Before heading to the warmth and sunshine of Southern California next Tuesday with Wise Dan for
the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), trainer Charlie LoPresti has a
little business he would like to take care of here Saturday afternoon.
“If all goes well, both will run,” LoPresti said of Villandry and Set the Sail in regard to the closing-day $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
LoPresti won the 2010 Fayette with Successful Dan and repeated in 2011 with Wise Dan.
The Hagyard Fayette will mark the stakes debut for Villandry, a
4-year-old Mr. Greeley gelding who is owned by Antony Beck’s Gainesway
“We’ve always thought he was a stakes horse and have a lot of hope
for him,” LoPresti said. “We tried to get him in the Commonwealth Turf
(G3) last year at Churchill Downs, but he did not have enough earnings
to get in. We ran him in an allowance a few days after that and he got
the same (speed) figure or a point off what Lea got for winning the Commonwealth.”
After getting the winter off, Villandry was all ready to begin his 4-year-old campaign here on April 7.
“He was entered in an allowance where he would have been 3-5,”
LoPresti said. “The day of the race, we noticed he was a little off and
we took X-rays that showed the start of a condylar fracture. So we had
to miss the whole summer with him.”
Villandry finally resurfaced here opening day with a third-place finish going seven furlongs.
“He got in a lot of trouble in that race and probably should have won,” LoPresti said.
Elisabeth Alexander owns Set the Sail, who won a turf allowance race at Churchill Downs on Sept. 14 in his most recent start.
“He has won three of five this year and is doing really well,”
LoPresti said of the 4-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding, whose lone race on
Polytrack came in his debut in March 2012 at Turfway Park. “He trains on
this all the time and that is one of the reasons for running.”
STRONG RESOLVE BECOMES FIRST TWO-TIME WINNER OF THE FALL
Barry Schumer and James Brown’s Strong Resolve became the first two-time winner of the meet Sunday when he romped by 4¾ lengths in the second race for a $16,000 claiming tag.
Trained by Michael Rogers, Strong Resolve won for a $10,000 tag on Oct. 4.
“I was surprised nobody took him after the first time he ran,” Rogers
said of the 4-year-old Elusive Quality gelding who also went unclaimed
Strong Resolve began his racing career in 2011 at Arlington Park,
broke his maiden in his fourth start at Remington Park, then ran at
Sunland Park in New Mexico before winding up at Penn National, where
Rogers claimed him for $25,000 on May 10, 2012.
“I don’t know how he got to Penn National, but I am sure glad he
showed up,” Rogers said. “The owner (Schumer) had bid on him at a sale
and when he saw he was in he wanted to claim him. I had never met
Strong Resolve will not get a chance at a third victory before the meet ends Saturday.
“He has done his work,” said Rogers, who has seven horses here. “He may get a break now.”
Strong Resolve’s two victories here were his first on Polytrack to go with three grass wins in his career.
“His lineage suggests long on the turf and now I have a Polytrack
sprinter,” said Rogers, who will head to Penn National after the meet.
“So I will take him to Presque Isle next year which is where I run in