Tom Albertrani is on the move during training hours. The classic-winning trainer splits time between his string on the main track and Godolphin’s Greentree Training Center.
The main-track string is housed in a quiet corner of the backstretch in Barn 24 with a few others in Barn 23. Dan Stupp oversees that string while Albertrani is assisted by Dave Wallace at Greentree.
“The year has been going pretty well,” Albertani said. “If it wasn’t for a couple of photo finishes, it would have been a whole lot sweeter. We still have another half-year to go, that’s usually when we start picking things up a little more. We’re optimistic, we still have some nice horses running.”
Albertrani enjoyed had a solid Belmont Park spring meeting, hitting at 19 percent from 37 starters with another seven seconds. Albertrani has received a handful of horses from Don Alberto Corp. The trainer has won at least one race with every Don Alberto horse he has started this year. The Chilean-based outfit owns Andina Del Sur, who won the Grade 3 Florida Oaks earlier this year for Albertrani.
Albertrani started seven runners Opening Weekend, two of which were narrowly defeated in runner-up finishes. After a trip back on the golf cart from Greentree to his barn on the backstretch, he took a few minutes to talk to The Special’s Ben Gowans following training Tuesday.
Sadler’s Joy: The big horse. Last year’s winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer for Woodslane Farm started his year off with a win the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida and finished second in each of the long-distance Grade 1s offered at Belmont. “I was really proud of how he ran last time in the Man o’ War. I thought that was one of his best races, cutting back to a mile-and-a-quarter, which isn’t his best distance. I thought he put in a real good effort. He’s sharp and ready to go. He likes it up here. He looks great and he’s been enjoying the cooler weather. He can still be a little bit of a handful at times, which you want to see. I get a little nervous when I see them too quiet. I like to see them a little bit aggressive, and he’s been doing that since we’ve been here. I couldn’t be any happier going up to a race on the way he’s been training and the way he looks.”
Andina Del Sur: A winner going 6 furlongs in her first start last fall at Belmont’s fall meet, 3-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway placed in two stakes at Gulfstream this winter before winning the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. She finished fourth Opening Day in the Grade 3 Lake George. “I was hoping to see her a little closer but she wasn’t beaten very far off. There’s room for improvement with her. Maybe we’ll look at the Lake Placid.”
No Regrets: Chalk Racing’s gelding finished second Sunday in a starter allowance. The turf sprinter has finished second in three of his six starts this year. “He ran huge. He’s a horse that has been improving and just now starting to come into his own. I was a little surprised he got caught the other day but his form has been improving, I’ve been really happy about that.”
Beau Belle: Mark Anderson’s 3-year-old filly placed in maiden races in Kentucky last fall and this spring. She almost won in her first start for Albertrani Saturday, coming up just a neck short in a 1 3/16-mile turf maiden. “She came to me about a month ago. I got a call from Mark Anderson and they decided they wanted to move the horse here to me. We really liked the way she trained going into the first race. She’s a half-sister to Sadler’s Joy’s mother so she’s got some pedigree there. She ran a really good race and I was proud of her. Hopefully she can improve off that.”
Andarta: Chris Larsen’s 2-year-old Declaration Of War filly finished fifth in New York-bred maiden special weight Opening Day. “She ran big. I thought she was going to pull the upset, just came up a little short. She’ll get a lot of experience out of that first start and could be tough next time around.”
Fully Vested: Four-year-old Discreet Cat gelding makes third start in today’s seventh, a 6-furlong maiden special weight. Third in a similar maiden here last year, he hasn’t been out since finishing seventh Sept. 1. “He’s been training forwardly. He’s had some time off. He’s had some minor issues he’s had in the past but he always seems to run well up here. Hopefully we can get his maiden broken.”
Lunaire: Four-year-old Malibu Moon gelding is entered in Saturday’s sixth, a 1-mile allowance on the turf. “He’s running the same day as Sadler’s Joy, his half-brother. He’s done pretty well. He’s always getting a piece of purses, hopefully there’s also some room for improvement with him as well.
Itsakeyper: Homebred for Rob Masiello and Albertrani, 2-year-old daughter of Brilliant Speed is out of the Discreet Cat mare Finders Key. Albertrani trained the sire and dam. Finders Key was sold by Darley at auction and Albertrani later claimed her for Masiello in her second to last start. Itsakeyper is her first foal. “She made the radar, huh? She’s been training really well down at Belmont. I ran her on the dirt first time because she was working really well. Brilliant Speed was the same way. I got fooled by running him on the dirt first and he got buried twice. There’s a long story behind how we got her and how we named her. The mare was really, really fast in the mornings. She ran a couple of nice races for me. She ended up being sold off in one of the sales up here in Saratoga. I just kind of followed her, I claimed her back one day for $16,000 just because she had never tried the turf and I had a gut feeling she might like it. I ran her back for $25,000 and won in 1:08.2. She had an issue after that and we had to stop on her and then I bred her to Brilliant Speed. We weren’t sure if we were going to sell this filly or not. We decided to keep her and we called her Itsakeyper with a little pun on the mare’s name.”
Ready For Rye: Chalk Racing’s 6-year-old City Zip gelding has been in the top three in 18 of his 28 starts and banked $817,090. Capable on all surfaces, he won an off-the-turf optional at Belmont at the end of May and was seventh in the Grade 3 Parx Dash July 7. “We’re looking at probably the Troy with him. Last race, we ran him at Parx. He didn’t get a great break and had a rough trip. He runs well up here too. Hopefully he can pick it back up.”
Fear No Evil: Maryland-bred 4-year-old filly didn’t break her maiden until her 11th start last August at Laurel Park. She’s found a home sprinting on turf and has won three times since. “She’s been in great form. She’s really come around as an older filly. Her last race was very impressive. We’ll probably just try to knock out the three-other-than allowance race here in about a week.”
Special Thing: Don Alberto 3-year-old homebred daughter of Tapit out of the Storm Cat mare Smara posted her her first gate work for Albertrani Saturday, a half-mile in :49.11. “She came to me about a month ago. Been training forwardly. We’ll probably get her started in a week or so, just kind of see how she does. At first, she was a little bit high-strung, but she got into the program and actually has done pretty well.”
Lady Montdore: A winner in France for Andre Fabre, Godolphin homebred was third in the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville last August. Four-year-old filly is by Medaglia D’Oro out of Grade 1 winner and Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner-up Hystericalady. “She’ll make her U.S. debut here in a couple weeks. Another filly who looks like she can show some promise going into these longer races on grass. She’s here for turf but dirt might be something we can try later.”
Kentucky Wildcat: Go Cats. Chestnut 2-year-old colt is a son of Tapit and the Albertrani-trained Better Lucky, a multiple Grade 1 winner on turf and runner-up in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Two-yearold Godolphin homebred has worked out the gate in his last two breezes. “He’s out of Better Lucky and by Tapit, so there’s a lot of pedigree there. He’s been working well. He’ll make his debut pretty soon. Don’t know what surface he’s going to prefer, but we’ll try dirt and see how he handles it.”
Spa Treatment: Chester and Mary Broman’s 4-year-old Bernardini filly broke her maiden in her 11th start at Aqueduct in April. New York-bred was third in an allowance closing week at Belmont. “Named after Saratoga right? She ran well last time, had a lot trouble. We’ll give her a little space between her races and see her run up here short on the grass.”