The 48-year-old rider completed Friday's card with $264,395,079 in lifetime earnings, just $71,491 shy of fellow Hall of Famer Chris McCarron's all-time record.
Day had five mounts on Friday, finishing out of the money with three, but winning aboard Trip in the sixth race and finishing second with Cocktailsanddreams in the seventh to edge ever closer. His 8,291 wins are third all time to Bill Shoemaker (8,833) and still-active Laffit Pincay Jr. (9,400).
With McCarron having retired in July, Day is poised to break the record at Saratoga, possibly this weekend, perhaps aboard favored With Anticipation in the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) Saturday.
"I didn't know how far he was in front of me when he retired," Day said. "But when he did I felt that, all things being equal, and believing that if I stayed healthy and was able to continue to participate, that somewhere in the not too distant future that I would have been able to surpass him."
"It's getting close and it's exciting. The prospect is wonderful and, hopefully, to achieve that would be extra special."
In addition to riding at Saratoga on Saturday, Day will also be aboard Pass Rush in the $600,000 West Virginia Derby that night at Mountaineer Park.
"I am so blessed. I've never had to fight weight a day in my life," Day said. "I've been healthy and well throughout my entire career. The longest I've ever been out with an injury is seven weeks with a broken collarbone, and that was in 1989. Since then, I've been basically injury-free. It gives me reason to reflect back over the awesome career the Lord has blessed me with, and be extremely grateful and appreciative of where I am."
Forest Landing Takes Different Route to Hopeful
Trainer Ron Werner is still looking at the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) for Forest Landing, but is taking a different route to get there.
Werner had nominated the 2-year-old Forest Wildcat colt to the Saratoga Special (gr. II) at 6 1/2 furlongs August 14, but will run him instead in Saturday's Sapling (gr. III) at Monmouth Park.
Forest Landing made his race debut at Saratoga on opening day, July 24, beaten 4 1/4 lengths as the favorite by long shot Silver Squire in the mud. He finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Le Notre, who also returns in the Sapling.
"He got a little tired the other day when I worked him, and I just felt the 6 1/2 furlongs, he wasn't ready for it," Werner said Friday. "I think this is a better spot for him.
"I really felt like if I reamed him in it I'm going to go backwards with him, and I'm trying to move forward because I do want to go in the Hopeful. I feel like he's got a better shot over there. He's still got to show what he's made of, and if he does well there then, definitely, the Hopeful."Make Out Freshening for SpinawayUnbeaten filly Make Out, impressive in her last start here July 31, will not run in Monday's Adirondack (gr. II) and instead be freshened for the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) August 30.
"That was our initial plan," trainer Linda Rice said Friday. "She's doing okay. We'll probably work her again closer to the Spinaway."
Make Out romped to a four-length victory over favored Spinning Wind here three weeks after breaking her maiden at Belmont Park.
"We ran her back in three weeks last time and, of course, also moved to Saratoga during that time," Rice said. "I just feel that she's a young filly and she looks like a very promising one, and there's no point in bringing her back in 12 days. She looks like a horse that's going to get a little more distance, and I don't want to use her up too early."
Rice is being similarly conservative with Boozin' Susan, who won her first start for her new trainer on Thursday despite a rough trip. She nominated the filly to both the Lake Placid (gr. II) August 18 and the Ballerina (gr. I) August 25.
"It's just an outside chance she'll run," Rice said. "We'll probably try instead to see if we can find a race she can win, rather than just participate. She didn't have the best of trips yesterday, but she was good enough to overcome it."Virus Still a Concern for WardThough not totally over the virus that hit all the juveniles in his barn last week, trainer John Ward was able to get some of them back to the track on Friday.
Out for gallops on the Oklahoma training track were impressive colt Sky Mesa, who won first time out here August 3, and promising filly Perfect Story, a half-sister to Point Given who was scratched from her debut on Monday.
"It was very, very light work," Ward said Friday. "When you have a virus, a lot of times you go five, six days and then you have a reflare. We've got to be conservative.
"My feeling is, we might be on the leading edge of the bell curve instead of the back end. They're liable to run out of 2-year-olds in about 10 days. The virus just started through the yearling sale the other day. Anything that hasn't been exposed to this particular bug is going to get it."
Meanwhile, Mike's Wildcat, the filly John Oxley purchased only a few days before the Schuylerville (gr. III), will be out for her first work Saturday since finishing sixth of seven as the beaten favorite in that race. She came out of the race with a lung infection.
"She's doing pretty good. We're starting to find out a few angles on her," Ward said. "I'll know what I've got after I work her. She's put on weight. She looks good. We're just going easy with her and make sure everything's all right. We dont' want to do anything stupid."
Depending on her recovery, Mike's Wildcat is still a candidate for the Spinaway, he said.
"We looked at her the other day. She still wasn't completely a hundred percent on her lungs, so we'll just see what we get," Ward said. "The main reason I want to work her is to rattle her lungs enough to get a good read on her."
Odds & Ends
Take Charge Lady will have her next breeze on Saturday and Repent will work Sunday, trainer Ken McPeek said Friday. Out since April, Repent's chances of making his comeback in the $1 million Travers have been upgraded to "more probable than possible," the trainer said .... E Dubai, who won the Suburban
Handicap last month, is doubtful for the Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) with a bruised hoof that he incurred earlier this week at Belmont Park .... Evening Attire worked five furlongs on the main track in 1:02 4/5 for trainer Pat Kelly Friday in preparation for the Saratoga Cup ... In addition to Day, jockeys Jerry Bailey and Jorge Chavez will fly out for the West Virginia Derby Saturday. All will ride in the Sword Dancer (5:32 p.m. post), and Chavez has a call in the first at Mountaineer Park (7 p.m.). The feature race has a post time of 9:55 p.m.