Saratoga Notebook: Record Discrepancy; Ashado, Daydreaming Point to Frizette; Volponi Trainer Checking Figures; Man From Wicklow Mending; Mariensky Sore; Possibility Abounds
Todd Pletcher smashed the single-season Saratoga training record this summer quite a bit faster than first thought.
According to the New York Racing Association's media guide, the Saratoga record for victories in a season was 24 by Hall of Fame trainer Sylvester Veitch in 1954. Pletcher rolled past that number on Aug. 14. He finished Saturday's program with 35 winners.
However, journalist Bill Mooney researched Veitch's 1954 statistics and discovered that he actually saddled 19 winners during the 24-day meeting. So the actual record of 22 victories, which came in a 36-day season, was established by Bill Mott in 2001.
According to Mooney's research, there was an 18-day Saratoga-at-Jamaica meeting in 1953, followed by the regular 24-day season at Saratoga Race Course. During the meeting at Jamaica, Veitch had two winners.
From Aug. 2 through Aug. 28 at Saratoga, Veitch had the 19 winners, including Fisherman in the Travers and Dispute in the Test.
Allen Jerkens had 19 winners during the 24-day Saratoga season in 1972 to tie Vietch's mark.Frizette Likely for Ashado
Ashado came out of her victory in the Spinaway (gr. I) on Friday in good shape, trainer Todd Pletcher said, and is likely to run next in the Frizette (gr. I) on Oct. 4.
Daydreaming, the 6-5 favorite in the Spinaway, who finished third after stumbling at the gate, was OK on Saturday, trainer Shug McGaughey said.
"She came back fine," McGaughey said. "Just a couple of scrapes on her that amount to nothing. She stumbled pretty good, went to her nose, came up, then wanted to go running. She was a little scared, too, Johnny (Velazquez) said.
"How much difference it made in the outcome, I don't know. We didn't really get a chance to see what we wanted to see."
Daydreaming is also headed to the Frizette.
Johnson Notes Breeders' Cup Cost Increases
Trainer Phil Johnson said he still aiming defending champion Volponi toward the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25, but will look at it much more carefully this year because the fees for the race have been raised.
Last fall, Johnson said it cost $40,000 to enter and $40,000 to run in the $4 million Classic, held at Arlington Park. For the win, Volponi earned $2.08 million.
This year, Johnson said it will cost $60,000 to enter and $60,000 to run, with some of the money going to increase the purse of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) to $1.5 million.
That does not include the price of shipping the horse across the country to Santa Anita, which Johnson estimated at $10,000 to $12,000 round-trip.
"We're allowed one man on the plane with the horse, so we'd have to fly the groom, the assistant trainer, the exercise boy. There's a lot of money involved," Johnson said. "We'll have to pause and think about it now.
"A lot of people like to go in early and get used to the racetrack. We like to go in late, so it might cost more. I don't know. I haven't priced it yet. We're going to have to think deep about it. His next two races will be tell-tale for us."
Johnson is following the same game plan as last fall with Volponi, who ran second in both the Belmont Breeders' Cup and the Meadowlands Cup before shocking the Classic at 43-1.
Aside from the Classic, Johnson said he would also consider the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) for Volponi.
"I went into it feeling good last year. The only pressure was my partner and I each put up the $40,000," Johnson said. "Now, he's going to run into a tougher race. I think he's better this year than he was last year, but now we're talking about a lot of money, we're traveling further and it's more expensive.
"The track will suit him. It's a good, fast, honest racetrack at Santa Anita. He has to run a couple times and we have to decide. We're certainly not going to rule it out.
"Our second choice will be the (Turf), which will cost less to run in, but we wouldn't come out of the big one for that reason. The only reason I'd come out of the big one is if I didn't think I could win it. We'll see what happens."Ligament Strains Knocks Out Man From Wicklow
Man from Wicklow, twice a graded stakes winner in Florida last winter, is recovering from injuries from both front legs that prevented him from running this summer.
"We just started him back a couple of weeks ago," trainer Rick Violette said.
If the 6-year-old gelding continues to make progress, Violette said he might be able to run in the Red Smith (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct in November before heading heading back to Florida.
I don't know that we make any of the Belmont races," Violette said. "We're just really up against it."
After finishing third in the Man o' War (gr. IT) and the Sky Classic Handicap (Can-II) at Woodbine last fall, Man from Wicklow won the William L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder and the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT). He then ran second in the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT).
In his final start this year, Man from Wicklow finished second in the Elkhorn (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland on April 23.
"He just strained the ligaments that support the pastern," Violette said. "They got inflamed. It was kind of like playing with fire. You've got to put on the brakes. I probably might have gotten another race out of him, but if you pressed forward and you made a mistake then he would have been finished."
Faced with what he described as a weird injury, Violette decided to stop on the horse and give him time to recover.
"If he were to do the same thing he did last year, late Calder and Gulfstream, that would be fine with me," Violette said. "He's been good to us, so whatever comes will be great."Mariensky Sore, to be Examined in Kentucky
Mariensky, seventh as the favorite in the Glens Falls (gr. IIIT) Aug. 25, came out of the race with some soreness and will be examined at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky. next week.
Trainer Christophe Clement said that the stakes-winning turf filly will leave Saratoga on Monday and arrive in Kentucky on Tuesday, for what Clement called a routine checkup by Dr. Larry Bramlage.
"She came back from the race a touch body sore," Clement said. "In the race, too, I didn't think she looked that pleased in the stretch. She did not put herself down.
"They'll probably do a bone scan on her, just to be on the safe side. It's nothing major, not a big deal. We just need to be careful because she is a very good filly and that's the way to do things."Possibility Looking Better and Better
Less than a week after her highly anticipated race debut, well-bred firster Possibility was in good spirits, trainer Shug McGaughey.
Breaking from the rail post, the 3-year-old A.P. Indy filly out of undefeated mare Personal Ensign ran fifth of 12 in a six-furlong sprint Aug. 24. She had her first start delayed when she spiked a temperature earlier in the month.
"She came out of the race great," McGaughey said. "It was nice to get a race into her. I was very pleased with the way she did. She had the one post going three-quarters, and I knew that wasn't her bag. But, she came away from there and felt her way along and made a good run at the end. It's about what I expected. I'm very pleased with her."
McGaughey said he expects to run Possibility, a half-sister to millionaire Miner's Mark and My Flag, the dam of Storm Flag Flying, back in a seven-furlong or mile allowance race at Belmont's fall meet, which opens Sept. 5.
Storm Flag Flying, meanwhile, has resumed training in Kentucky and McGaughey said he should have the filly back for the Belmont meet.
"She just started back jogging," he said. "She'll be there at least 30 more days and then she'll come here
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