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Post Time: Casse duo scratches out of tonight's Prince of Wales

By Gene Kershner

FORT ERIE -- The Daily Racing Form's Bill Tallon is reporting that Mark Casse has scratched both Dynamic Sky and the filly, Spring in the Air, out of tonight's $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes. The second and third choices on the morning line did not make the trip down to Fort Erie from Woodbine for the race.  The race was already lacking the Queen's Plate winner Midnight Aria who is taking a break from racing for trainer Nick Gonzalez. The loss of two starters means that six horses will enter the gate this evening in Canada's richest race on dirt.

Casse will still have two horses in the race with the favorite, Uncaptured who will now become an even shorter price with the defection of his stable mates, and Jagger M. The scratches also mean that the debut of the Kentucky Derby winning jockey Joel Rosario at the border oval will not happen. 

Dynamic Sky came up with an issue last night that will prevent him from running and he will now be pointed at the Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown on turf. Spring in the Air will be pointed at the Wonder Where Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, a turf race for 3-year-old fillies bred in Ontario.

First post tonight at Fort Erie on its twilight Prince of Wales card is scheduled for 4:15 p.m., with the feature going off as race 8 at approximately 7:47 p.m. The second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes will be run over 1 3/16-miles at the border oval.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Friday racing notebook

By Gene Kershner 

This weekend marks the return of the 3-year-old division into the racing spotlight with the $1 million Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and the $600,000 Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga. Some familiar names such as Oxbow, Palace Malice, Mylute and Verrazano will be gracing racetracks on the East Coast this weekend.

The 1 1/8-mile Haskell has served as a stepping stone to the 3-year-old division champion in recent years and has also been a haven for the Preakness champion to double up on this race. That certainly would serve Oxbow's cause, as he won the Preakness this year and is in the thick of the 3-year-old divisional chase with a runner-up finish in the Belmont. 

The Haskell has attracted six other runners including Derby runner-up Golden Soul and Grade 3 Pegasus winner Verrazano to challenge Oxbow for this prestigious Grade 1 win. Bob Baffert changed gears earlier in the week and decided to send Power Broker to the Jersey Shore instead of the Spa based on some stellar workouts of late. Baffert has had tremendous success in the Haskell winning the last three editions and a record six total Haskells.  

Todd Pletcher sends Micromanage for Repole Stables in addition to Verrazano, seeking his third Haskell title after winning back to back Haskells in 2006 (Bluegrass Cat) and 2007 (Any Given Saturday).  

There is definitely some speed in the race and I think we'll see the late developing Power Broker overtake the likely early leaders Oxbow and Verrazano in the stretch. Micromanage could also pick up the pieces if there is an insane early pace, but otherwise he doesn't have the speed to contend with these. 

Post Time Outlook (Haskell): 1 - Power Broker; 2 - Oxbow; 3- Verrazano 

The Jim Dandy has 10 horses entered at Saratoga (Vyjack is entered in both the Haskell and the Dandy) and the Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice is the morning line favorite at 5-2 and will have Mike Smith flying in from California for the mount. The Belmont champ has been working very well for trainer Todd Pletcher who will look to sweep both races on the coast this weekend. 

The main challenge will come from Mylute (7-2) who returns from his third place finish in the Preakness, Rosie Napravnik retains the mount on the son of Midnight Lute. In addition to Mylute, Baffert will test Code West's (6-1) ability by throwing him into the deep 3-year-old division waters after taking a softer route with him through the Triple Crown season. 

Code West downed Uncaptured by a head in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs under the lights last month. It will give Western New Yorkers a look at how tough Uncaptured will be next week in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie based on his effort in the Dandy. He is a stalking type horse so I'm sure he won't let Palace Malice get away with easy fractions. 

I'm looking for this to be Mylute's breakout race of the summer. He should savor the 9-furlongs and I think with Freedom Child in the race, Palace Malice will have to work on the front end. I think Code West will face a class test and will need one before playing him harder in the Travers if he does well in here.  

