Saratoga Race Course will host six
graded stakes next week, and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will be strongly
represented in three as he plans to send out Aviate in the Grade 1
Diana, Dynazaper in the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap, and Moryba
in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap.
Aviate, a 4-year-old Juddmonte Farms
homebred, will attempt to return to form in the July 30, 1 1/8-mile Diana on
grass after finishing sixth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Just a Game,
contested at Belmont Park on June 11 over a turf course labeled “good.” It was
the third start in the United States for Aviate, who was third in the Grade 3
Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park in March prior to her victory in the Grade 2
Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs in May.
“We feel that firm turf is a little
better for her,” said Mott, who is aiming for his second consecutive Diana
victory after winning last year’s renewal with Juddmonte’s Proviso. “The ground
[in the Just a Game] might have bothered her. It was a little softer than I
thought it will be.”
Although the Diana will be Aviate’s
first start beyond a mile in the United States, the daughter of Dansili won the
2010 Group 3 Musidora going 1 5/16 miles at York in England as a 3-year-old.
On July 31, Mott will be represented
by Dynazaper in the 1 1/8-mile Ruffian Invitational Handicap for fillies and
mares and by Moryba in the 1 1/16-mile Fourstardave Handicap for older turf
Lakland Farm’s Dynazaper, who
previously plied her trade on turf and artificial surfaces, was switched to
dirt for her most recent start, taking a June 8 optional claimer by 9 ¼ lengths
under a hand ride.
“We switched her from the turf to
the dirt, and she ran a real big race last time,” said Mott. “Although it was
an allowance race, it was a very good race from her.”
Correas Thoroughbreds’ Morbya, a
Group 1 winner in Brazil, has made four starts in the United States, winning an
optional claimer at Gulfstream in January, finishing third by a head in the
Grade 2 Mervyn H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap at the Fair Grounds in March,
reporting home sixth in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill in May, and
fading to fifth in the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs on June 18. All four
starts came at distances of 1 1/8 miles or longer.
“We’re going to shorten him to 1
1/16 miles and see if it helps,” said Mott.
One horse Mott nominated to the
Diana who will likely not run is Juddmonte’s Deluxe, a daughter of Storm
Cat and Hasili, making her a half-sister to champions Dansili, Banks Hill,
Intercontinental, and Champs Elysees, and to Grade 1 winners Heat Haze and
Cacique. Deluxe has raced exclusively in France, where she followed a
fourth-place finish in the 2010 Group 1 Prix de Diane with a listed stakes
“She’s probably not ready for the
Diana,” said Mott of the 4-year-old, who has posted 10 workouts at the Spa
going back to May, including a 49.67 four-furlong breeze on the Oklahoma
training track Friday morning. “We’re going to do the best we can with her.
She’s a nicely bred filly we hope to move up the ladder. We’ve had her all
winter, since sometime in January. Sometimes, you don’t move fast.”