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga, but only six will go as trainer Ian Wilkes announced Thursday morning that Fort Larned would scratch.
Wilkes said the horse came out of a morning gallop Thursday will a ”hind end issue” and will skip the race and point toward the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park on Sept. 24.
Fort Larned finished third in the race last year before winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), paying $20.80.
“This morning the horse wasn’t himself behind,” Wilkes told the Daily Racing Form. “I don’t think it’s anything serious. You have to be 110 percent in these races. These are good horses.”
That still leaves an outstanding field for the 60th running of the race. Successful Dan is the 5-2 morning line favorite coming off a runner up finish in the Whitney Handicap (G1), his first trip over the Saratoga main track in his career.
The Bob Baffert trained Paynter is the second choice at 3-1. The colt makes his third start since returning from a battle for his life. The colt developed colitis, followed by laminitis after winning the Haskell Invitational (G1) last year at Monmouth Park.
The colt returned off nearly a year on the bench with a good looking allowance win, earning a 114 Beyer Speed Figure, a career best. He then ran a good second to Kettle Corn in the San Diego Handicap (G2) over polytrack in his last start, earning a 100 Beyer.
Flat Out (7-2) comes into the race off a sharp win in the Suburban Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park. The seven-year-old is winless in three trips over the Spa main track, checking in third in last year’s Whitney.
Mucho Macho Man (6-1) is winless in three starts this year, last out checking in third in the Whitney. The Kathy Ritvo trainee was beaten just a neck in last year’s Woodward by the Bill Mott trained To Honor and Serve.
Mott will send out Ron the Greek (12-1), who was fourth in the Whitney in his last outing. The six-year-old has lost four in a row since taking the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January.
Completing the field is Kiaran McLaughlin trained Alpha (15-1), who finished in a deadheat in last year’s Travers (G1) and has won three of his four trips over the Saratoga main track.
The co-feature on Saturday’s card is the $500,000 Forego (G1) which drew a field of nine including the even money entry of Fast Bullet and Justin Phillip, who are both owned by Zayat Stables.
Fast Bullet is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and has won four of his five career starts, winning the True North Handicap (G2) in his last outing. Entrymate Justin Phillip is coming off a victory in the A.G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) over the Spa main track in his last start.
Silver Max is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the $$250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2). The colt took the field gate to wire to win the Oceanport (G3) at Monmouth Park in his last outing.
The Dale Romans trainee has won nine of his last 15 starts and this will be his first trip over the Spa turf course.
The stakes action will be televised on NBC Sports Network as part of the “Summer at Saratoga” series which gets underway at 4:00pm eastern.
|1||Ron the Greek (FL)||J Castellano||W I. Mott||12-1|
|2||Successful Dan (KY)||J R. Leparoux||C LoPresti||5-2|
|3||Fort Larned (KY)||B Hernandez, Jr.||I R. Wilkes||4-1|
|4||Flat Out (FL)||J Alvarado||W I. Mott||7-2|
|5||Paynter (KY)||R Bejarano||B Baffert||3-1|
|6||Mucho Macho Man (FL)||E S. Prado||K Ritvo||6-1|
|7||Alpha (KY)||J R. Velazquez||K P. McLaughlin||15-1|
|1||Javerre (NJ)||K Carmouche||C A. Lynch||12-1|
|2||Jackson Bend (FL)||J Castellano||S I. Gold||10-1|
|3||Sage Valley (KY)||C H. Velasquez||R R. Rodriguez||7-2|
|4||Lea (KY)||B Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||A M. Stall, Jr.||12-1|
|5||Saratoga Snacks (NY)||I Ortiz, Jr.||G Sciacca||6-1|
|6a||Fast Bullet (KY)||L Saez||D Wayne Lukas||Even|
|7a||Justin Phillip (KY)||J R. Velazquez||S M. Asmussen||Even|
|8||Strapping Groom (KY)||J Alvarado||D Jacobson||10-1|
|9||Golddigger’s Boy (PA)||A S. Arroyo||R Preciado||20-1|
$250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap
|1||Paris Vegas (KY)||R Napravnik||T H. Voss||12-1|
|2||So Long George (KY)||E Wilson||J Charalambous||8-1|
|3||Turallure (KY)||J R. Leparoux||C LoPresti||6-1|
|4||Willyconker (IRE)||I Ortiz, Jr.||E J. Guillot||20-1|
|5||Tetradrachm (KY)||J R. Velazquez||W I. Mott||7-2|
|6||Za Approval (KY)||J Bravo||C Clement||3-1|
|7||Silver Max (KY)||R Albarado||D L. Romans||9-5|
(Odds courtesy of NYRA)