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Vineyard Haven Returns in James Marvin

Vineyard Haven, unraced since finishing a close third in Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack in November, will make his 2010 debut this Friday, Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course, in the $75,000 James Marvin, which attracted six graded stakes winners among 10 total entrants.


After closing his juvenile season with victories in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful and Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont, Vineyard Haven was acquired by Godolphin Stable and shipped to Dubai where he finished fourth in the 2009 Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas. Sent back to North America, the gray was first under the finish line in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga but was placed second for interference. He made one more start prior to the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile, closing furiously along the rail to win the Grade 1 De Francis Dash at Laurel.


Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 4-year-old son of Lido Palace has been training steadily for his return, having posted 10 official workouts at Belmont Park dating back to May 8. The 3-5 morning-line favorite will break from post position 4 with regular rider Alan Garcia aboard.


Friesan Fire, the 7-2 choice in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, will sprint for the first time since finishing third in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont two years ago. An easy winner of the 2009 Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Friesan Fire was 18th in his bid for the roses and 10th in the Preakness before he was transferred to the barn of Steve Asmussen following the retirement of his trainer, Larry Jones.


In his first three starts for Asmussen, Friesan Fire reported home third in an optional claimer in December, won the Louisiana Handicap in January, and faded to fourth in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap in February, with all three starts coming at the Fair Grounds. He has made once start since the winter, finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill Downs on April 30.


Shaun Bridgmohan retains the mount aboard Friesan Fire, who drew post position 6 at 12-1 on the morning line.

Another Triple Crown veteran who will be cutting back in distance is the 5-year-old Cool Coal Man. Winner of the 2008 Grade 2 Fountain of Youth before going on to finish 15th in the Derby, the Robert LaPenta representative has gone on to win three additional stakes, including a score in the June 12 Skip Away at Monmouth Park in his most recent effort.


Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, Cool Coal Man drew post position 2 as the 6-1 second choice and will be reunited with John Velazquez.


Other graded stakes winners in the field are You and I Forever, who took this year’s Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap; Le Grand Cru, whose three graded victories include the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap at Belmont on May 31; and Atoned, who won the 2008 Grade 3 Pegasus at the Meadowlands.


Half Metal Jacket, claimed for $50,000 by his current trainer Sydney Dutrow out of a victory in an optional claimer at Aqueduct 1, seeks his first stakes triumph. Second to Tizway in an optional claimer at the Big A on April 23 in his first start for his new connections and ninth in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico, he was last seen rallying to win a June 18 optional claimer at Belmont.


Half Metal Jacket, tabbed at 10-1 on the morning line, will break from post position 3 under Ramon Dominguez.


Discreet Treasure, Flat Bold, and Silver Edition complete the field.

The field for the $75,000 James Marvin:








You and I Forever (KY)

J Lezcano


T M Bush



Cool Coal Man (KY)

J R Velazquez


N P Zito



Half Metal Jacket (FL)

R A Dominguez


S Dutrow



Vineyard Haven (FL)

A Garcia


S bin Suroor



Discreet Treasure (KY)

C H Velasquez


B R Brown



Friesan Fire (KY)

S Bridgmohan


S M Asmussen



Le Grand Cru (KY)

G K Gomez


T A Pletcher



Flat Bold (KY)

R Maragh


T Albertrani



Atoned (FL)

R Albarado


N J Howard



Silver Edition (KY)

C H Borel


D W Lukas




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