Rivals and racing fans may view top trainer Todd Pletcher as reserved and unemotional, but there is more to the dedicated horseman than meets the eye. A competitive nature, sly wit, and drive to succeed have carried him to the top of the game.
Pacesetter Strapping Groom, a $35,000 claim in May, captured the Forego Stakes (gr. I) in a 15-1 upset Aug. 31 at Saratoga Race Course, surging in the final strides to edge Jackson Bend on a sloppy track.
Saginaw, the remarkable former claimer who excelled in New York-bred stakes company and won 14 of 18 starts for Drawing Away Stable and David Jacobson, was euthanized Aug. 30 after fracturing both sesamoids at Saratoga.
Veteran runners Caixa Eletronica and New York-bred "win machine" Saginaw will square off Aug. 30 at Saratoga Race Course in a $70,000 starter optional claiming race that drew a field of nine going seven furlongs.
Defending champion Saginaw squares off against the up-and-coming Saratoga Snacks Aug. 1 at Saratoga Race Course in a contentious renewal of the $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes for New York-breds, 3 years old and up.
Reid McLellan, executive director of the Groom Elite Program, and Saginaw, a winner of nine stakes since his claim for $30,000 in March 2012, were honored by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
A salty field of seven sprinters will contest the six-furlong True North Stakes, with last year's 1-2 finishers back for a repeat duel against up-and-coming runners on the June 8 Belmont Stakes undercard.
Drawing Away Stables' Saginaw turned in another remarkable effort in the $98,000 Affirmed Success Handicap, overcoming early trouble and a tepid pace before shoving his way out at the head of the stretch.
Readtheprospectus made it six in a row by taking the Commentator Handicap, while Saginaw, Lovely Syn, Amberjack, Shakeira, Clear Pasaj, and King Kreesa were all winners on New York Showcase Day June 1 at Belmont Park.
Game On Dude, second in the Charles Town Classic (gr. II) in 2011, is among the 52 nominees for and an expected entrant in this year's $1.5 million race at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races April 20.