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2012 Saratoga Summer thread!

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  • Original Poster

    Wow talk about depressing Sunday's "openhouse" with steeplechasing resulted in three horses being euthanized.

    "I can't emphasize enough how rare this is," [NSA director, Bill Gallo] said in a phone interview. "It's not attributable to anything weather-related or course-related. The horses came from top barns in top shape."


    • #22
      Wifi now, too!

      The Spa is catching up! And now those guys who lug around laptops can use them to even place bets (and I guess, do everything else ) on the web, too.

      Nice that Commentator is back home. I also saw him at Old Friends KY last spring. It was a dreary day, and almost no one else knew who he was, but I did!!

      I went to the last 5 opening days in a row with an old friend. This will be the first year he misses in over 30 opening days in a row. But I'll at least get a bet in and catch the first race from home. The James Marvin looks good. Loved Caixa Eletronica before Repole picked him up last year. But I love over half the field! Not unusual at The Spa.

      Everyone who's going to opening day, have a great time!
      But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


      • Original Poster

        "Girl power" reigns again with the opening race of Del Mar taken by Chantal and now the 1st race of Saratoga.

        Rosie - at a fat price of 13-1 - rode the James Bond trained Nine O Wonderful to a closing finish over Ramon D. aboard a short favorite.

        "Do you expect me to talk Goldfinger?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to win!!"

        The weather looks great there and the railbirds are as thick as they get!


        • Original Poster

          Opening Day pictures from the Times Union

          Race 6 - $40k purse, $20 claim - with Presumptive over Best Actor: $2 exacta payoff was $535 which is just barely enough for 2 drinks and a steak at Siro's


          • Original Poster

            Babe, despite the 10-year ban, surfaces with a victory in the first graded race at Saratoga:Pacific Ocean, trained by Rick Dutrow wins the James Marvin S (Grade 3) ... if he's bothered by the court loss it wasn't showing as he was all smiles, backslaps, and laughs in the winner's circle


            • Original Poster

              Always a good read - the daily publication from the Clancy team at Steeplechase Times: Saratoga Special (free) in pdf form or digital on-line

              These guys always have something interesting to read about, some ok picks, and the fun "overheard" section up front plus Tod Marks (and others) pictures.

              As an aside - per another thread - I see that Magnier/Taber/Smith had a horse run today - Kansas (2-yr old Maiden, Race 5; took 2nd) - wearing completely different silks than I've seen that partnership before.


              • Original Poster

                Opening day numbers - and glitches

                Attendance, on-track handle and total handle all posted gains over the 2011 totals, but throughout the day there were problems with the wireless Internet, public address system and the track’s water pressure.

                The attendance of 25,676 was up 2.1 percent from 25,155 last year, when it was much hotter. On-track handle for the 10-race card Friday totaled $4,075,817, up 14.8 percent from $3,551,745 last year.

                All-sources handle was $16,690,234, up 5.2 percent from $15,871,449 in 2011.

                However, the public address system was faulty in the grandstand.

                Also, the free wireless Internet New York Racing Association trumpeted Thursday never could sustain itself for long, resulting in frequent outages, including in the press box for most of the day.

                Finally, the water pressure dropped at certain spots throughout the facility, including the first-floor grandstand, jockeys’ room and press box.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post

                  As an aside - per another thread - I see that Magnier/Taber/Smith had a horse run today - Kansas (2-yr old Maiden, Race 5; took 2nd) - wearing completely different silks than I've seen that partnership before.
                  Those are Derrick Smith's silks. The same ones worn by St Nicholas Abbey when winning the BC Turf last year. So You Think wore them in the BC Classic. Treasure Beach wore them at Arlington when winning the Secretariat Stakes. The Baffert trained Castaway wore them in several the KY Derby prep races. Camelot won the Guineas and both the Epsom and Irish Derbies wearing them.


                  • Original Poster

                    A Spa fan who will always be there - "On opening day, family spreads ashes at man's favorite spot at Saratoga Race Course."

                    It wasn't a difficult decision for his family. Spreading a small portion of Don's ashes where he always sat seemed the right thing to do.

                    "Everybody in my family thinks this is completely appropriate," Christian said. "I'm sure he'd feel the same way. This is where he'd want to be."

                    Nobody loved racing more than Don — every aspect of it, from the handicapping to the beauty of the horses to the ambiance at the track. He called the day before the track opened Christmas Eve. Opening day was Christmas.


                    • Original Poster

                      Saturday (7-21) spotlight race Coaching Club American Oaks with deja vu! Questing’s victory was the second straight in the CCA for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Stable, who won the race a year ago with It’s Tricky.

                      Video: $300,000, 94th edition Grade 1 Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks

                      Side note - I believe TVG stated that in order to be a member of the CCA you need to be able to drive four in hand. No easy feat!


