SEPTEMBER 6, 2012
by John Mucciolo
A huge weekend of racing closed the sensational meet at Saratoga Race Course.
Woodward S. (G1): Live Oak Plantation's homebred TO HONOR AND SERVE (Bernardini) took command in early stretch and dug in gamely to hold off a fresh challenge from favorite Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno) late to win by a neck.The Bill Mott trainee got 1 1/8 miles on the fast main strip in 1:48 2/5 under pilot John Velazquez.
Spinaway S. (G1): Maggi Moss' SO MANY WAYS (Sightseeing) sat off of a very fast early pace and took charge in the lane to give trainer Tony Dutrow his second win in this race in as many years. The Keystone State-bred filly was 2 1/2 lengths clear under the wire after running seven-eighths on the fast main oval in 1:23 3/5 under Javier Castellano.
Forego S. (G1): Godolphin's homebred EMCEE (Unbridled's Song) tracked the early leader, waited patiently when another took the lead along the rail, and then powered home with a rush to crush this field late for conditioner Kiaran McLaughlin. The four-year-old colt traveled seven panels on the fast main oval in 1:21 to earn his first Grade 1 win under Alan Garcia.
Bernard Baruch H. (G2): George Bolton et al's DOMINUS (Smart Strike) showed his versatility in wiring this strong field in his turf debut under the guidance of Julien Leparoux. The Todd Pletcher pupil stopped the teletimer in 1:40 1/5 and led at every call, crossing the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front.
Hopeful S. (G2): Starlight Racing's SHANGHAI BOBBY (Harlan's Holiday) swept to the front from the three-path in early stretch and went on to post a fine 3 3/4-length victory under Rosie Napravnik. The unbeaten two-year-old clicked off seven furlongs on the dirt in 1:22 2/35 for Pletcher.
Glens Falls S. (G2): Stuart Janney III's homebred HIT IT RICH (Smart Strike) took the lead from her rail post and never looked back in posting a 1 1/2-length tally for conditioner Shug McGaughey. The talented four-year-old went 1 3/8 miles on the firm turf in 2:12 1/5 under a heady ride by Castellano.
Saranac S. (G3): Lakland Farm's UNBRIDLED COMMAND (Master Command) moved to the fore nearing midstretch and gamely held on late in posting a half-length win in this spot. The Tom Bush-trained sophomore went 1 1/8 miles on the firm lawn in 1:46 2/5 beneath Ramon Dominguez.
With Anticipation S. (G2): Klaravich and Lawrence's BALANCE THE BOOKS (Lemon Drop Kid) sat in last for the opening half-mile, but started to make up ground and ran down a clear one in the lane to be a smart winner. The Chard Brown trainee endured 1 1/16 miles on the firm lawn in 1:42 1/5 under Leparoux.
A total of 64 races were held at the Saratoga Springs, New York, venue, with favorites winning at a 34 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 58 percent of the wins during the week. From 25 races on the main oval, three animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (12 percent), while seven of the 39 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (18 percent).
Speed was not the best on the main oval during the final week, but many winners were pressing or stalking the early tempo from the start to finish.
Of the seven wire jobs on the lawn, just one came on the inner turf course (in a route event). Five of the outer races that were led every call came in sprint runs.
Congratulations to Mike Repole, Todd Pletcher and Ramon Dominguez, who earned the titles of top owner, trainer and jockey, respectively.
|FAVORITES:||158 (38 percent)|
|2ND CHOICES:||82 (20 percent)|
|TURF WIRE:||39 (19 percent)|
|DIRT WIRE:||51 (24 percent)|
HORSES TO WATCH
3RD -- WEEKEND HIDEAWAY (Speightstown) put in his third straight fine showing on the Saratoga strip with a convincing 6 1/4-length romp in here for conditioner Phil Serpe. We said last time that we think the colt could be ready for open graded foes, as his six furlong time of 1:09 4/5 was superb in here.
8TH -- WATSDACHANCES (Diamond Green) made a fine U.S. debut in this spot for Brown, flying home late to get up and bag this stakes win with Castellano. The juvenile miss came home fast and could have an appointment at the Breeders' Cup with another good showing on U.S. soil.
3RD -- ARCHWARRIOR (Arch) lived to to the 1-5 billing at first asking with an easy tally in this one for Pletcher. The expensive juvenile purchase could be any kind and is headed to the Grade 1 Champagne off of this stylish victory.
MALACHITE (Notional) had no chance with the winner but was well clear of third, and the David Donk pupil likely won't be a maiden for long.
1ST -- MY HAPPY FACE (Tiz Wonderful) made pretty short work of this field, winning by 21 1/4 lengths under Dominguez. The juvenile lass, who was a good second behind record-setter Teen Pauline (Tapit) first out, looked real good here and should be stakes bound next time for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
4TH -- SUSTAINED (War Front) was ridden like a horse with a ton and the filly had just that in powering home a fine winner in her grassy debut for trainer Dale Romans. The juvenile miss dropped back turning for home while awaiting room and then exploded once clear in a fine and confident ride by Junior Alvarado. We like her going forward.
5TH -- It sure looks like trainer Robert Ribaudo made a nice claim of KING TING (Holy Roman Emperor) in this one, as the four-year-old gelding exploded in the lane to take this field down by seven lengths. We rate this one as an obvious contender next time, and he still fits some starter allowance conditions.
8TH -- DAYATTHESPA (City Zip) showed good speed and a turn of foot in her return to racing after a few months off, and the Brown pupil is really a fine grass performer. The sophomore was clear in the lane and never got a serious test to the wire in this one. She's a gem.
7TH -- MICORMANAGE (Medaglia d'Oro) took over in early stretch and cruised home a fine, five-length winner at first asking in this spot. We take notice of any runner winning at this trip in their debut run, and the colt came home in a solid :12 2/5 under moderate encouragement.
2ND -- Juddmonte homebred EMOLLIENT (Empire Maker) put in a fine run to be a clear second in this debut run, and we have fairly high hopes for the well-bred juvenile filly.
1ST -- Dell Ridge Farm's homebred NOBLE TUNE (Unbridled's Song) looked like a real good one at first asking in this spot, making a big move approaching the final turn and through the stretch to win this going away for Brown. The juvenile colt finished up his final five-sixteenths in a swift :28 1/5 and could be absolutely any type leading into his next outing.
A Look Ahead
Belmont Park begins its fall meet Saturday, with the Grade 2 Bowling Green slated as the opening-day feature.