Tobey Morton's Pacific Gale is training forwardly heading into the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap for Wednesday, July 24, trainer John Kimmel said. The race will be drawn on Friday.
Pacific Gale, fourth last out in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Bed o' Roses Invitational on June 7 at Belmont Park, will be cutting back to the Honorable Miss's distance of six furlongs and will pick up the services of jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. for the first time.
“Right now, she's sitting on go,” Kimmel said. “She'll have a new pilot with Irad. I just think she didn't run her A race the last time. But I think coming into this race, she's doing really well.”
On Wednesday, Pacific Gale recorded her second four-furlong breeze on Saratoga's Oklahoma training track since shipping from Belmont Park earlier this month, stopping the clock in 50.94 seconds.
“She's doing really well. It's looking like six or seven horses now and I guess Mia Mischief will be the probable,” Kimmel said. “I think it's time. She's been knocking on the door.”
The 4-year-old Flat Out mare has registered a pair of runner-up efforts in graded stakes in her four starts this year, including a second to Come Dancing in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Distaff on April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack, earning a personal-best 98 Beer Speed Figure. She earned a 94 for her hard-closing second, by a neck, to Heavenhasmynikki in the 6 ½-furlong Grade 3 Vagrancy on May 11 at Belmont.
Among the listed probables for the Honorable Miss are Mia Mischief, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen; Chalon; Dawn the Destroyer; Honey Bunny; and Ours to Run.
Chester and Mary Broman's Mr. Buff will make his next start in a stakes at Saratoga, with Kimmel saying the $100,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds on August 7 remaining the targeted spot as a pathway to the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward on August 31.
Kimmel said the 5-year-old three-time stakes winner could possibly run in the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on August 3 under the right circumstances.
“We'll nominate him for the Whitney, but it's either the Evan Shipman to the Woodward or the Whitney, if it all falls apart,” Kimmel said. “But he's doing excellent.”
The Evan Shipman is contested at 1 1/8 miles, will be the same distance as the Jazil, which he won by 5 ¼ lengths on January 26 at the Big A. Since winning the Alex M. Robb in his return to stakes company in December, Mr. Buff has won three times in five starts and finished third once, where he ran behind Giant Expectations and Pat on the Back in the Commentator on May 27 at Belmont, following a ninth-place effort in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on March 23 at Fair Grounds.
The Friend or Foe gelding is coming off a 6 ¼-length score in the Saginaw on June 30 at Belmont, earning a 100 Beyer in drawing away for the 1 1/6-mile route on Big Sandy.
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