You can train your horse up to a race, conditioning him in the best possible manner. You can score the services of a top jockey with a winning percentage of 66.67 and a 79% in-the-money rate. It's all up in the air when they open the gate.
Attendance, on-track handle, and all-sources handle remain up through three weeks of the Saratoga meet when compared with figures for the comparable period in 2006, the New York Racing Association announced Aug. 13.
This morning on the backside near the clockers' stand, Ron Anderson and Doc Danner are shooting the breeze, taking a break from the normal routine of lobbying trainers and chatting up owners in the hopes of scoring winning mounts for their riders. Anderson represents Garrett Gomez, currently fifth in the standings at Saratoga. Danner's jock is Shaun Bridgmohan, who ranks tenth.
Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches posted a five-furlong workout over Saratoga's main track Aug. 12, after which trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed the Michael Tabor-owned filly will not run in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 18. Instead, Pletcher plans to run multiple Grade 1 winner Octave and American Oaks (gr. I) winner Panty Raid, both of whom also worked Aug. 12, in the 1 1/4-mile Alabama.
On an ordinary day, it takes two minutes to drive from Route 29 to Saratoga's main gate via East Avenue. This morning, the same route took 35 minutes. It's giveaway day, and the spinners are out in storm to bring home today's featured item, a red Saratoga lawn chair in a handy carrying bag.
The $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) was setting up perfectly for heavy favorite English Channel. After coming from well off the pace, the 5-year-old son of Smart Strike made his usual late kick, rallying under jockey John Velazquez to take the lead as they headed for home. The only problem was, Grand Couturier had a finishing kick that was too much even for one of America's top turf horses, as the 4-year-old English-bred colt came flying along the rail to take Saratoga's feature in dramatic fashion.
The next start for 7-year-old campaigner Silver Tree is yet to be determined, but trainer Bill Mott said he will consider sending the son of Hennessy to Australia this fall to compete in the Oct. 27 Tattersalls Cox Plate (group I).
Jockey Fernando Jara, who has experienced a rough year on the New York circuit since parting with agent Randy Romero in February, will leave New York Aug. 15 and ship his tack to California in September.
The Leopard, a Storm Cat colt purchased for $2.5 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-olds in training sale earlier this year, scored in an impressive maiden special weight victory at Saratoga Aug. 11.
Better Talk Now trainer Graham Motion announced Aug. 10 that the 8-year-old gelding was being scratched from the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) at Saratoga this weekend due to a left front ankle injury that was suffered in a race last month. The injury, which occurred in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont June 9, seemed to be under control until Friday, when it began to fill with fluid.
Last night, the Jockeys got off to an aggressive start and left no doubt as to their agility, rattling the usually unflappable Texas Titans as they took control in the first quarter of the Aug. 9 New York Race Track Chaplaincy's Basketball Fundraiser for jockey Andrew Lakeman, who was paralyzed in a racing accident earlier this year.
An Aug. 9 meeting among members of the racing industry and jockeys at Saratoga Race Course was a deemed a success by Bruce Johnstone, the New York Racing Association's manager of racing relations, as discussions took place over the recent issues before the starts of several races at the New York oval.
Led by the efforts of Eldon Farm Equine, the majority of horses previously sold at auction that passed through the sales ring during the Aug. 7 session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale realized significant gains.
See the twisted figure standing near the Oklahoma track? Yes, that's Javier Castellano, and it looks like he's attempting to master some absurd Yoga pose as he bends over backward with hands clasped above his head.
Members of the New York Racing Association's gate crew will meet Thursday with jockeys at Saratoga Race Course to discuss issues caused by miscommunication before the start of several recent races at the New York oval, NYRA CEO Charlie Hayward said.
Albany Law School's Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law got off to a fast-paced start Aug. 7 when Dr. Don Catlin, a pioneer in the field of athletic drug testing, addressed a group of assembled lawyers and industry representatives gathered at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
A senior advisor to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said the governor has not decided on any one plan for the state's Thoroughbred racing franchise, but acknowledged that a slew of ideas "from shutting down Aqueduct to splitting up the franchise" have been on the table.
Evenings in Saratoga bring another feeling, one of frantic energy, and of adrenaline, and of the intensity of short, fast-paced hours. No place emphasizes this more than the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds, where the vigorous pursuit of Thoroughbred yearlings at auction began with yesterday's opening session for the two-day select sale.
By Jeff Deitz - Face it, guys and dolls. We all remember our first time. Mine was unforgettable -- Wednesday, Aug. 16, 1972, two months after those five yo-yo's broke into Watergate, precisely 35 years ago. I was already 23 but hell, it happens when it happens.
Bumper stickers are a time-honored way for drivers to communicate feelings to motorists, but Taylor Made Sales has recently been using its own variation of sticky notes to convey catalog updates to potential buyers.
In honor of (and caused by) an 8:00 a.m. deadline, Hall of Fame inductions, an upcoming afternoon of racing coverage, and an evening of sales assignments, we defer to a smattering of quotes and scenes witnessed by your faithful correspondent, who peruses the backside of Saratoga (almost) every morning.
Prospective buyers, consignors, and Fasig-Tipton officials were cautiously optimistic prior to the Saratoga select yearling sale's starte even though the stock market and the Thoroughbred marketplace in general have lost momentum lately.
Up in the press box, half a dozen men peer down upon the congested scene. They wear baseball caps and sunglasses, keep pairs of binoculars close at hand, follow the progress of the galloping horses with obsessive concentration. They are fixated upon speed, and upon the tracing and recording of it.
Despite the sharp decline realized in the stock market the last couple of weeks, horsemen readying for the Aug. 6-7 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale aren't particularly worried about its effects on purchasing at the auction at least for now.
Burmilla spotted class and experience to her four rivals, but the lightly-raced 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat was anything but intimidated as she pulled away down the stretch for a nearly three-length upset victory in the $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga Aug. 3.
Want to watch a race from the rail? 1 1/8-mile events are the best. The starting gate is pulled up close to the winner's circle. The action, so often relegated to the backside, takes place before your eyes.
Funny Cide, the first New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both grade I), and who captivated fans with his pursuit of the 2003 Triple Crown, will be celebrated with a retirement party Aug. 10 at Saratoga.