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Breeders Cup 2015

Settle For Medal Eyes Hopeful


Trainer Mark Hennig said he will try his recent maiden graduate Settle for Medal in the Grade 1, $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful for 2-year-olds on Saratoga’s Closing Day, September 6.


In his first start on July 2, Settle for Medal broke awkwardly and was last through the first quarter of a mile before rallying to be a distant third to Boys At Tosconova, who is expected to be the favorite in the seven-furlong Hopeful.


“I think my horse ran a good race despite what he had to overcome,” Hennig said. “He got off slow, got dirt kicked in his face, and managed to be third.”


Four weeks later, Settle for Medal broke well, rated, and made a strong stretch run to draw off by two lengths at 21-1 at the Spa on July 31. While Hennig knows the Hopeful will be a challenge, he is hoping the added eighth-mile and a strong pace will set it up for his colt.


“The Hopeful will be a tough race,” Hennig said. “I think the more horses with speed that are thrown into the race, the more it will help my horse. I also think the added ground will benefit him as well.”

Sovereign Default remains on target for the Three Chimneys Hopeful, according to trainer Rick Violette.


A two-length winner at Belmont Park in his lone previous effort, Sovereign Default breezed five furlongs on the main track yesterday in 1:01.44, eighth quickest at the distance.


“We just wanted to have him go five-eighths and gallop out well, and that’s what he did,” said Violette, who conditions the colt for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence.


Sovereign Default was entered in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 16, but was scratched and his stablemate Bail Out the Cat competed instead, finishing second to Kantharos.


“Bail Out the Cat was doing very well, and I thought Sovereign Default could benefit from the three additional weeks,” said Violette.

Sovereign Default will have a formidable opponent in the Three Chimneys Hopeful in Boys At Tosconova, but Violette has been encouraged by the subsequent performances made by Sovereign Default’s vanquished opponents following the July 15 maiden race. Stay Thirsty, second in that heat, broke his maiden by 5 ½ lengths at Saratoga on August 14, while fifth-place finisher Air Support returned to prevail by nose at Saratoga on August 13 in a 1 1/16th-mile turf event.


“It’s certainly been a key race,” said Violette. “He beat some nice horses that day.”  


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