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Forever Together Choice in Glens Falls

Champion Forever Together will negotiate 1 3/8 miles for the first time in her career in Monday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Glens Falls Handicap, the final stakes of the 2010 meet at Saratoga Race Course.


Owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stables, Forever Together was named the 2008 Champion Female Turf Horse after winning the Grade 1 Diana and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and returned to Saratoga the following year to pick up her second score in the Diana.


She is winless in six starts following that race, but has never finished outside the trifecta during that span, which includes a third place finish in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and runner-up efforts behind Wasted Tears and Tuscan Evening in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley and Grade 1 Gamely, respectively. The Glens Falls will be the gray’s second start of the Saratoga meeting, having finished third on July 31 when trying to win the Diana for the third consecutive year.


Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard is hopeful the drop from Grade 1 competition into a Grade 3 will help Forever Together return to the winner’s circle and that the 6-year-old daughter of Belong to Me will handle the Glens Falls’ distance, which is a furlong farther than any race so far in her career.


“She relaxes better now that she has matured, but sometimes she almost relaxes too much,” said Sheppard. “I don’t think the distance will be anything too difficult.”


On Thursday morning Forever Together turned in her final workout in the lead up to the Glens Falls, earning a bullet for her 1:00.68 five-furlong breeze on the main track.


“The clockers got her first three furlongs in 37 seconds, which means she ran the final quarter mile under 24 seconds, and she galloped out well,” said Sheppard. “That was the main objective: to make her come home strong because it will be her longest race.”

Sheppard hopes to use the Glens Falls as a springboard to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont Park on October 2 and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on November 5, with the latter event to be contested at the Glens Falls’ distance.


“She is just a joy to be around,” said Sheppard. “This is her last year, so we’re savoring every race.”


Julien Leparoux will ride Forever Together, the 6-5 morning-line favorite who was assigned 118 pounds and who drew the outside post in the field of nine.


Green Hill Farm’s Casablanca Smile makes a four-week turnaround in the Glens Falls, having finished second in the Waya, a 1 ½-mile restricted stakes held on August 9.


“She’s really had a good month up here,” said Hall of Fame trainer McGaughey. “The Glens Falls is a little quick back off a long race like the Waya. I thought she ran well in it.”


The Glens Falls will be the third start in North America for Casablanca Smile, who won the Group 1 Chilean Derby by six lengths on January 31 in her final start in her native country and dead-heated for third in the Grade 3 All Along at Colonial Downs on June 19. Shared Account, winner of the All Along, returned to finish second in the Diana, while runner-up Dynaslew came back to win the Grade 2 Ballston Spa on Travers Day.


Casablanca Smile, installed at 6-1 on the morning line, will break from the rail under Javier Castellano as the 120-pound highweight.


The Waya’s third-place finisher, Liberally, who was denied second by a neck, will in the Glens Falls have another chance to square off against Casablanca Smile. After beginning her career in Great Britain and France, Liberally has made seven starts in the United States, with the Waya serving as her best effort following her cross-Atlantic journey.

Liberally, tabbed at 12-1, will leave from post position 8 under Rajiv Maragh and 116 pounds.


Keertana was narrowly defeated in her last three starts, with a length serving as the largest margin of defeat. Third in the Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap on June 5 and fifth in the Grade 3 Locust Grove Handicap on July 3, Keertana was second in the De La Rose at Saratoga on August 4 after steadying at the top of the stretch.


Jose Lezcano will ride Keertana, the 4-1 second choice who will break from post 3 under 118 pounds.


Completing the field, from post position 2 out, are Kiawah Cat, Go Ask Alex, Sweet and Flawless, Beauty O’ Gwaun, and Striking Dancer. McVictory will run if the race is transferred to the main track.


The field for the Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap:








Casablanca Smile (CHI)

J Castellano


C R McGaughey III



Kiawah Cat (KY)

J R Velazquez


W I Mott



Keertana (KY)

J Lezcano


T F Proctor



Go Ask Alex (KY)

F Lenclud


J Glenney



Sweet and Flawless (KY)

R A Dominguez


E R Reed



Beauty O' Gwaun (IRE)

A Garcia


C Clement



Striking Dancer (KY)

E S Prado


K G McPeek



Liberally (IRE)

R Maragh


T Albertrani



Forever Together (KY)

J R Leparoux


J E Sheppard


Also Eligible:


McVictory (KY) (MTO)



T A Pletcher







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