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Jul 26, 2013

Workouts for Whitney hopefuls


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - A trio of probable starters for the $750,000 Whitney Invitational on Aug. 3 at Saratoga had workouts Saturday at the historic track.

Both Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man had five-furlong workouts ahead of the 1 1/8-mile Whitney and Alpha worked a half-mile.

Fort Larned, trained by Ian Wilkes, went the distance in 1:03.81. The 5-year- old won last year's Whitney and most recently the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 15.

"It was a little slower than what I wanted," Wilkes said about the work, "but the track was a little dead this morning, and it was a work to set up a work. "We'll come back (next week) and get a major work with him off this.

"He got a lot out of his last race. He ran fast (1:47.45) and the track wasn't a fast track that night."

Fort Larned has won nine of 22 lifetime starts for $4,031,417.

Mucho Macho Man, second to Fort Larned in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, covered five furlongs in 1:01.61 with exercise rider Nick Petro.

"He had a great work this morning, and we're looking forward to the Whitney," said trainer Kathy Ritvo. "He'll have one more work; the day will be dependant on the weather."

Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Mucho Macho Man was eased in the Florida Sunshine Millions on Jan. 9 after failing to handle the sloppy Gulfstream Park track. He came down with a mild virus that kept him out of the Gulfstream Park Handicap, a race he won last year.

He came back on June 14 at Belmont Park in the Criminal Type Stakes and finished third.

"His last race was a good comeback race for him," said Ritvo. "It reminded us of the Alysheba last year, when he finished third and then came up and won the Suburban Handicap."

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Alpha was timed for the four furlongs in 51.77 seconds for his first workout since finishing fourth in the Suburban on July 6 at Belmont Park.

"It was just a maintenance work," said McLaughlin. "It's going to be a tough race, but he likes Saratoga, so we'll see.

"(The track) was kind of weird today because it was wet, but it's no big deal. He was fine. It was just a little half-mile. He's fit and ready. He'll have to work back next week, and we'll make a decision."

Alpha won the Jim Dandy at Saratoga last year and finished in a dead heat with Golden Ticket in the Travers.

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