SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Trainer Nick Zito has run multiple horses in four of the last six runnings of the Travers. It looks like he's about to make it five in the last seven.
Already slated to run Belmont Stakes winner Da' Tara in the race, Zito said Thursday that Cool Coal Man, third to Big Brown in the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3, would run in the $1 million Travers on Aug. 23. Zito won the Travers in 2004 with Birdstone, finished second in 2006 with Bellamy Road, and ran third last year with Helsinki.
Cool Coal Man earned his way into the Travers after working a solid half-mile in 48.42 seconds Thursday morning over the Oklahoma training track. Cool Coal Man worked in company with fellow 3-year-olds Stevil and Amped. Stevil was timed in 48.86 and Amped in 49.16.
"Beautiful, really good," Zito said of the work. "He's a tough horse."
Cool Coal Man has won 5 of 11 races, including the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in February. After finishing ninth in the Blue Grass over Keeneland's synthetic surface, Cool Coal Man finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby. He came back with a neck win in the Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth before his third-place finish in the Haskell.
"It was okay," Zito said of Cool Coal Man's Haskell. "He tried hard, he looked like he was making up some ground."
Zito said John Velazquez would ride Cool Coal Man in the Travers. Velazquez rode Cool Coal Man to a second-level allowance win at Gulfstream in January.
Entries will be made and post positions assigned for the Travers on Wednesday. As of Friday, the prospective 11-horse field, with riders, looks like Acai (Cornelio Velasquez), Cool Coal Man (Velazquez), Colonel John (Garrett Gomez), Da' Tara (Alan Garcia), Harlem Rocker (Eibar Coa), Macho Again (Julien Leparoux), Mambo in Seattle (Robby Albarado), Pyro (Shaun Bridgmohan), Tale of Ekati (Edgar Prado), Tres Borrachos (Tyler Baze), and You and I Forever (Kent Desormeaux).
Hushion released from hospital
Trainer Mike Hushion was expected to be released from St. Peter's Hospital in Albany on Thursday after having three stents put in to open his coronary arteries, his assistant Graham Wolfram said.
According to Wolfram, Hushion wasn't feeling good on Monday and eventually had an EKG taken at Saratoga Hospital. The EKG showed some abnormalities, and a few hours later Hushion underwent his procedure at St. Peter's.
"As of [Wednesday] night, he was getting out this afternoon," Wolfram said Thursday morning. "But he's doing well. Channing [Hill] and I went to see him."
Hushion, 59, has won more than 1,000 races in a career that began in 1975. Hushion won training titles at Aqueduct in the early 1990s.
Hostess skips Sword Dancer
With the threat of more rain Friday expected to keep the turf course on the soggy side, trainer James Bond elected to keep his 5-year-old mare Hostess out of Saturday's Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational.
"Right now, it's not even worth thinking about," Bond said Thursday morning. "It's disappointing. I've pointed to this for a while. I know it was a stretch, but there was a lot of upside to it."
Bond felt the 1 1/2 miles of the Sword Dancer was a perfect fit for Hostess, who is the only mare to have defeated Mauralakana this year. That win came in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream in March.
Bond said if the turf course here rebounds by the end of the meet, he would consider running Hostess in the Glens Falls Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on Sept. 1, closing day. Bond also said he would consider races like the Flower Bowl at Belmont on Sept. 27 or the Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita on the same day.
Solar Flare injured ankle in Whitney
Trainer Larry Jones, in town to run Proud Spell in Saturday's Alabama, said Solar Flare came out of his seventh-place finish as the favorite in last month's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap with a sprained ankle.
Jones said the horse has recently resumed training and if all goes well he could run next in the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs on Sept. 20. Prior to the Whitney, Solar Flare finished second to Frost Giant in the Grade 1 Suburban at Belmont Park.
Meanwhile, Jones said Kodiak Kowboy, winner of the Amsterdam Stakes here July 28, remains on schedule for a start in the Grade 1 King's Bishop here on the Travers undercard. Kodiak Kowboy won the Amsterdam by a head over Desert Key, running 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.56 and earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 108.
"You know you're setting yourself up for a bounce, but if this horse is going to bounce, it's going to surprise me more than anybody in the world," Jones said. "He has done just really good since that race. We're excited."
Saratoga, 9th Race - August 14, 2008
Run Away and Hide wins Saratoga Special
Trainer Ronny Werner kept Run Away and Hide out of the Sanford Stakes here on July 24 because he felt the horse needed more time to be at his best. The extra three weeks obviously did Run Away and Hide some good as he recorded a 1 1/4-length score in Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special.
Break Water Edison finished second by 5 3/4 lengths over favored Reynaldothewizard, who got away slowly when he was unprepared for the start.
Under Robby Albarado, Run Away and Hide settled nicely in fourth position early while racing along the rail. Join in the Dance set the pace, hounded by Unsung Song early. Breakwater Edison made a three-wide run to the leaders at the quarter pole, while Albarado waited for room along the rail to open.
When Join in the Dance, under John Velazquez, floated off the rail turning for home, Albarado gunned Run Away and Hide on through and he outkicked Break Water Edison for the victory. Run Away and Hide, a son of 2000 Saratoga Special winner City Zip, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.67 and returned $8.80.
"He was so kind about [rating] and he was getting along, taking dirt pretty well I thought I'd bide some time," Albarado said. "Johnny's horse in front was just hanging on that rein like he'd drift a little bit turning for home and he did. It worked out great; I just had a great trip and a very nice horse. That's what it takes."
Werner said Run Away and Hide would not run back in the Grade 1 Hopeful here on Sept. 1.
* Earlier on the card, Megapixel ($3.90) outfinished Law Enforcement to win the $81,250 Van Raalte for New York-bred 3-year-olds by a neck. It was another head back to Be Bullish in third.
Megapixel, under Edgar Prado, covered seven furlongs in 1:22.28. Megapixel, a son of Tale of the Cat, is owned by Flying Zee Stables and trained by Carlos Martin.