by less than a length in their most recent engagement, familiar foes
Forty Tales and Declan's Warrior will meet again on Sunday in the Grade
2, $200,000 Amsterdam at Saratoga Race Course.
June 8 at Belmont Park, Forty Tales and Declan's Warrior ran 1-2,
respectively, three-quarters of a length apart in the Grade 2 Woody
Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Woody Stephens was the second straight graded stakes victory for Forty
Tales, while Declan's Warrior had his three-race win streak snapped.
They will stretch out from six to 6 ½ furlongs in the Amsterdam,
Saratoga's local prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop
on August 24.
[furlongs] is OK," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Forty Tales for
Perretti Racing Stable. "I think seven's probably a tick better, but if
they go fast enough, it should work out. He's sort of found his niche as
a come-from-behind sprinter, so we continue to focus on that."
bay son of Tale of the Cat, Forty Tales was second in the Grade 2
Hutcheson and fifth in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park during the
winter, both as the favorite, before rallying five wide to hold off
stablemate Capo Bastone and win the Grade 3 Derby Trial at Churchill
Downs on April 27.
Tales has four wins and a second with $459,789 in purse earnings from
six lifetime starts. The 2-1 program favorite, Forty Tales drew post 2
as he makes his Saratoga debut in the field of seven and will be ridden
by meet leader Joel Rosario.
think he's run well every time, but his last two races have been
particularly good so we're hoping for more of the same," Pletcher said.
"Hopefully, this is a race that he can not only do some good in but will
hopefully carry us forward for the King's Bishop, as well."
Amsterdam also will mark the first local start for Declan's Warrior,
who is based much of the year in Saratoga with Hall of Fame trainer Nick
Zito's string at the Oklahoma training track.
Warrior has been first or second in each of his six career starts, with
earnings of $348,770. He will break from post 3 in the Amsterdam with
regular rider Jose Lezcano aboard as the 5-2 second choice.
never ran as a 2-year-old, so this is his first start here," Zito said.
"He trains here. He's an amazing horse, just a treasure. What can I
say? I'm sure he'll run his normal good race. He just gives everything
he's got. He is a true warrior, there's no question. He just likes what
he's doing, and I hope he keeps going."
the Woody Stephens, Declan's Warrior came flying down the stretch from
next-to-last in the 10-horse field, splitting horses after navigating
around a tiring Clearly Now approaching the wire.
just tries all the time," Zito said. "It was really sad last time. Not
taking anything away from Forty Tales because, obviously, he won the
Derby Trial so he's a pretty good horse. It looked like they were going
to hit the wire together and that other horse came right in front of him
and he had to alter course. That was a little disappointing, but he's a
good horse. I hope everything goes good for him."
of the Grade 3 Bay Shore in April at Aqueduct, Declan's Warrior is
special to Zito for more than his on-track success. The colt was bred by
his wife, Kim, and runs in their Lucky Shamrock Stable colors.
always have a soft spot for a horse like this," Zito said. "It's a
mom-and-pop operation. From time to time we have partners, but it's
basically our family. It took 12 years to get a horse like this. It's a
blessing. You just hope it continues."
in from Monmouth Park to challenge the top two is undefeated New
Jersey-bred Rainbow Heir, who is trained by Ben Perkins Jr. for
owner-breeder Everett Novak's New Farm.
speedy son of Wildcat Heir has rattled off four straight wins to open
his career, including a five-length score in Grade 3 Jersey Shore at
Monmouth on July 4.
always had a world of talent," Perkins said. "We're excited. You always
want to see how they can step up and challenge them a little bit, move
them up in class and stretch them farther.
seems like he came off the race really, really well," he added. "He's
always been a nice, relaxed horse. So far, he's had everything his own
way. I know there's going to be a day when he's challenged, and we're
anxious to see how he reacts to that. Coming into the race, he's doing
Heir has won twice at both Laurel Park and Monmouth, and got a look at
the Saratoga surface in a gallop Thursday morning. Listed at 4-1 on the
morning line, he will have regular rider Elvis Trujillo up out of post
handled everything we've asked him to do so far," Perkins said. "In
order to keep winning, he has to keep stepping up. So, here we are."
Each of Rainbow Heir's wins have come in gate-to-wire fashion, which Perkins said has been contrary to his training.
spent a lot of time trying to teach him how to relax," Perkins said.
"He's a very kind, nice and relaxed horse. It's funny; we always work
him behind horses and let him come around them and go on in order to get
him used to coming from off the pace a little bit. But, so far, he's
never been off the pace. It will be interesting to see what happens when
he gets in a spot where he can close on a horse a little bit or sit off
entered in the Amsterdam are Cat Five Hurricane, a recent allowance
winner making his first start outside of Florida for Calder-based
trainer Barry Rose; Mentor Cane, a impressive maiden winner at Belmont
Park on July 6 in his seasonal debut; Mico Margarita, who captured the
Grade 3 Carry Back at Calder on July 6 for his second straight victory;
and Salutos Amigos, who was ninth of 11 in the Woody Stephens in his
most recent effort.