Breeder-owner Charles Fipke will be represented by at least one horse in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers 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 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 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes June 11 in his stakes debut.
Forever d'Oro has worked twice at Saratoga since the Belmont, going a half-mile in 48.34 seconds over the main track 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 who would go on to take the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga and defeat Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic in his championship season.
Unraced at 2, Seeking Blame was third in his debut May 14 before breaking his maiden June 19, both at Churchill Downs. He has not raced since making his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby 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 seconds over the Oklahoma training track on Saturday, his second Saratoga breeze. In the Indiana Derby, run under the lights at Indiana Grand Race Course, 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 4-year-old so we're just being patient.”
Stewart said 2015 Grade 1 Preakness runner-up Tale of Verve continues to do well following his Spa allowance victory July 24, while Forever Unbridled remains on course for the Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign and Tom's Ready for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One King's Bishop, both on August 27.
“We just have to keep them intact, keep them healthy and see how it goes from there,” he said.
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