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Sheppard Pair Eye Saratoga Stakes

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard
Jonathan Sheppard’s gray gals – champions Informed Decision and Forever Together – are slated to make their next appearances at Saratoga Race Course.

 

Informed Decision, the reigning Champion Female Sprinter, is targeting the Grade 1 Ballerina on Travers Day. The 5-year-old will be cutting back in distance and returning to conventional dirt in the Ballerina, having captured the one-mile Windward over Presque Isle’s artificial surface on July 27 last time out.

 

“We didn’t have many options between the race in Chicago and the Ballerina, and the weights were advantageous as they were allowance conditions for horses who have won going a mile or longer,” said Sheppard, who trains both mares for George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable, of the choice to run in the Windward.

 

Informed Decision began her 2010 campaign by finishing third in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison at Keeneland and in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs, then was all out to win the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park by a head. Rinterval, runner-up in the Chicago Handicap, flattered Informed Decision on Saturday when she finished a neck behind undefeated Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch.

 

“When she ran in Chicago she had a harder time of it than we expected,” said the Hall of Famer conditioner. “The horse who made her work for it [Rinterval] didn’t have the best form. It wasn’t until after Saturday’s race that we realized she was the horse who finished second to Zenyatta.”

 

Informed Decision, currently at Presque Isle, will be shipped to Saratoga sometime next week.

 

“We’ll gallop her for three or four days after she arrives and give her one workout before the Ballerina,” said Sheppard.

 

Forever Together, the 2008 Champion Female Turf Horse who was third in the Grade 1 Diana on July 31 when attempting to win the race for the third consecutive year, is being pointed towards the Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap on Closing Day, Monday, September 6.

 

“There’s good spacing between then Glens Falls and the Flower Bowl [Grade 1, October 2 at Belmont Park],” said Sheppard. “The negative is that it’s a handicap and she’ll probably have to give a lot of weight.”

 

The Glens Falls’ 1 3/8th-mile distance was also a factor in Sheppard’s decision.

 

“The Breeders’ Cup is 1 3/8ths miles this year, so we want to keep her in longer-distance races,” said Sheppard. “As she has gotten older she has developed more stamina and has learned to switch it off early.”

 

 

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