Forever d’Oro headed to Travers, stablemate Seeking Blame under consideration
Edited Press Release
Breeder-owner Charles Fipke will be represented by at least one horse in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) on August 27, and possibly two.
Trainer Dallas Stewart said Sunday that Forever d'Oro is headed to the Mid-Summer Derby while he remains on the fence with Seeking Blame.
A son of 2002 Travers winner Medaglia d'Oro, Forever d'Oro was most recently third in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes on July 29 behind Connect and Gift Box, each of whom are Travers-bound. It was his first start since a 13th-place finish in the June 11 Belmont Stakes (G1) in his stakes debut.
Forever d'Oro has worked twice at Saratoga since the Belmont, most recently going a half-mile in :48.34 over the main track on August 12.
"We're planning on running him in the Travers. He was third in the Curlin and ran a pretty good race. I think he'll love the mile and a quarter," Stewart said. "He'll work again. He ran great in the Curlin. I thought he was catching them a little bit. Coming out of a really bad race in the Belmont I thought it was a big step forward for him. He's trained well and I think he'll get the distance, too. Mr. Fipke, he loves the idea of having two in there so we'll see."
Seeking Blame is by 2010 champion older horse Blame, winner of the 2009 Curlin in his stakes debut. Blame would go on to take the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs and Whitney Handicap (G1) at Saratoga before handing supermare Zenyatta her only career loss in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) back under the Twin Spires in his championship season.
Unraced at two, Seeking Blame was third in his May 14 debut before breaking his maiden June 19, both at Churchill Downs. He has not raced since rallying for fifth while making his stakes debut in the Indiana Derby (G2) on July 16.
"I'm 50-50 for the Travers. We're just thinking about it," Stewart said. "The horse had a temperature after the Indiana Derby and I'm just trying to make sure he's in top form. He might need a little more time. We'll check his next work and see how he's doing. I know he can go a mile and a quarter. I just have to kind of analyze it and think it through."
Seeking Blame worked a half-mile in :48.77 over the fast Oklahoma training track on Saturday, his second Saratoga breeze. In the Indiana Derby, run under the lights at Indiana Grand, he raced last of 12 for six furlongs before rallying to finish fifth.
"The jock said with the lights he just couldn't get him going the first three-eighths of a mile. He got to pushing on him and he started catching up down the backside a little bit. He was way, way back but he finished the race good and he galloped out in front of everybody," Stewart said. "If I can't get a real good gauge on him, I'll pass. He's a big horse. He's going to have a real good year next year as a four-year-old so we're just being patient."
In other Travers news, New York Derby winner Hit It Once More, who races for former NFL head coach Bill Parcell's August Dawn Farm, is under consideration for the 1 1/4-mile contest.
Over the weekend, Gary Sciacca, the trainer of the Hard Spun colt, said the Travers and two other Saratoga races, the King's Bishop on the Travers undercard and $250,000 Albany Stakes for New York-breds the afternoon before, were also in play for Hit It Once More.
"We're going to watch him work next week and we're going to take it from there, and make the best decision for the horse," Sciacca said.
Sciacca, who has not started a horse in the Travers previously, said Hit It Once More will work five furlongs on the main track, either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Hit It Once More won the New York Derby at Finger Lakes on July 23 one month after making his stakes debut a fourth-place effort in the Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont Stakes (G1) undercard. He earned a career-best 105 BRIS Speed rating for the victory.
Another under consideration for the Travers is Summer Revolution. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez is still weighing his upcoming stakes options for the undefeated Summer Bird colt, an impressive Spa allowance winner on August 6.
Jeff Drown's Summer Revolution will be nominated to both the Travers and seven-furlong King's Bishop, Rodriguez said. The three-year-old chestnut has captured his two career starts this year by a combined 10 1/4 lengths, including a maiden win at Belmont Park on Independence Day.
"He's doing good. He came out of the race good and he looks happy. I haven't had a chance to gallop him yet but he's fit and he's ready to go. We should be in good shape," Rodriguez said. "The owner was here today and he didn't mention anything. Maybe I'll breeze him a little bit and see what I'm going to do.
"I'm going to nominate him for both races; most likely we're going to see if we can go to the King's Bishop, but we'll see," he added. "We'll probably make the decision together. We're going to try to do the best thing for the horse and take it from there."
Forever d’Oro photo courtesy of Harold Roth/Horsephotos.com