Winchester, second when
returning from a seven-month absence in yesterday's Stars and Stripes at
Arlington Park, could make his next start in the Grade 1 Sword
Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on August 13, trainer Christophe
Clement said Sunday morning.
Winner of last year's Grade 1 Joe
Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park,
to the sidelines after finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at
Churchill Downs and 11th in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin
Race Course. The 6-year-old son of Theatrical made his first start over a
synthetic surface in the 1 ½-mile Stars and Stripes, which was originally
scheduled for Arlington's turf course.
"He'll train for one of these
major races coming up, like the Sword Dancer," said Clement of the Mr. and Mrs.
Bertram Firestone homebred. "I think it's good he had a race yesterday, even if
he got beat. It should benefit him, and we'll keep trying."
Clement added that Winchester arrived at Belmont this morning and will ship to Saratoga next weekend.
That's when the trainer plans to start Giants Play, who will go in the grade 1
Diana for fillies and mares.
The 1 1/8-mile Diana will be
Giants Play's shortest race to date since her arrival in the United
States. In her most recent start, she earned
her first stakes victory when she held off Zagora by a head in the 1 3/8-mile
Grade 2 New York at Belmont on June 25.
"I would feel better if [the
Diana] was a mile and three sixteenths or a mile and three eighths," said
Clement. "The filly is doing great and is very sound."
Giants Play used to tug at her
rider in the early stages of her races before Clement opted to place a net over
her mouth for the New
"There's no doubt [it made a
difference]," said Clement. "It makes her more manageable for the jock. Her last
race was impressive."
Clement added that Ruthenia, a stakes winner who was third
most recently in the Xtra Heat overnight stakes at Belmont on June 5, will make
her next start in Saturday's Hattie Mosley Stakes, while reigning Champion Male
Turf Horse Gio Ponti will breeze at
Saratoga tomorrow morning in preparation for a possible start in the Grade 1
Arlington Million on August 13.