Post Time Outlook (Jim Dandy): 1 - Mylute; 2 - Palace Malice; 3- Code West  

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Running notebook: Stormy weather

It was certainly a memorable night at the Subaru Race last week. It started in broiling weather, and was cooled a bit in mid-race by clouds to the north that blocked the sun. Those same clouds produced violent thunderstorms later in the night. Race director Jim Nowicki was thankful that at least the storm held off until well after the event was over. That sort of storm would have caused many, many problems had it turned up about 7:15 p.m.

By the way, I was in the truck that led the men's leaders around the course. World-class athletes are amazing to watch. The lead pack cranked out 4:40 miles like clockwork for three miles, and then the eventual winner turned it up a notch. By the way, all of the top runners were complaining about their times afterwards. I was tempted to tell them: "It was hot!"

It's a busy Saturday and a barren Sunday on the race schedule. Last Sunday featured four races. You'd think someone might have noticed that and done a little shifting to try to draw a bigger crowd. Here's the lineup, courtest of

* Lake View Field Day 5K Ruyn, Center St. & Lake View Road in Lakeview, 8 a.m. Saturday, 698-4005. It's a tradition - the earliest non-marathon of the year.

* East Aurora Rerun, 5K, Firemen's Field in East Aurora, 9 a.m. Saturday, 652-3732.

* St. Amelia Amazing Race 5K, 210 St. Amelia Dr. in Tonawanda, 9 a.m. Saturday, 834-5741. The organizers were very helpful and nice on a registration issue I had. Their first race is off to a good start.

* Jason Raby Memorial 5K Run, Lewiston-Porter High School in Youngstown, 11 a.m. Saturday, 751-8281. I should ask someday what the Lewiston-Porter school is doing in Youngstown.

* St. John's Bash and Dash 5K, 1085 Englewood Ave. in Tonawanda, 7 p.m. Saturday, 435-5115. And the Ronald McDonald House Run comes up on Wednesday, which is always one of the big races of the summer.

-- Budd Bailey

Porter Cup first-round recap

By Jay Skurski

On top: Justin Shin, a 21-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., fired a 6-under-par round of 64 that included a 29 on the back nine. Shin birdided five of his final six holes.

In the hunt: Beau Hossler, and 18-year-old from Mission Viejo, Calif., and Tyler Dunlap, a 20-year-old from Trophy Club, Texas, shot 5-under 65 to sit one shot back. Both Hossler and Dunlap are ranked in the top 100 of the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings, Hossler at 92nd and Dunlap at 98th.

Tough finish: Patrick Rodgers, the 2011 champion, was even for his round on the 16th tee, but made a bogey on the par-3 16th hole and followed that with a double bogey on the par-4 17th to fall to 3-over 73 for his round, in a tie for 46th.

Marquee groupings: Defending champion Richy Werenski, Denny McCarthy and Michael Johnson go off at 9:20 a.m. today, followed by the grouping of Hossler, Gavin Hall and Charlie Bull at 9:30, then Rodgers, Max Homa and Benjamin Taylor at 9:40 a.m.

By the numbers: The scoring average for the 84 players in the field was 72.37. There were 15 players to turn in rounds under par. The toughest hole was the 463-yard par-4 fifth hole, at an average of  4.44 strokes, while the 552-yard par-5 third hole played the easiest, at 4.62 strokes.

Friday forecast: Sunny, high of 75 degrees. Winds 10-15 mph.


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Post Time: Princess of Sylmar wins CCAO at Saratoga

By Gene Kershner

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Princess of Sylmar backed up her Kentucky Oaks victory with her second straight Grade 1 win at Saratoga Race Course winning the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (CCAO) on Saturday afternoon by six lengths over her closest rival. The Majestic Warrior filly trained by Todd Pletcher, has opened up a sizable lead in the 3-year-old filly division with the win over 1 1/8-miles at the historic race course.

