Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter
Another great Saratoga meeting has come to an end. In total there were 33 graded stakes races with 15
of them being grade ones. In an attempt to recognize the best of this 40-day
Spa meeting, I will pick the top performers in 10 divisions for the main track
and the turf courses along with Top Jockey and Trainer.
The top Beyer Speed Figure of 108 was earned on three
separate occasions: by Moreno in the Whitney, Itsmyluckyday in the Woodward,
and Stonetastic in the Prioress.
Two-Year-Old Fillies: Fashion Alert was nothing but impressive as a
winner of the Schuylerville (G3)
and her Belmont maiden special weight. Condo Commando did win twice at the Spa including her runaway Spinaway (G1)
victory and she has a big edge in BSFs over Fashion Alert 92-68.
Competitive Edge won two races at Saratoga: a 10¼ length maiden score and the
Hopeful (G1) over Saratoga Special (G2) winner, I Spent It. Competitive Edge is a $750,000
two-year-old auction purchase from the first crop of 2010 Kentucky Derby
winner, Super Saver.
The duo of Wicked Strong and V.
E. Day won three of the stakes for this division with the Curlin, the Jim
Dandy, and the Travers. The nod has to go to V. E. Day because he won two stakes at the Spa including the big
one, the Travers (G1).
Fillies: By winning the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and the Alabama
(G1) Stopchargingmaria did
everything that was asked of her.
Older Male: In
the Woodward (G1) Itsmyluckyday turned the tables on Moreno after finishing second to him in the Whitney (G1). The
Woodward trumps the Whitney and Lucky gets the edge.
Older Female: Close Hatches turned in maybe the most
impressive performance of the meeting in the Personal Ensign (G1).
Turf Male: Main
Sequence’s win in the Sword Dancer (G1) put him on top until Wise Dan made his
comeback in the Bernard Baruch (G2). Giving the seven-year-old all the respect
that he deserves for his comeback from the bout with colic, Wise Dan is my pick for top Turf Male.
Somali Lemonade won the Diana (G1) and Abaco took the Ballston Spa (G2) with
identical 96 BSFs. Tough choice here, but Somali_Lemonade won the grade one.
Sprint Male: Theformer $20,000 claimer, Palace, dominated this division by sweeping
the Vanderbilt (G1) and the Forego (G1).
Sprint Female: With
a different horse winning all of the sprints for females, Stonetastic’s 8½ length win in the Prioress (G2), that earned a 108
BSF, is tops even though she is just a three-year-old.
Top Trainer: Todd
Pletcher won his fifth straight training title and 11th overall
after again battling with Chad Brown. It was a meeting of ups and downs for
Pletcher, "I thought we had a
really good start to the meet, I thought we had some really big disappointments
at the meet; way too many seconds (25 through race 5 on Monday) for my liking.
At the same time you cannot not be grateful anytime you come to
Saratoga and win 26, 27 races, win the Hopeful, Coaching Cub, Alabama and
Schuylerville. No matter how good you do, it could always be better, no matter
how bad you're doing it could always be worse."
However, my choice
for Top Trainer is Jimmy Jerkens.
Jerkens battled back from some very difficult years to have a stellar summer
with nine wins out of 29 mounts for a meet leading 32%. Training the first and
second place finishers in the Travers (G1) earned him this recognition.
Top Jockey: Javier Castellano won his second riding title in a row defeating Irad Ortiz, Jr.
58 to 53. To win a title against the best riding colony in the world is a
stellar achievement. The final top 10: Javier 58, Irad 53, John Velazquez 38,
Joel Rosario 33, Jose Ortiz 30, Rajiv Maragh 21, Cornelio Velasquez 18, Rosie
Napravnik 18, Junior Alvarado 18, and Jose Lezcano 17.