Abreu Catches Fire Post-Quarantine at Saratoga

Jorge Abreu | Mike Kane


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY–While the July portion of the Saratoga season was frustrating, a bunch of mostly wasted racing days for trainer Jorge Abreu, August has been far more rewarding.

With the bulk of his stable stuck in a quarantine after one of his unraced 2-year-old fillies tested positive for equine herpesvirus, Abreu had one win and two seconds from eight starts between July 16 and July 31. Since the quarantine was lifted, Abreu, 47, has four wins and three seconds and from 13 starters.

“All the horses were ready to go,” Abreu said. “I was just waiting for some races.”

Three of those victories came Friday, Aug. 13. In the capper of a productive three days, his fourth trip to the winner's circle was Sunday when Lawrence Goichman's 'TDN Rising Star' Star Devine (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) won the $120,000 Galway S. on the turf.

Abreu smiled and nodded at the suggestion that the Friday triple made his meet.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “A lot of people only want to win one race here, nevermind three in a day.”

Star Devine, ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez drew the outside post in the field of 10 in her return to sprinting after finishing third in a 1 1/16-mile allowance. She was never too far back early in the 5 1/2-furlong Galway and Velazquez moved her into a challenging position on the turn. Some seven wide in the stretch, closer to the outer rail than the inside, she prevailed by a head at 7-1.

“I thought she was going to come from a little bit off the pace, but she broke so sharply and Johnny just took advantage of it,” Abreu said. “I knew she was going to run well. She was just looking for a little cut back. She's better going short than going long.”

Star Devine is likely to run next in the 6 1/2-furlong $500,000 Music City S. Sept. 12 at Kentucky Downs.

Abreu said the filly, whose illness led to the quarantine at Barn 86, stopping 26 of his 40 horses and all of Kenny McPeek's stable from running, has recovered and is on a farm in New York. She will eventually be sent to a farm in Florida.

“They were going to send her back,” he said. “And I said, 'I don't want her back until next year.'”

Price Talk (Kitten's Joy) started Abreu's big Friday–which yielded $106,700 in first-place money–with a victory by a neck in the second race, paying $5.80 as the favorite. In the fourth, Supply and Demand (Exaggerator) won by a nose and paid $13. Sue Ellen Mishkin (Mohaymen), a Gold Square LLC homebred, won the sixth by 7 1/4 lengths, paying $8.90.

Abreu said he was not surprised with Sue Ellen Mishkin's performance in the maiden special weight for New York-bred 2-year-olds.

“I liked that filly so much I was going to run her first time out in a stake,” he said. “I nominated her for a stake, but then we got in the quarantine and we couldn't run.”

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