With Regal Ransom, Bank
Merger, Buffum, Girolamo, and Vineyard Haven in the
barn, Godolphin Racing will be well represented in upcoming stakes races at
eight and fewer furlongs. Now they just have to decide where they’ll spot each
member of the talented group.
Rick Mettee, assistant to
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said both Regal Ransom and Bank Merger are
under consideration for the seven-furlong, Grade 1 Forego on September 3, the
final Saturday of the Saratoga meeting.
Regal Ransom, winner of the 2009
Group 2 UAE Derby and Grade 2 Super Derby, was most recently 11th in
Churchill Downs’ Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 18, all at 1 1/8 miles.
He made one sprint start in 2011, finishing second to Grade 1 winner Capt.
Candyman Can in the Sir Shackleton at Gulfstream Park in April.
“We’ll see how tough [the Forego]
comes up,” said Mettee. “We know it will be a good race.”
Winner of last year’s Gallant Bob
at Parx Racing after finishing second in the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop,
Bank Merger could return in the Forego after finishing seventh in Saratoga ’s Grade 1 Alfred
G. Vanderbilt Handicap at six furlongs on August 7.
“Bank Merger was a little
disappointing the other day,” said Mettee. “We didn’t think he’d win, but he was
off the bridle pretty early in that race. Maybe it was just the kickback.
[Jockey] Julien [Leparoux] thought he’d be a lot better at seven than six, so we
might just give him another chance in the Forego.”
After finishing fifth in the
Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas ,
Buffum returned to the United
States where he finished fourth in the Grade 3 Bay Shore in
April at Aqueduct Racetrack before his 10-length romp in an entry-level
allowance at seven furlongs on August 7.
“He was ready to run in the World
Cup, but he didn’t get into the UAE Derby,” said Mettee. That’s why we ran right
off the plane, and that race turned into a pretty tough race. We didn’t realize
at the time how tough it was. [Jockey] David [Cohen] said he’d run anywhere from
six furlongs to a mile. It’s just that seven furlongs is that nice, intermediate
Despite Buffum’s affinity for
seven furlongs, the 3-year-old son of Bernardini will bypass the Grade 1
Foxwoods King’s Bishop on August 27, Travers Day.
“Saeed and Sheikh Mohammed spoke,
and they definitely did not want to bring him back in a race like the [Foxwoods]
King’s Bishop,” said Mettee. “We didn’t even nominate him for that – we didn’t
want to be tempted. We just kind of thought it’d be throwing him off the deep
end. We’ll look for something later at Belmont .”
Godolphin is biding its time with
Grade 1 winning 5-year-olds Girolamo and Vineyard Haven, who haven’t raced since
they respectively finished third and seventh in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap
in November at Aqueduct.
“Vineyard Haven might be a little
bit in front of Girolamo,” said Mettee. “They’re both probably in the same boat.
We kind of want to keep the two apart. There’s a race like the Fall Highweight
[Handicap Grade 3, six furlongs, Aqueduct Racetrack, November 24], but Vineyard
Haven will probably be ready to run before that. He wasn’t going to be ready to
run in races like the Forego. The Vosburgh [Grade 1, six furlongs, Belmont Park , October 1] is probably too tough of
a comeback race. There’s no hurry to bring him back. This will probably be his
last year of racing, so we’ll just try to get a couple of nice spots for
Godolphin has a better idea where
Girolamo will make his return.
“Girolamo, we’ll probably go Bold
Ruler [Grade 3, seven furlongs, Belmont Park , October 29] with him. That’d be a
good comeback race for him, and then probably the Cigar Mile [Handicap Grade 1,
Aqueduct Racetrack, November 26].”