A fresh Saratoga Snacks denied Saginaw his 11th win of 2012 with a powerful victory in the $73,500 Alex M. Robb Stakes (VIDEO) for New York-bred runners at Aqueduct Racetrack Dec. 26.
Saginaw, who could have led North America in victories for the year, finished third.
The winner, a 3-year-old Tale of the Cat ridgling who was registering his first stakes score, came off a second-place finish to Lunar Victory in the Oct. 20 Empire Classic Stakes at Belmont Park. It was his only loss in a sophomore campaign with four other starts and four other wins, including three in allowance company earlier in the season.
Quick to the lead under jockey Ramon Dominguez, Saratoga Snacks loped along through comfortable fractions of :24.53 and :49.25, with Saginaw as close as half a length behind him on the outside through three-quarters in 1:14.09. When the field of five turned for home, Saratoga Snacks kicked on with more to give while Saginaw, wheeling back from victory in the Dec. 15 Gravesend Handicap, faded to third with jockey Junior Alvarado.
The narrow favorite over Saginaw at 4-5, Saratoga Snacks ran 1 1/16 miles on the inner track in 1:45.21, prevailing by a length over 27-1 shot Socialsaul
, who finished well after tracking in third on the inside. The winner returned $3.70, $3.40, and $2.10. Socialsaul paid $9.80 and $2.70. Saginaw brought $2.10. Idle American
and Swag Daddy
completed the order of finish.
Trainer Gary Sciacca trains Saratoga Snacks for Bill Parcells' August Dawn Farm.
"Coming into the race he was doing everything right and everything good," Sciacca remarked. "Since we were inside Saginaw, Ramon said he wanted to protect the rail. He broke well. Saginaw came after him a couple of times on the backside, but he couldn't get past. He may get a vacation now; we'll see. He's done everything right for us."
Saratoga Snacks was bred in New York by Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen out of the Red Ransom mare Near and Dear, and was a $60,000 purchase at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.
With 10 wins this year, 6-year-old Saginaw remained tied with Finger Lakes-based Clean Jean
and with Winning Dubai
, whose starts have all come at Camarero Racetrack in Puerto Rico, for the most victories by a racehorse in 2012. Of the three, Saginaw has the highest earnings, with $515,150 amassed in 13 starts in 2012. Clean Jean has earnings of $125,136 and made 20 starts, while Winning Dubai also made 20 starts and has earnings of $42,660.
Racing on the New York circuit in both state-bred and open company for Drawing Away Stable and David Jacobson this year, the gelded son of Peruvian counts the Fourstars Allstar Stakes, Promenade All Stakes, John Morrissey Stakes, Affirmed Success Stakes, and Carr Heaven Stakes among his scores.