Trainer Jimmy Jerkens' really big weekend at Saratoga Race Course concluded Aug. 24 with when the 55-year-old son of Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens won the $200,000 Fleet Indian Stakes (VIDEO) with Star Grazing.
The victory in the race for 3-year-old fillies came one day after Jerkens ran 1-2 in the 145th running of the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) with V. E. Day and Wicked Strong. Star Grazing, a Chester and Mary Broman homebred ridden by Angel Arroyo, raced in fifth in the field of nine for six furlongs, moved down to the inside and into a long drive to beat Flipcup by three-quarters of a length.
The daughter of Sky Mesa ran the 1 1/8-mile dirt race in 1:53.40. Star Grazing, winning for the third time in six starts, paid $10.20, $4.70, and $3.90, with 2-1 favorite Flipcup paying $3.60, and $2.70. Longshot Canal Six was worth $7.30 to show.
"She had a nice prep a couple weeks ago," Jerkens said. "Having a race over this track means a lot."
Jerkens has a record of 9-4-2 from 23 starters for the meet. He is tops among trainers with 65% of his runners in the money. His $1,805,454 in earnings is second only to Todd Pletcher, who has had 22 winners from 109 starters and $2,390,688 in earnings.
In other races on Saratoga Showcase Day for New York-breds, So Lonesome took an early lead and turned back a challenge from favored Captain Serious at the quarter-pole before going on to a four-length victory over Jerkens-trained Effinex in the 37th running of the $250,000 Albany (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds. Although he broke his maiden at the Spa a year ago on the main track, So Lonesome had raced exclusively on grass and synthetic surfaces this year.
Following a sixth-place finish in the Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) on Aug. 8, trainer Tom Bush selected the Albany for the Awesome Again colt's return to dirt and he responded with a solid effort, covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17.
"The turf, I think, helped get the horse built up a bit," said Bush, who trains So Lonesome for Patricia Schuler. "He was always a lightly built colt, and he just needed a lot of time, a lot of training, and a lot of racing to get him tight enough. He moves much better now on the dirt than he did when he was a young horse. I think he's turned the corner. We're just happy to see him get back in the game and run like we know he can."
Sent off at 8-1, So Lonesome paid $20.80 and earned $150,000, nearly doubling his bankroll to $334,067. Overall, he is 4-1-2 from 10 starts. Effinex headed Eye Luv Lulu for second, with 7-5 favorite Captain Serious checking in fourth.
In the $150,000 Yaddo (VIDEO) at 1 1/16 miles on turf, grade I winner Dayatthespa regained winning form in her second start of the year, setting the pace over a turf course rated "good" before fighting off a challenge from Discreet Marq by 2 1/2 lengths. "Javier (Castellano) rode a beautiful race on her," said trainer Chad Brown.
Brown had cross-entered Dayatthespa in the Ballston Spa (gr. II) on the Travers Day undercard, but ultimately sided with the Yaddo. Dayatthespa, a 5-year-old daughter of City Zip who covered the distance in 1:41.93 and returned $4.60, will now be pointed to the First Lady (gr. IT) on Oct. 4 at Keeneland Race Course. In other races on the Showcase card:
—King Kreesa set the pace and held off a late challenge from Lubash to win the $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank (VIDEO) by a head in his first start of 2014. A graded stakes winner who was named New York-bred champion older male and male turf horse for 2013, King Kreesa cleared on the lead in the 1 1/16-mile race, setting fractions of :24.93 for a quarter-mile and :49.71 for the half over turf labeled "good." The 5-year-old gelded son of King Cugat trained by David Donk for owners Gerald and Susan Kresa is 7-4-2 in 19 starts and has earned $747,370.
—Ralph Evans' Upstart showed himself an early leader among this year's New York-bred freshmen class with a last-to-front score in the $200,000 Funny Cide Stakes (VIDEO) for 2-year-olds. Upstart settled behind the pacesetters and guided by Jose Ortiz, the Flatter ridgling moved early in the turn, making up ground to kick past 6-5 favorite Bustin It by a well-timed length at the wire. Trained by Richard Violette Jr., the 3-2 second-choice finished the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.23, paying $5.10 for a $2 win bet.
—Myfourchix broke her maiden in style in the $200,000 Seeking the Ante (VIDEO) for 2-year-old fillies, taking advantage of a swift early pace and closing through the stretch to win by three lengths over a tiring Hard to Stay Notgo. Trained by Rick Schosberg for Clear Stars Stable, the Henny Hughes filly broke well from the No. 5 post and settled two lengths off fractions of :21.66 for the quarter mile and :45.61 for a half set by 3-5 favorite Hard to Stay Notgo. Moving up on the turn when asked by jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Myfourchix had enough left to pass the front-runner and go on to complete the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.34.