                      • Original Poster

                        (Video) Following Royal Delta's barely victorious effort in Delaware, she shipped up to Saratoga - arriving in the wee hours. As noted she now has a "Do Not Disturb sign outside her stall.

                        Her next effort will be the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap Aug. 26.

                        A horse on the Derby trail for Augustin Stables but fizzled before earning enough in graded money - Ever So Lucky is up at Spa. He recorded a work Sunday (7-22) morning in advance of his expected start in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin on Friday July 27th. He is a recent allowance winner at Delaware Park for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

                        (pdf) Saratoga Special for 7-22-12 highlighting today's key feature the $200,000 Sanford Stakes (G2). Although one horse - Bern Identity - is up for a fat bonus if he finds victory.

                        Off his monster maiden win at Belmont in June when he won by 13 ¾ lengths he's eligible for a hefty bonus should he follow up with a Sanford win. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has launched a program in which two-year-old maiden winners at the Aqueduct spring meet or the recently-concluded Belmont spring-summer meet are eligible for a $100,000 bonus if they win a graded stakes race this year at the Saratoga meet, the Belmont fall meet, or the Aqueduct fall meet.
                        Also in the Sanford and in line for the bonus: Starlight Racing's Rose Junction and Repole Stable's Onetwentyeight


                        • #32
                          Finally had a chance to go through PPs for today, and betting from home.

                          A little sad to see Silver Timber in a 20k claimer, after having won over $760k for his connections, although he does love Saratoga, and fits in here now with his age and diminishing ability. Considering who could pick him up, I just wish owners who've realized a substantial earnings from a horse, would just retire them, with some of those earnings going towards their care. They've done a lovely job with him, and the horse certainly loves to run.

                          Same old, same old story.
                          But would just like to see a general mindset change once they get to a certain point.
                          But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by CVPeg View Post
                            A little sad to see Silver Timber in a 20k claimer, after having won over $760k for his connections, although he does love Saratoga, and fits in here now with his age and diminishing ability.
                            100% - couldn't agree more. I've followed him seemingly forever and love the guy. Part of me says it would be nice to see him maybe try steeplechasing as a change of pace although not without risks. Although this is a mere 5 1/2 F race today for $38k.

                            By the way Saratoga by all reported accounts fixed the water, sound and WiFi issues Saturday.


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                              100% - couldn't agree more. I've followed him seemingly forever and love the guy. Part of me says it would be nice to see him maybe try steeplechasing as a change of pace although not without risks. Although this is a mere 5 1/2 F race today for $38k.

                              By the way Saratoga by all reported accounts fixed the water, sound and WiFi issues Saturday.
                              Breathing a sigh of relief. The DRF pdf results do not list him as being claimed. OK, guys - now let him retire? Unless maybe now they might run him in a starter handicap, as a result of having run in this claimer. At least he wouldn't fall into less than desirable hands...
                              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                              • Original Poster

                                While jockey Ramon Dominguez utterly controlled the Spa today - with 6 wins! - it was Rosie aboard Bern Identity with a great demonstration of young talent! Bern backed up his 13 3/4-length maiden win at Belmont on June 1 with a 1 1/4-length victory in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga!

                                Video: G2 Sanford Stakes July 22, 2012

                                As noted before, in addition to earning the first-place prize of $120,000, Bern Identity also earned his connections, owners George and Lori Hall, a $100,000 bonus since the horse won a maiden race at Belmont Park. The Halls paid just under $80k for the colt, so a tidy return in 2012 on him

                                Ramon Dominguez, having rode six winners on Sunday's 10-race program at Saratoga, equaled the track record for most victories by a jockey on one card.
                                The other jock to accomplished that was John Velazquez riding six winners on Sept. 3, 2001. Video - compilation of all six wins today by Ramon .. which is on top of him riding at Delaware Park then Colonial Downs hours later on Saturday.

                                No jockey has ever won more than six races in one day at any New York Racing Association track.


                                • #36
                                  Can you imagine if mr Halls Opus hadn't scratched out of the Schuylerville and won? That would have been two 100k bonuses or the Halls. Jeez maybe I should look into moving my operation to New York.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Steve Crist (DRF) picks up on the $100k bonus with those 2-yr old horses who break their maiden at the Big A then win a graded stakes at Spa or Belmont in the summer/fall:

                                    Two-year-old racing had been on the decline due to a variety of factors, but it had been getting to the point where it was unclear that Saratoga could continue to present three meaningful stakes races in each juvenile division (the Sanford, Saratoga Special, and Hopeful for colts and the Schuylerville, Adirondack, and Spinaway for fillies). Maiden races at the Belmont meet preceding Saratoga weren’t filling, and there weren’t enough stakes-ready prospects for Saratoga.

