Trainer Gary Sciacca expressed excitement Sunday morning about what the future might have in store for Saratoga Snacks, a three-year-old who on Saturday finished second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by five-year-old Lunar Victory, in the Empire Classic.
"He's a rookie, and we got beat by a veteran," Sciacca said. "An old war horse beat him. It was the first time he's gone a mile and an eighth, and he gave a hell of a performance. It wasn't like anybody was coming to get him for second. With that under his belt, he's going to be really, really tough, wherever we go with him."
Sciacca said Saratoga Snacks emerged from the grueling effort in excellent shape and that he and owner Bill Parcells will talk before they determine the sophomore's next objective.
"(Jockey Ramon) Dominguez said he ran super," Sciacca said. "He ran hard. He loves his job. He'll come back from training now and he'll be easy, no problem. When the race comes up and we start tightening the screws on him, we have a pony to bring him back, somebody walking him back. He knows when it's getting to be time for him to run. He enjoys it."
While Sciacca was proud of Saratoga Snacks, he also expressed disappointment over the loss and said he thinks the outcome of the race might have been different if the ridgling hadn't been pressed early by Haldane and Saxophone Len.
"He did all of the dirty work," Sciacca said. "The horses than ran with him, (Saxophone Len) was eased up and (Haldane) finished second to last. When the challenge (from Lunar Victory) came, he was there. If he didn't have to do the dirty work, it probably would have been a little easier for him. It was amazing, he dug in so hard when (Lunar Victory) came to him. They just took off from the rest of the field like they weren't even in the race."
In another wrap-up from Saturday's Showcase Day card, trainer Mike Hushion is looking forward to continuing Mine Over Matter's career as a sprinter.
When Hushion first got Mine Over Matter late last year, the son of Mineshaft had spent much of 2011 competing in races 1 1/16 miles or longer. Shortened up by Hushion, the five-year-old showed a new dimension as a come-from-behind sprinter, and on Saturday, Mine Over Matter notched his second stakes win of the year when he rallied from midpack to win the six-furlong Hudson.
"The first couple of races I had him, as a come-from-behind sprinter, he showed that might be just what he could do," Hushion said of Chester and Mary Broman's homebred, who earned a career-best 107 BRIS Speed figure for the victory.
"His only bad race was when the rider decided to send him. Now, I see no reason to change him."
With that in mind, the trainer said that Mine Over Matter, now 2-1-2 from seven starts this year, will continue to do what he's been doing when racing moves to Aqueduct next month.
"He'll run in the New York-bred races," he said. "Hopefully, Saginaw will be somewhere else."