Sweetnorthernsaint to take weekend off

February 14, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Reporter

Those looking forward to the showdown between Maryland-based Sweetnorthernsaint, the 2006 Preakness runner-up, and Maryland-bred Ah Day, the seven-time stakes winner, will be disappointed to learn Sweet- northernsaint will skip Monday's $300,000, Grade II General George Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"Sweetnorthernsaint is going to pass on this weekend," said trainer Michael Trombetta, who had nominated the horse to the General George and Saturday's $115,000 John B. Campbell Handicap. "Our plan all along was not to rush him, and I've only had a chance to breeze him once since we shipped him back from Florida."

Trombetta said Sweet- northernsaint "ran hard and well" in two losses in Florida last month before shipping back to Laurel Park.

"His owners told me that unless I was feeling confident that he was very much on top of his game, we wouldn't run him," Trombetta said. "We want to do what's best for him. Part of the reason for giving him the summer off was to get him fresh for this spring.

Trombetta said he would run You're Bluffing, a 7-year-old campaigner who has 14 victories at Laurel Park, in the Campbell or the General George.

Racing canceled today -- For the first time in nearly two years, Laurel Park canceled its live racing program for today. Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale said the closing was an effort to protect the horses and preserve the racing surface. It is the first time races have been called off for weather reasons since Feb. 24, 2005. Four of the nine races will be re-carded for Saturday's 10-race program that includes the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap and the Campbell handicap. There will be simulcasting at Laurel and Pimlico today.

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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