Princess of Sylmar made her move around the far turn and under the guidance of Javier Castellano took over at the top of the stretch and cruised home under a hand ride. She completed the 9-furlongs in 1:37.83 and returned $6.30 for the win, $3.50 for place and $2.60 to show. My Happy Face finished second for trainer Chad Brown paying $3.80 to place and $3.50 to show. Marathon Lady completed the trifecta that paid $72.50 for a $2 wager and paid $3.30 to show.

Castellano was happy to regain the mount on Princess who was ridden by Mike Smith in the Kentucky Oaks. "I had a beautiful trip, the way I handicapped the race, I really liked it. Todd gave me a lot of confidence in the horse and I really appreciate that Todd gave me back the horse. She rode like the best horse in the race. I'm really proud," said Castellano.

The pace scenario wasn't too fast and Castellano was able to stay close enough and save his horse for the later portions of the race.  "The thing about it, it was a small field today and she was able to come from behind and she did a great job," said Castellano.

Owner Ed Stanco from nearby Schenectady has been living on cloud nine since the win in the Oaks on the first Friday of May. Winning a Grade 1 race at Saratoga keeps the momentum going for the talented sophomore filly. "I was thrilled the day we won a maiden race here with our New York-bred and here we are with this. This is really, really a special time, it is," said Stanco.

If she remains healthy, Stanco knows exactly what the next two steps on her dance card are. "If she comes out well, she goes to the Alabama and then we'll finish at the Cotillion," said Stanco. The Grade 1 Alabama will be run at the Spa on August 17 over 1 1/4-miles. The extra furlong shouldn't be a huge issue for the chestnut filly who looked to have plenty in the tank after she galloped out today.

In the other graded stakes race on the card, Todd Pletcher completed the stakes sweep when Authenticity ($3) won the 84 Lumber Shuvee (Grade 3) after dawdling fractions. She will be pointed towards the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on August 25.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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Post Time: Dead Heat in the Schuylerville

By Gene Kershner

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Opening day at Saratoga endured some blazing hot temperatures, some long shot winners and a dead heat in the 95th running of the $150,000 Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The dead heat capped off a day of racing that saw temperatures in the 90s for the most of the afternoon.

Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah hit the wire together in the six-furlong juvenile race that was run in 1:12.12. Brazen Persuasion with rider Rosie Napranik aboard paid $2.80 to win, $3.30 to place and $2.30 to show. Bahnah paid $2.40 to win, $2.70 for the place and $2.20 to show. Bahnah was ridden by Kentucky-based jockey Corey Lanerie.

Bahnah's win was the first for trainer Bret Calhoun at Saratoga.  "It was a good way to get a first win, I've started a few here and it was the right way to break my maiden," said Calhoun.

Calhoun thought both fillies deserved credit for the win and had a feeling the dead heat was a possibility. "Steve's [Asmussen] horse was taken a lot of pressure out there and hat's off to that horse who ran a game, game race. I thought and one point when we inched up to her that we would get on by, and then right there at the wire I thought I might have got to her, but when I saw the replay over and over the first thing I thought was it might be a heater," said Calhoun.

For Asmussen his filly Brazen Persuasion broke her maiden at Churchill Downs going six furlongs three weeks ago on June 29. He was happy with Napravnik's ride and thought his filly gritted out the win after setting torrid early fractions of 21.75, 44.68 and 57.72.

"She broke sharp, and was away real cleanly. The entry [Yes Liz] tackled her immediately coming into the stretch I thought she got a little separation  and then you saw the other filly coming, but they fought really well to the wire," said Asmussen.

Overall it was a terrific day of racing at the Spa. The two other non-graded stakes were won by Hessonite in the On the Bus Stakes and Sage Valley in the James Marvin Stakes. Tomorrow has an 11-race card on tap highlighted by the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.