Lady Rocket Readies for G1 Ballerina
Mo Strike Training Forwardly for G1 Hopeful
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Gold Square’s multiple Grade 1-winning Cyberknife had his final breeze Saturday in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers August 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by 2021 Travers winner Brad Cox, the son of Gun Runner breezed five-eighths in 1:00 flat over Saratoga’s main track, where he has posted three workouts since he captured the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 23 at Monmouth Park , a win that saw him earn a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure.
“Excellent move, galloped out great and cooled out good,” said Cox. “We’re all set. He’s doing about as well as he can do and we are excited about the race.”
After finishing a distant 18th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in May at Churchill Downs, Cyberknife rebounded to capture the Grade 3 Matt Winn in June at the Louisville oval before his Haskell feat over Grade 1-victor Taiba.
Cox said that those two wins since Cyberknife’s run in the Kentucky Derby and the scorching pace endured during the Derby makes a case for drawing a line through the distant finish.
“He was too close to the hot pace,” said Cox. “That was the kind of race you just draw a line through and act as if it never happened. That’s what we’ve done. He’s got a good race record since and a good race record before, and we think as long as we have a good week, we’ll show up and run a big race.”
A $400,000 purchase out of the Fasig Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase, Cyberknife is a lifetime 9-5-2-0 with $1,596,520 to his name.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and Ten Strike Racing’s multiple graded stakes winner Lady Rocket breezed Saturday at Churchill Downs, going five-eighths in 1:00 and will ship from Kentucky to run in the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina on August 28 here. The seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in November at Keeneland.
Never worse than fourth in fourteen career starts, Lady Rocket took a field of seven wire-to-wire in the Grade 3 Chicago at Churchill in June and has continued to train over the Louisville oval in preparation for the Ballerina.
“She breezed really good at Churchill this morning,” said Cox. “She’ll ship, not exactly sure which day, but midweek she’ll make it here, and looking forward to giving her another opportunity in a Grade 1.”
Cox expressed confidence with how Lady Rocket has progressed towards a return to Saratoga where she won on debut in 2020.
“She ran big last time and had plenty of time to recover,” said Cox. “Her schedule’s been very, very good lately and we’re excited about another swing in a Grade 1.”
The 5-year-old Tale of the Cat mare made the grade in December at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap. She has won races at six different racetracks and has banked just shy of $700,000 in her career, going 7-3-2 over 14 starts.
Nassar Bin Omairah’s Mo Strike has trained forwardly since capturing the Grade 3 Sanford Opening Weekend at Saratoga Race Course and is still on target for the Grade 1, $300,000 Hopeful on Closing Day of the Spa meet.
“He’s going to breeze tomorrow [Sunday] morning on the main track. It’s 15 days out,” said Cox. “He’s doing really well. He’s definitely grown since the Sanford physically and we like what we’ve seen.”
Cox said that Mo Strike is capable of improvement in his Grade 1 debut.
“I think he needs to move forward, but I think he has moved forward just based off him physically and mentally,” said Cox. “He’s been a pretty intelligent horse and we’re excited about taking a swing with him in a Grade 1.
“He’s faced two big fields in his two starts and lots of times these young horses don’t get that opportunity so he does have a lot of experience,” added Cox. “He faced adversity last time with just shipping in here three days before the Sanford. He fended off horses in both of his starts and really showed his ability to finish up in a race.”
Donegal Racing and Joseph Bulger’s Grade 1-winner Arklow will make his next start at Kentucky Downs in the Grade 2 Kentucky Turf Cup September 10, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in November at Keeneland. Arklow has continued to train over the Oklahoma training turf since his runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Saratoga Race Course.
The 8-year-old son of Arch will breeze again on Friday, as Cox said he wants to get Arklow on a slightly different training schedule going into Kentucky Downs. A winner of over $3 million in his career, Arklow is 9-9-2 in 37 career starts.
Peachtree Stable’s multiple graded stakes-winner Tawny Port, last seen finishing third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga, returned to Churchill Downs last week and is targeting the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing September 24. He breezed a half-mile in 49.80 Saturday on the Churchill Downs main track.
Tawny Port captured the Grade 3 Ohio Derby two starts back where he defeated next out Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational winner Classic Causeway.
“He breezed this morning at Churchill. He’s doing really well, said Cox. “He had a work here last weekend, shipped to Churchill midweek, had a nice, easy move this morning.”
The son of Pioneerof the Nile is a lifetime 8-4-1-1 with just shy of $800,000 in earnings.
NYRA Press Office
Main photo: Cyberknife after his G1 Haskell victory (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)