The Spa Spot: Morning Breeze
Three graded stakes, two of them Grade 1's, top a 12-race program. Six are on turf. The fun starts with the first post at 1 p.m.
- The Grade 2 Bernard Baruch, the eighth race at 4:39 p.m. begins the stakes trio. The Shug McGaughey-trained Data Link is the morning-line favorite by virtue of two graded stakes wins this season. The War Front 4-year-old won the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland, had a troubled trip in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and beat Get Stormy in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes on June 10. He has been training well at Saratoga for a couple of months and has Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the saddle. Data Link may be trying to run down Dominus, who returned from a one-year layoff to win on August 4. This will be his first turf start.
- On to the Grade 1 Forego, where the talented Shackleford figures to be the favorite over a track where he is 0-for-2 and has been beaten a total of 31 1/2 lengths. Defending champ Jackson Bend will be the sentimental favorite two weeks after enduring a training track collision that left him twitching on the ground. This tough race includes Emcee, who is seeking his first graded stakes win, and Grade 3 James Marvin winner Pacific Ocean.
- Mucho Macho Man arrives at the Woodward in search of his first Grade 1 victory. He is a multiple graded-stakes winner and is in the midst of a deliberate and so far very successful campaign. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is in from California to ride the imposing 4-year-old colt trained by Kathy Ritvo, who had a heart transplant four years ago. The challengers include Stay Thirsty, last year's Travers winner; Cigar Mile winner To Honor and Serve; and Cease, winner of all three of his starts at Saratoga.