Saratoga Closes Memorable 2014 Meet: Pletcher, Castellano Repeat

Todd_PletcherTodd Pletcher and Javier Castellano repeated as the leading trainer and jockey, respectively, at Saratoga Race Course, with Michael Dubb emerging as the top owner for 2014.

Pletcher, 47, won 28 races, turning back a late challenge from Chad Brown, who had 23 victories. Hall of Famer Bill Mott was third with 13 wins.

It was the fifth straight H. Allen Jerkens training title for Pletcher, who has been the Spa’s leading trainer a total of 11 times. This year, Pletcher swept the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama with Stopchargingmaria and also posted graded stakes wins with Competitive Edge in the Grade 1 Hopeful and Fashion Alert in the Grade 3 Schuylerville.

“I thought we had a really good start to the meet. I thought we had some really big disappointments at the meet; way too many seconds,” said Pletcher. “At the same time you cannot not be grateful anytime you come to Saratoga and win 26, 27 races, win the Hopeful, Coaching Club, Alabama and Schuylerville. No matter how good you do, it could always be better, no matter how bad you’re doing it could always be worse.”…  Read the rest of this entry >>

Miss Serendipity Grabs G2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar

horses generic#9Out of action since July 25 when he suffered a shoulder injury in a spill, 41-year-old French-born jockey, Brice Blanc, made a victorious return to the saddle Monday when he reunited with Argentine-bred, Miss Serendipity, to win the featured Grade II $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap.

With his first mount in five weeks, Blanc guided Miss Serendipity to a come-from-behind win in the mile and one-sixteenth event for older fillies and mares over Del Mar’s infield grass course.

Miss Serendipity, trained by Hall of Famer, Ron McAnally, and owned by Matias Cavalieri, rallied on the far outside in the stretch to wear down 9-5 favored… Read the rest of this entry >>

Upset: Ben’s Cat Falls Short in G3 Turf Monster at Parx

Sharp Sensation (right) holds off Ben's Cat. Photo by Bill Denver

Sharp Sensation (right) holds off Ben’s Cat in G3 Turf Monster upset at Parx. Photo by Bill Denver

Sharp Sensation overcomes a hard bump at the top of the lane and then goes on to hold off, Ben’s Cat, to win the G3 Turf Monster at 16-1. Rallying from just off the pace, Sharp Sensation took the lead inside the eighth pole and then gallantly held off the late charge of the incomparable, Ben’s Cat, by a neck.

Away in good order under jockey, David Moran, Sharp Sensation was fifth in the first of the five furlongs in the Turf Monster, but gained a couple spots as the field moved inside the final three-eighths. Bold Thunder had the lead chased by long shot, Berlino Di Tiger, moving to the quarter pole, but with a strong, sudden three wide move, Sharp Sensation ran at those two and took the lead turning for home. He carried a clear lead inside the… Read the rest of this entry >>

Belmont Park Stakes Schedule for Upcoming Fall Meet

Belmont Park#15The New York Racing circuit shifts to Belmont Park Friday for the 2014 Fall Championship meet featuring 42 stakes totaling $11 million, anchored by “Super Saturday” on September 27.

“Super Saturday” will feature six graded stakes, including five Grade 1 races, headed by the 96th edition of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 ¼ miles. Also on the day are the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the $600,000 Flower Bowl for turf fillies and mares, the $400,000 Beldame for fillies and mares, and the $400,000 Vosburgh for sprinters. The Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap at one mile will also be run on Super Saturday.

New York Showcase Day, the marquee event for New York-breds, will again be… Read the rest of this entry >>

Bejarano Wins Six Races Sunday at Del Mar

BejaranoBy Jim Charvat

It’s only happened five other times in the storied history of Del Mar. Rafael Bejarano, the meet’s leading jockey coming into Sunday, all but sewed-up the riding title with six wins on the card.

He started his six-pack with the first race, a maiden for 2-year old fillies, guiding the 7-5 favorite, Maybelline, to victory for trainer and owner, Bob Baffert.

Bejarano came back in race 3 and won one for trainer, Neil Drysdale, in another 2-year old maiden race, this time aboard, Tiz Ladys Legs.

