WHAT WE'LL REMEMBER FROM SARATOGA
Here's what we'll remember about the 142nd summer stand at the Old Spa:
Fractured fairytales : Lisa's Booby Trap, the blind-eyed, club-footed filly named for owner-trainer Tim Snyder's late wife and his favorite strip club, was the Cinderella story of the meet after romping in the Loudonville Stakes. She turned into a pumpkin finishing last in the Riskaverse.
Admiral Alex, a 3-year-old colt who won his career debut July 31, became another storybook horse at this meet when trainer Leon Blusiewicz, 79, decided to run him straight into the Travers. That dream died when he ran last.
The bloom came off the Rachel Alexandra rose when the 2009 Horse of the Year, never the same after her gut-wrenching score in last year's Woodward, lost the Personal Ensign at 2-5 to Persistently at 21-1.
Cheap-cheap : Sorry if the truth hurts, but the distinction between Saratoga and Aqueduct's inner dirt track in February was almost invisible at times due to an outbreak of bottom-level claiming races and state-bred maiden claimers.
The good, the bad and the Pletcher : Todd Pletcher saddled his 36th winner yesterday, topping his own record for the meet established in 2003-2004. Half of his winners were 2-year-olds, and he also notched major stakes victories with Position Limit in the Adirondack, R Heat Lightning in the Spinaway, Discreetly Mine in the Amsterdam and King's Bishop, Devil May Care in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Quality Road in the Woodward.
But Quality Road's loss in the Whitney and Devil May Care's defeat in the Alabama, both as odds-on favorites, might have cost them championships, Bribon sputtered in the Forego, and Derby winner Super Saver's Travers was humiliating.
Jockeys' race : Ramon Dominguez' streak of nine straight riding titles in New York was snapped by John Velazquez, with 57 winners going into getaway day, and Javier Castellano at 52. Doing an "anything you can do, I can do better" duet through the meet, Johnny V and Javier both notched five-winner days.
NYRA gets punked : With rumors rampant that NYRA plans to extend this meet yet again, three wiseacres in the press box got a hold of some NYRA stationery and wrote a fake press release that next year's meet would be eight weeks long, five days a week. The gag wasn't meant to extend beyond the press box, but some thin-skinned, humorless NYRA exec (admittedly, that's redundant) banned the pranksters for a day.
"Durf" course : Pity the owner or trainer who had a come-from-behind grass horse racing during the last part the meet, when the "durf" courses -- half-turf, half-dirt -- played like a conveyor belt, and you stood a slim chance of winning if you weren't 1-2 in the early going.
Super payoff : The superfecta in the second race on Aug. 12, won by 30-1 shot Valiant Passion, followed across the wire by 6-1 Shaaraat, 48-1 Becata and 45-1 Mean Reversion, paid $14,286 for dime. One winning ticket was purchased on track for $2.40, the price of a four-horse box.
Horse of the meet : Blind Luck, who clinched the 3-year-old filly championship winning the Alabama. Honorable mention to Discreetly Mine, Whitney winner Blame, Travers winner Afleet Express, and the NY-bred gelding Writingonthewall, the only three-time winner at the meet.
by Ed Fountaine
On the New York worktab
At Saratoga on Sunday, multiple Grade 1 winner DEVIL MAY CARE (Malibu Moon) took a half-mile spin in :49 3/5 on the fast main track. The Todd Pletcher filly is coming off a dull fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the Alabama S. (G1).
Multiple Grade 1 veteran GRAND COUTURIER (GB) (Grand Lodge) stretched his legs in :50 ahead of a title defense in Saturday's Bowling Green H. (G2).
INTERACTIF (Broken Vow), who just prevailed in a three-way photo in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2), clocked :50 2/5.
Grade 2 hero EXHI (Maria's Mon), runner-up in the West Virginia Derby (G2) last out, drilled five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 1/5.
Grade 3 victor EVERYDAY HEROES (Awesome Again), successful in the James B. Moseley Sprint S. in his return from a nine-month layoff, traveled four panels in :49.
Vagrancy H. (G2) vixen HOUR GLASS (Petionville), second most recently in the Honorable Miss H. (G2), went in :50 2/5.
Multiple stakes queen MERIWETHER JESSICA (Freud), who extended her winning streak to three in the Yaddo S., zipped in :48.
Grade 2 scorer WESLEY (El Prado [Ire]), the trailer in the Fourstardave H. (G2), completed his trial in :49 4/5.
Canadian Grade 3-placed stakes winner SOLITAIRE (Victory Gallop), eighth while going for a title defense in the John's Call S., strolled in :51.
Grade 3-placed TRIPLE CREAM (Tapit), a remote last of three in the off-the-turf Lake Placid S. (G3), posted :49.
Over Belmont Park's fast main track, Brooklyn H. (G2) near-misser GABRIEL'S HILL (A.P. Indy) worked five-eighths in 1:01 3/5. The Seth Benzel charge is exiting a fourth in the Greenwood Cup S.
Grade 3-placed stakes victress SAARLIGHT (Saarland), a near-miss second in the Blue Sparkler S., sauntered three panels in :38 4/5.
Multiple stakes heroine AKILINA (Langfuhr), a close fifth in the William B. Fasig S., covered a half-mile in :50 3/5.
Polite Rebuff S. scorer STARSHIP ANGEL (Running Stag), a distant fourth in the Ruffian Invitational H. (G1), sped in :48 4/5.
Promising sophomore ERIN ROSE (Purge), a 10 3/4-length debut maiden romper at Monmouth on Haskell Day, blitzed in a bullet :48.
Grade 2 veteran GOLDEN SPIKES (Seeking the Gold), 11th when returning in a tough spot in the Smile Sprint H. (G2), negotiated five furlongs in 1:02 on a fast track at Aqueduct.
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