Saginaw, the winningest horse on the New York Racing Association circuit this year, looks to notch victory No. 11 and become the winningest horse in North America on December 26 when he faces four other New York-breds in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The six-year-old gelding gained his 10th win of 2012 against open company in the Gravesend Handicap on December 12 at the Big A, moving into a tie with Clean Jean and Winning Dubai for the most victories in North America. The son of Peruvian has been first or second in all but two of his 13 starts at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course this year, one being a fourth in a claiming race in his 2012 debut and the other a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap in May.
Claimed for $30,000 by David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable in March, Saginaw won a starter handicap and an optional claimer for his new connections before going on to win the Carr Heaven, Affirmed Success, John Morrissey, Promenade All and Fourstars Allstar Stakes for state-breds. For the year, he is 10-1-0 with earnings of $507,650.
Junior Alvarado will ride Saginaw, high weight under 121 pounds and the even-money favorite on the morning line, from post 5.
Challenging Saginaw in the 1 1/16-mile Alex M. Robb will be Bill Parcells' Saratoga Snacks, who suffered his first loss this year when finishing a game second to Lunar Victory in the on October 20 Empire Classic at Belmont, his stakes debut. The three-year-old Tale of the Cat ridgling, who has won a pair of allowance races and an optional claimer, was to have run back in the Grade 3 Discovery but missed the race because of a foot bruise, according to trainer Gary Sciacca.
"He's doing really, really well," said Sciacca of Saratoga Snacks, who drew post position 2 and is listed at 6-5 on the morning line. "I expect him to run a big race. The distance shouldn't be a problem."
Ramon Dominguez, the two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey who leads the nation with more than $25.1 million in purses earned, returns aboard Saratoga Snacks after a month off to recover from his own bruised foot.
Idle American, who is 3-2-1 from eight starts at the Big A, returns to state-bred company and conventional dirt after a sixth-place finish on the turf earlier this month. The gelded son of Quiet American drew post 3 with Eddie Castro aboard.
Rounding out the field are Social Saul, most recently sixth behind Saginaw in the Promenade All, and Swag Daddy, returning to action after finishing sixth in the Mike Lee in June at Belmont.