Robert Evans’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Tonalist (Tapit) and last year’s GI Travers S. hero V. E. Day (English Channel) each turned in Friday morning workouts over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga as they prepare for the GI Whitney H. Aug. 8.
In company with the 3-year-old maiden Arbitrator (Quality Road), the 2014 GI Belmont S. and GI Jockey Club Gold Cup hero covered five furlongs in 1:01.33, the third-fastest of 11 works over the deep surface with jockey John Velazquez along for the ride. Arbitrator was given a time of 1:01.87.
“It was a nice work,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “I worked him in company and he looked good and came out of it in good shape so far, so life is good. “I’m very happy. The horse looks great. He’s never looked so powerful,” Clement continued. “His flesh is good, his coat is good, his color is good. I’m very happy with everything; it’s just going to be a very tough race. It’s like the Breeders’ Cup before the Breeders’ Cup, but that’s OK. We’ll be there.”
An impressive winner of the GIII Westchester S. in his seasonal return May 2, Tonalist was runner-up to fellow Rising Star Honor Code (A.P. Indy) in the GI Met Mile June 6, but was the subject of a questionable Velazquez ride in the GII Suburban H. July 4 and could not quite get to Effinex (Mineshaft).
V. E. Day worked by himself Friday morning and went an easy half-mile in :49.98, his first work since arriving at the Spa and fifth overall since just missing in the GII Brooklyn H. going 12 furlongs June 6.
Later in the morning, trainer Jimmy Jerkens attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new Saratoga Walk of Fame and honoring ‘Red Jacket’ recipients of 2013 and 2014, including his late father Allen. The pavilion features many artifacts once belonging to the elder Jerkens, including one of his favorite fedoras and the Saratoga Red Jacket awarded to Jerkens last year.
“It’s pretty special,” said Jimmy Jerkens, who was moved to tears by the video tribute to his father. “They did a great job.”