Stay Thirsty looks to recapture Spa magic touch

A year after sweeping the Jim Dandy and Travers Stakes as a

3-year-old, Stay Thirsty returns to the scene of his last victory

in Saturday’s $750,000, 1 1/8-mile Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race

Course.

Stay Thirsty, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, is

winless in four starts since taking the 2011 Travers and faces six

in the Woodward including Mucho Macho Man, winner of the July 7

Suburban Handicap at Belmont in his last start and ranked among the

nation’s leading older thoroughbreds.

”He’s rounding back into his best form,” trainer Todd Pletcher

said of Stay Thirsty. ”I think he’s training as well as he ever

has. Everybody’s making a big deal about his so-called losing

streak but he’s only run four times since the Travers last year.

We’ve regrouped and freshened for this and I like the way

everything’s coming together.”

Despite having won three of four races this season including a

career-best effort in the Suburban, 4-year-old Mucho Macho Man

enters the Woodward without a Grade I title to his credit.

”We’re ready to go,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. ”He’s training

very well.”

Mike Smith will ride the 8-5 morning-line favorite.

Trainer Bill Mott will put To Honor and Serve on the track

Saturday. He blames a poor effort behind Mucho Macho Man in the

Suburban on the 4-year-old’s dislike for extremely hot weather and

anticipates a better effort in the Woodward.

”I think he’ll run well if we get a decent day,” Mott said.

”We were extremely disappointed with his race in the

Suburban.”

The field in post-position order: Rule (Ramon Dominguez),

Gourmet Dinner (Alan Garcia), Mucho Macho Man (Smith), Trickmeister

(Irad Ortiz), Stay Thirsty (Castellano), To Honor and Serve (John

Velazquez), Cease (Joel Rosario).

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