He didn’t make it back into the winner’s circle until the 6th Race, and then they couldn’t keep him out of it. Bejarano won three in a row, starting with the 6-5 favorite, Boozer, in a NW1 allowance race, followed by another heavy favorite, Broken Sword, in the $90,000 Tranquility Lake Stakes. He won with the 3-5 favorite for trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer.

He would complete the all-Bejarano pick 3 with, Diamond of Blue, in a $32,000 claimer in race #8…  Read the rest of this entry >>

Last Call: Tom Durkin Honored At Saratoga

Durkin#5By Jim Charvat

An emotional send off for the man many call the best race caller of all-time. Tom Durkin called his last race Sunday at Saratoga, coining the phrase, “splashtastic,” as Condo Commando crossed the finish line to win the G2 Spinaway…a sort of a going away present to all of his race fans.

Tom Durkin’s Farewell Ceremony 

With the crowd chanting, “Tom, Tom, Tom…”, Durkin then descended from the throne he has called his place of work for the past 24-years. A podium was set up in the winners circle and among the dignitaries present, Marylou Whitney. Durkin said it would take from now until Opening Day at Saratoga next year to thank everyone… Read the rest of this entry >>

Midnight Storm Pulls 17-1 Upset in G2 Del Mar Derby

Midnight StormMidnight Storm, a lightly-raced three-year-old lightly-regarded in the wagering at 17-1, made his stakes debut in brilliant fashion Sunday as he ran away and hid from seven rivals under jockey Tyler Baze in the 70th running of the Grade II $300,000 Del Mar Derby.

Taking the lead early in the nine-furlong grass course test of sophomore runners, Midnight Storm relaxed under Baze to set moderate fractions until the far turn where he picked up the pace to cruise home by 3 ¼ lengths in 1:47.47. He stepped his last three furlongs in a brisk 35 seconds to secure the victory.

Longshots finished second, third and fourth, respectively, as Sawyer’s Hill (12-1) beat Talco (8-1) by a head for runner-up honors, with Sammy Mandeville (15-1) another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth position.

Major disappointments were 8-5 favored Enterprising, the winner of the Oceanside Stakes… Read the rest of this entry >>

Itsmyluckyday Turns the Tables on Moreno in G1 Woodward at Saratoga


Update: The day after

Itsmyluckyday’s trainer, Eddie Plesa, says he has not decided where his Woodward winner will run next but the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park is “not on the radar.” Itsmyluckyday would have to be supplemented into the Breeders’ Cup and Plesa says that decision will also be made later. Andy Beyer gave Itsmyluckyday’s performance in the G1 Woodward at Saratoga Saturday a 108 Beyer figure.

Moreno’s trainer, Eric Guillot, says he is pointing his Woodward runner-up to the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Race Recap by John Scheinman

In the days leading up to the 61st running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Woodward, trainer Eddie… Read the rest of this entry >>

Palace Rides the Rail, Crushes Field in G1 Forego at Saratoga


Update: The Day After

Linda Rice was initially going to bypass the G1 Forego and wait to run Palace in the G1 Vosburgh, fearing the 7-furlong Forego would be less to Palace’s liking. But she ran him anyway and he won by 3 1/2 lengths. Rice reported Sunday that Palace came out of the race fine and will be pointed toward the G1 Vosburgh, a six furlong sprint, on September 27th at Belmont Park.


Race Recap by Jon Forbes

Palace erased any doubt about his ability to excel at seven furlongs by rallying along the rail to… Read the rest of this entry >>

Wise Dan Nails Return With Victory in G2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga

Wise Dan holds off Optimizer in the G2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga

Wise Dan holds off Optimizer in the G2 Bernard Baruch

Update: The day after

Trainer, Charlie LoPresti, says Wise Dan came out of the race in good order and ‘Dan’ could be seen impatiently waiting for his feed bucket this morning. LoPresti says he will load the two-time Horse of the Year onto a van Tuesday and take him back to his base in Lexington, Kentucky where Wise Dan will prepare for his next race, the G1 Shadwell Mile in October at Keeneland. Andy Beyer gave Wise Dan’s performance in the G2 Bernard Baruch a 104 Beyer figure.

Race Recap by Phil Janack

A nerve-wracking summer came to a thrilling finish for Charles LoPresti early… Read the rest of this entry >>