Saratoga Diary: Fabulous Fillies Day & New York Stallion Stakes Series
by Dick Powell
More rain, not a lot, came after the races on Wednesday and four races were taken off the turf today and the two that stayed on were raced over courses listed as yielding. The main track is fast going into the day but around here, you never know.
The New York Stallion Stakes Series is limited to horses sired by registered New York stallions. They do not have to be New York-breds but that is not the only difference. A registered New York-bred is eligible for all its conditions once it is registered by the New York Breeding and Development Fund. The Stallion Series has a series of eligibility payments early in the horse’s life and you would be surprised at how many horses are not eligible even though they are sired by registered New York stallions. Therefore, a Stallion Series stakes race is usually of less quality than a New York-bred stakes race. We had the Cal Calloway division the other day and after scratches, only three raced. Today, seven are left in Race 8 and it is not like the race office can hustle horses. Either you have made the payments or you are not eligible to race.
Johnny Velazquez is off his mounts again today with a knee problem and Jose Ortiz looked to be the beneficiary.
Race 1 developed into a two-horse race with TIME WARP on the outside and Jot on the inside. Jot looked game as could be and momentarily took the lead back in the stretch but the winner already had a race under her belt and that might have been the difference as she surged to a 4 ¼-length win.
Our play of the day, MALARKEY, won by 4 1/2 lengths when Jose Ortiz, deputizing for Johnny Velazquez, gunned to the front and dominated. She drifted a little in the stretch as Parlapiano and Brooklyn Gerty collided at the eighth-pole and after the stewards took a look, they let the result stand. Linda Rice claimed the winner for $40K. What was interesting was that Brooklyn Gerty, coming off a 454-day layoff, could have run without the risk of being claimed but she was entered for the tag. Not sure what that means as far as intention goes but it is interesting.
Speed continued to dominate in Race 3 when SURFACE STRIKE dueled for the early lead to draw off to win by 6 1/4 lengths 32 days after Michelle Nevin claimed him for this price. Manny Franco continues his good streak of riding.
Race 4 came off the turf, was run at seven furlongs on the fast main track and MAIMO gunned to the front and won by 3 1/2 lengths. He cost me the Pick 4 as he looked like an all-or-nothing horse. Entered for main track-only, he won two races then was beaten 34 lengths in his next two starts. Claimed for $14K last out by Ray Handal, he moved up to $32K and jogged.
In Race 5, POTOMAC was listed as the even-money favorite on the morning line. At one point he was 4-1 in the betting but he gradually came down and went off as the 7-5 favorite. Jose Ortiz had him sitting off the pace and took over at will. Desert Lights was a game second as he was passed by the winner on the far turn but came on in the stretch to get a distant second. The winner was claimed by Robertino Diordoro and was another Repole Stable dropdown that won and was claimed.
Race 6 was run on the yielding Mellon Turf course and Javier Castellano guided TICONDEROGA to a last-to-first victory going 1 1/16 miles in the surprisingly-fast time of 1:41.93. The colt by Tapit gave Chad Brown his 19th win of the meet in 18 days of racing.
The aptly named PINK TWIST won Race 7 on Fabulous Fillies Day where pink was the dominant color. She was a good second last out against this allowance level last out going a one-turn mile and was able to get two turns for John Terranova who is now three-for-nine at the meet.
Race 8 was the Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Series for three-year-old fillies going a mile on the inner turf course. In a thrilling stretch duel that was impossible to call the winner, GOODBYE BROCKLY won the photo over Wegetsdamunnys, who was denied the money by a nose. The final time for the mile was 1:39.25 and the ground the winner saved from post two was the difference.
Believe it or not, the weather should be perfect tomorrow and I expect all the turf races to stay on. That said, I will stick to the main track and go with #6 CAVALLOTTO in Race 1. He beat $25K claimers going this distance in fast time and now drops down to $14K two starts later for James Bond whose horses are running well.