                                    So NYRA instituted a clever new bonus program to get 2-year-olds to come to New York for maiden races before the meet, offering a $100,000 bonus to any juvenile who won a maiden race downstate, then won a graded stakes race in New York.

                                    It worked immediately, with strong fields in both the opening-day Schuylerville and Sunday’s Sanford. Bern Identity, the Sanford winner, came for the race only because of the bonus scheme, which had attracted him to Belmont to win a maiden race and then to Saratoga for the Sanford.
                                    Although the fears of what will happen when NYRA ceases being a private operated entity and a part of the government machine of NY ....

                                    So it seems destined to be a summer where there is a successful race meet with excellent sport, but with an ax hanging over everyone’s head. Every employee is nervous about whether he’ll have a job this fall, the horsemen are worried that the higher purses will disappear, and Saratoga residents and town officials are fearful that charitable and cultural institutions supported by NYRA racing for decades are now in jeopardy. The customers have no idea what to expect.

                                    We might as well just enjoy the improved sport, for as long as it lasts.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      This Friday it will be a field of 8 horses in the ungraded $100k Curlin Stakes (R8) ... this will be the first Augustin Stables runner at Saratoga this meet.

                                      On Thursday what arguably was the hardest running 'chaser in the US will appear in the $75k Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes: Lake Placid. In 2011 he made 12 starts and went 6-0-1, in 2012 he's easing back with just 3 starts 2-0- so far Since having been claimed off Mr/Mr. Bert Firestone he's been running for Irv Naylor.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        In contrast to Ramon's success at Spa you have a flop - thus far - in the trainer's category with Todd Pletcher. Todd has been just 1 for 22 through first 4 days of meet.

                                        On Friday to coincide with the Curlin Stakes will be the announcement of Curlin-Rachel Alexandra's colt, born Jan 22nd. He currently is nicknamed "Taco" but will be formally named something that most likely will be in reference to the late Jess Jackson.

                                        The name, which was submitted by Rachel Alexandra and Curlin’s fans earlier this year, will be announced by Ms. Banke in a special ceremony following the running of the $100,000 Curlin Stakes (approximate post 6:22 p.m.).

                                        Stonestreet offered fans a chance to select the name of the bay colt on Valentine’s Day and more than 6,500 official entries were considered.
                                        Photos of Rachel and Taco here from Barbara Livingston.

                                        Does that movie backdrop look familiar? The Times Union shows the films shot in Saratoga Springs and the track in this article.


                                        • Original Poster

                                          Two monsters worked on the Oklahoma turf Monday in succession - note the cool pic of Get Stormy!

                                          On Monday, the turf course at Oklahoma again opened 15 minutes earlier than normal, at 9:45 a.m., with Bush and Get Stormy on the scene for what basically amounted to a private session that included only one other horse, the brilliant turf filly Winter Memories. And the two Grade 1 winners put on a pretty good show.

                                          Get Stormy, who is coming off a second-place finish behind Data Link in the Grade 2 Monmouth, torched the course, streaking five furlongs in a blistering 57.67 seconds. He posted internal splits of 23.33 and 34.95 before galloping out six furlongs in an eye-catching 1:10.20.

                                          “Think he likes it up here?” were the first words Bush uttered while watching Get Stormy pull up after his work.

                                          Winter Memories preceded Get Stormy and was equally as impressive despite working slower, completing her five furlongs in 59.92 but after a leisurely 13 and change opening eighth mile. Winter Memories, who’ll be among the favorites in Saturday’s Grade 1 Diana Handicap, covered her final three-eighths in 34.88 while never asked by jockey Javier Castellano. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.01 before pulling up seven-eighths in 1:25.89.
                                          Look - the 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice will be running at Saratoga ... on Wednesday in $90k third-level allowance race! As I've said before - winning the Belmont as of late is the kiss of death to a horses career.

                                          Ruler On Ice has not run since finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 11, his only start this year. He is winless in six starts since upsetting the Belmont at odds of 24-1.
                                          What about Marylou this year? This articles gives some updates. She has since discontinued the annual Whitney Ball as was announced early this spring. I love her recollection of Birdstone taking the Belmont Stakes

                                          When her horse Birdstone upset Smarty Jones’s bid for the Triple Crown in 2004 at the Belmont Stakes, John said people were swearing at Marylou. “Thank God her hearing was as not as good as it should be,” John says. “So she was waving and saying ‘thank you’ and ‘God bless you.’ “ “People were throwing beer cans at us, we had a hard time getting out,” Marylou recalls. “And I was waving at people and saying ‘Hello, I’m so glad you’re here,’ “ she says, now with good humor. “But that’s the way to do it.”