McCarthy will try to upset Saratoga in Ballerina


SARATOGA SPRINGS – In the spring, trainer Michael McCarthy had one of the best 3-year-olds in the country at Rombauer.

He won the Preakness. Then he finished third in the Belmont Stakes. McCarthy was hoping he would be in the spa town with his flashy colt for a possible race in the Travers. McCarthy is in town, but Rombauer isn’t.

McCarthy will lead Ce Ce in Category I, $ 500,000 Ballerina on Travers Day. The 5-year-old mare is the 4-1 second pick on the morning line behind the imposing Gamine, who is 3-5 after winning all three starts this year by a total of 16 1/2 lengths.

“Gamine is fast; she’s incredibly fast,” McCarthy said Thursday morning at the Oklahoma practice track. “I can’t worry about her. I have to worry about my filly. I’m going to drive her there knowing that she is as well as she can be. Crazy things are happening here in Saratoga. . “

Before going on his own in 2014, McCarthy spent 11 years as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Todd Pletcher. This Ce is sleeping in Pletcher’s barn while he’s here.

She has won two of three starts this year, both over the Ballerina distance of seven stages. On her last start, the daughter of Elusive Quality won the Grade II Princess Rooney at Gulfstream Park on July 3 by 3 1/4 lengths. In total, she has six wins in 13 career starts.

She will be ridden by Hall of Fame racer Victor Espinoza, who will make his first appearance at Saratoga since riding Triple Crown-winning American Pharoah in second place at the 2015 Travers.

As for Rombauer, he is at Peacefield Equine Rehab Farm in Temecula, California. McCarthy hopes to get it back in 60 days. He is not injured, he just has free time.

“I didn’t think he was as sharp as he was in the days of Preakness and Belmont,” McCarthy said. “The horse has had a pretty steady campaign. As you know, picking up and traveling can take a bit off you. It was a big demand for a young horse. In his eight (career) races he had been in six different tracks.”

McCarthy is hopeful for a 2022 campaign and has said races like the Pegasus World Cup (a race he won in 2019 with City of Light) and the Saudi World Cup could be on his radar.

“I just want to grab it and get it going and let it sail where we’re going,” McCarthy said.

McPeek doesn’t like the odds

The horse with the longest odds in Saturday’s Travers is King Fury, who was assigned 15-1.

Coach Kenny McPeek was a little surprised when he saw this. King Fury finished second in the Ohio Derby on June 26, being beaten by a half-length by Masqueparade. He was a nose in front of Keepmeinmind. These two horses are in the Midsummer Derby.

“We separated those two and we really thought we could argue that he should have won that day,” McPeek said. “He got beaten in the second lap and had to rally and still almost won the race. He’s a good colt and he’s going to make his presence felt.”

In his preparation for Travers, King Fury finished 10th in the Grade I Saratoga Derby on Grass.

McPeek wanted to have Curlin’s son run in the Jim Dandy here on July 31, but the horse, like all McPeeks, was in quarantine due to a case of equine herpesvirus in the barn.

“I’m not a player. The price is the price,” McPeek said of Travers odds. “When Golden Ticket won (the Travers 2012 at 33-1 in a tie with Alpha), no one cared. When Sarava won (the Belmont in 2002 at 70-1), no one cared. may be better. No pressure. “

Risk aversion

A day after winning five races, Mechanicville’s Chad Brown kept warm as he secured three more horses in the winner’s circle on Thursday. The coach’s third victory was won by the $ 120,000 Riskaverse for 3-year-old fillies on indoor turf.

Rastafara, making his first start against the winners, won the race by 1 1/2 lengths for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

“It’s a morale booster for the team and gives you confidence for the future,” Brown said of the eight wins in two days. “Anytime you’re on a winning streak it just seems to be contagious throughout the barn. Hopefully we can continue and end the game strong.”

Brown rose to number one in the coaching ranks as he now has 30 winners, six more than Mike Maker.

Rastafara, owned by Peter Brant, paid $ 6.20, $ 3.80 and $ 3.10 and covered the distance in 1: 35.53 on the firm course.

The horse did not run like a 2 year old.

“She was a filly that we always thought about a lot,” said Brown. “Unfortunately she had some minor issues at age 2 and Mr. Brant has been so patient with her.”

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