Tobys Heart beating along as she preps for G3 Lake George

July 16, 2021

Gift List to skip Saratoga Oaks Invitational

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The throngs of fans rushing to secure their preferred spots when the gates opened at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday morning was a welcome sight for trainer Brian Lynch. 

After holding the 2020 meet without spectators, the 2021 40-day summer meet held its usual buzz on Opening Day. It also means the promise of exciting racing for Lynch, who ran just one starter in last year’s meet at the Spa but will have a full complement of contenders this year.

“I’m glad to be back up here. It’s always fun to be part of and coming off last year, it’s going to be a wide-open meet,” Lynch said. “The energy here has been great. Just this morning, when they opened the gates, to see the rush of people; it’s great to have all that back. It’s top-class racing and it’s just great to be a part of it.”

Among Lynch’s contingent is Tobys Heart, who is on target for the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the inner turf on July 23. 

The Jack Milton filly won the 5 1/2-furlong Limestone Turf Sprint in April at Keeneland over a course labeled good. Stretched out to seven furlongs, Tobys Heart ran fifth in the Grade 3 Soaring Softly in May at Belmont but responded by running second, a half-length back to Navratilova, in the Tepin contested at the Lake George distance on June 26 at Churchill Downs over firm going.

“She’s doing as good as a horse can and we’re looking forward to the Lake George with her,” Lynch said. I really don’t think distance will be a limitation for her. She just had some bad luck and some traffic in her last race but it was a gallant effort.” 

Lynch said Tobys Heart will appreciate returning to the track where she won her first stakes race when capturing the Bolton Landing last year.

“She liked the track, so for sure, it’s good to have that in your back pocket,” Lynch said.

Tobys Heart, owned by Lynch, Terry Hamilton and Gary Barber, was bred in Kentucky by Trackside Farms. He is 3-1-0 in six career starts with earnings of $185,350.

Amerman Racing’s Gift List was initially targeting the Grade 3, $700,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational on August 8 but will have to skip the second leg of the Turf Triple series as she recovers from contracting pneumonia and combating colic.

Gift List ran third last out in the Grade 3 Wonder Again as she was working towards a start in the first leg of the Turf Triple with the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks on Saturday, July 10. She has been shelved since that race but is gradually working her way back to racing action at Saratoga, where Lynch said she hopefully can get a race in before targeting the final leg of the series with the $700,000 Jockey Club Oaks going 1 3/8 miles on September 18 at Belmont.

“She got a little sick on us after the prep for the Belmont Oaks and we haven’t been able to get her completely back on track,” Lynch said. “She’s here and she’s starting to pick it back up in her training, but I don’t think we’ll make the Saratoga Oaks with her. It just knocked her out, but she’s starting to get some wind back in her sails now and perk up. 

“I’d like to get her back for the [Jockey Club] Oaks but get her a race before that at the end of the meet,” he added. “I’m looking forward to seeing her turn the corner – which she is – and get her back soon.”

Lynch will have a starter on Opening Day, with Raroma Stable’s Skyro set to compete in the third race; a $103,000 allowance contest for 3-year-olds going one mile on the inner turf. 

Listed at 15-1 on the morning line, Skyro broke his maiden at third asking in May on the Churchill Downs main track and will make both his turf debut and first race at Saratoga overall, breaking from post 4 with Manny Franco set to ride.

“We’re looking forward to running him on the grass; we haven’t had him there before, and we might be punching a little out of his weight class, but we’ve never been frightened of that before,” Lynch said with a laugh.

Some talented 2-year-olds could look to make their mark for Lynch later in the meet. Among those looking to set to debut for Lynch will be Silverton Hill’s Red Danger, who is entered in Saturday’s fifth race – a $100,000 5 1/2-furlong sprint. 

The Orb colt, who posted his last two breezes on the Saratoga main track, drew post 3 in the nine-horse field and will have Luis Saez aboard.

“He’s been a cool horse to work with and has shown nothing but talent,” Lynch said.

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Tobys Heart won the Bolton Landing at Saratoga August 19, 2020. (Chelsea Durand)

@jonathanstettin What a surprise….thank you—- thank you….I can say I was part of history.

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